• Car Review

2018 Honda Civic Review

By Autolist Editorial | August 13, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Excellent fuel economy.
  • Fun to drive, especially in Si trim.
  • Excellent safety ratings.

Cons:

  • Coupe's rear seat is tight for tall adults.
  • Enthusiasts will miss Honda's VTEC engine tech.
  • The styling might not be for everybody.

Vehicle Type: Subcompact five-door hatchback, four-door sedan, and two-door coupe.

Price Range: MSRP $18,940 - $26,800

Powertrain: The base engine is a 2.0-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder making 158 horsepower.

Also available is a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.5-liter, four-cylinder that produces 205 horsepower. Both engines pair to a 6-speed manual transmission or CVT (continuously variable transmission) and front-wheel-drive.

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Overview:

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The Honda Civic has been a popular, practical, fun-to-drive, front-wheel-drive compact car in the US market for over 40 years. Since 1972 it has gone through ten generations, with 2018 being early in the tenth generation. This generation has received accolades from numerous consumer-rating and automotive review sources, which owes to the fact that the Civic has remained versatile for a wide swath of the consumer market.

This tenth generation has lasted from 2017 until 2020 and has seen a few changes to exterior aesthetics, tech availability, and even minor performance upgrades for the Si trim. It has great technology features to keep it relevant, as well as a worthy opponent to its very-stiff new-car competition. The Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla are its main rivals, followed by the Kia Forte, Chevrolet Cruze, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, and Ford Focus.

This generation Civic is a substantial change from the previous, ninth-generation, which ended in 2016. Visually, the ninth and tenth generations look quite different from each other as well, plus the tenth generation boasts substantially better fuel economy over the previous.

The turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is equipped with Honda's Earth Dreams technology, which uses innovative engineering to deliver impressive fuel economy and power for its tiny size. The engine can be mated up to a six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission, as well as a 2.0-liter, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder, which is the base engine in the LX sedan trim.

The tenth-generation Honda Civic's large variety of body styles and hierarchy of trim levels ensures there's something in the lineup for a vast variety of consumers. Choices include a two-door coupe, four-door sedan, and five-door hatchback. The sedan's available trims start with the LX, then the EX, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring. The coupe nomenclature varies just a tad: the base model LX, LX-P, EX-T, EX-L, and Touring. Finally, the hatchback is available in the LX, Sport, EX, EX-L Navi, and Sport Touring trims.

Overall Score: 8/10


Safety Features: 8/10

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The 2018 Civic earned a five-star crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and was also named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Among the IIHS' findings, it earned a 'Good' in the Rear Crash category, a 'Good' in Front Moderate Overlap, a 'Good' in Overall Side Crash, and a 'Good' in Roof Strength for rollover. The only area where it didn't score so high was its headlights, which earned a 'Poor' rating.

This compact offers a great selection of available driver-assistance technology known as the Honda Sensing suite of driver aids. These include automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera, which all add to this compact's ability to eat up highway miles and increase situational awareness on the road. Automatic emergency braking is similar to collision warning on competing brands' offerings. Sensing is an optional extra on the LX trim, whereas LaneWatch is also a cool feature, displaying a camera view of the right-rear quarter when the turn signal is flipped to the right position. Otherwise, reviewers found all models to have very minimal blind spots.

The Civic's essential safety features are extensive, making it stand out against most of its competition by other brands. Each model rolls off the production line with dual front side-mounted airbags, front And rear head airbags, stability control, braking assist, and passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation.


Value: 8/10

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The Civic is a good value due to its fuel economy, technology, safety features, and moderate price. Chevrolet, Ford, and Nissan's competing compacts are priced lower, but just barely, and don't offer as many convenience or tech features. The Civic also has more power and better fuel efficiency than almost all of the competition, with the Si lacking in power against the VW GTI and Ford Focus ST.

Thanks to available visual and handling enhancement options, the Civic might be the best-looking of the lot. Reviewers agree, especially regarding the styling accents and bigger wheels found on the Honda Civic Si, both the sedan and Civic coupe.


Tech Features: 8/10

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In addition to its suite of Honda Sensing driver-aid features, the 2018 Civic offers a good variety of tech to stay competitive within its segment.

Every 2018 Civic trim comes with Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity standard, rear backup camera, at least one USB port, and additional audio controls on the steering wheel. The 5.0-inch touchscreen system is excellent, though it is not available on LX and LX-P trims. There is no satellite radio, Android Auto, or Apple CarPlay available on lower trims. For 2018 models, higher-trim models have a 7.0-inch screen with all of these tech amenities.

For consumers after excellent audio quality, the Si trim comes with a 450-watt audio system with a subwoofer as standard. The Sport Touring, however, is where the best audio exists: a 540-watt premium audio system with 12 speakers.


Practicality: 8/10

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In the 2018 Honda Civic, the cargo room is among the best-in-class, whether it's the sedan, coupe, or hatchback body style.

The Civic hatchback and sedan are the roomiest of the lot, with space for five passengers between their doors and an impressive 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space in the sedan, and a massive 46 cubic feet in the hatchback with the rear seats folded down.

The Civic is spacious for occupants, too. A standard moonroof on higher trims certainly helps with this. Front headroom measures in at 39.3 inches in sedan and hatchback models, though only 36.5 inches in coupe models. The front shoulder room is right around 57 inches across the board, while the front legroom comes in at 42.3 inches. Backseat passengers experience a bit less: front headroom measures in at approximately 37 inches for hatchback and sedan models, while it decreases significantly to 34.5 inches in coupe models.

The Civic doesn't stop there with practicality. In addition to its good cargo capacity and thrifty fuel economy, reviewers noted that the convenience of dropping the rear seats, adjusting the front seats, and generally conforming the interior to one's needs was quite good.

This all comes together to make a multi-purpose, do-it-all commuter that's a nice place to be while stuck in traffic, hauling the family around, enjoying a road trip, or carving some fun canyon roads.


Styling & Design: 6/10

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Honda is very open about the fact that the Civic is important to the brand for its ability to pull in younger buyers. So it shouldn't be a surprise that the model has a more aggressive exterior design. This works for and against the Civic; some buyers will like its sportiness while others will be turned off by a car that can be too flashy or overly styled for their taste.

While the base Honda Fit LX and EX trim maintain their price-point with basic alloy wheels and other economy car aspects, sportier styling is a welcome upgrade with the Sport hatch and Si trims.

The Si comes with stylish 18" wheels and a handful of exterior accents, such as fog lights, a sharp spoiler to balance out its lines, and a chrome center exhaust tip.

On the inside, dark interior colors outfitted in cloth as standard help maintain a clean, crisp, aesthetically-pleasing layout and appearance.


Driving Experience: 9/10

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The 2018 Honda Civic has an excellent power-to-weight ratio compared to other cars in its class. Ranging in weight from 2,751 pounds to 2,906 pounds and having as much as 205 horsepower with 192 pound-feet of torque on tap, it's a capable, fun car, with the Touring and Si being the quickest.

Combine that with a six-speed manual gearbox, sound suspension engineering, and even an optional Honda Factory Performance (HFP) Package available on the Si trim, which provides an impressively-fun driving experience for the price. This HFP package isn't just for handling, either; it helps the Civic Si look the part with exclusive exterior accents and bigger 19-inch wheels.

When equipped with the manual transmission, the most-powerful 2018 Civic Si jumps to 60 MPH from a standstill in an estimated 6.5 seconds, which is on-par with its sport compact competitors, such as the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI.

It's also among the lightest at 2889 pounds, which helps with acceleration, braking, and fuel economy. It's enthusiastic driving experience doesn't end in a straight line; adaptive dampers, stiffer spring rates, and thicker anti-roll bars increase the fun-factor on twisty roads as well. It also has excellent traction and grip, thanks to a helical limited-slip differential. This helps with traction on twisty roads, as well as less-than-ideal conditions such as rain and snow.

Lower trims aren't as fast but still put down good times when sprinting to 60 MPH. Manual transmission-equipped 1.5-liter turbo models take 7.5 seconds to reach 60 MPH, whereas those with the 2.0 naturally-aspirated engine gets there in 6.8 seconds. This is significantly faster than the competition: the Mazda3 sedan takes a whole 7.8 seconds, Hyundai Elantra takes 8.4 seconds, and Toyota Corolla moseys in at 8.5 seconds.

The non-Si trims hold their own on the skidpad, too. Reviewers were able to achieve 0.88 Gs on the skidpad with a manual-transmission Honda Civic Sport hatchback. Reviewers recorded a quite-impressive 0.97 Gs with the Si, which beats the VW GTI's 0.95 Gs.

Driver inputs go behind the wheel are good. All Civic body styles and trims have a lower, cockpit-like driving position with good visibility.


Fuel Efficiency: 9/10

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The Honda Civic's fuel economy is one of its best characteristics. The turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, with Honda's patented Earth Dreams technology, can achieve as much as an EPA-estimated 42 MPG highway in the EX-T equipped with the CVT or six-speed manual transmission. City mileage is almost the same, with the CVT achieving 32 MPG and the manual achieving just under 31 MPG.

Models equipped with the 2.0-liter, such as the Civic sedan LX, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder can reach 40 MPG highway and 31 MPG city with the CVT transmission. The manual has the same highway mileage, though as little as 28 MPG city, which is still pretty good compared to the competition.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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The entry-level Honda Civic LX has a starting price of around $19,700. Notable features include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, six-speed manual transmission, cloth seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, cloth upholstery, and 5.0-inch color infotainment screen.

Up next are the EX sedan, LX-P coupe, and Sport hatchback trims, which cost around $21,400. These come with everything in the LX trim, plus a sunroof, remote engine start, smart key entry, and push-button start are standard. With these trims, consumers can expect a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and satellite radio.

The EX-T sedan and coupe and EX hatchback come off the assembly line around $22,300. This trim is a mild upgrade, with dual-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, and other mild visual and convenience upgrades. The EX-T also includes Honda's Sensing suite of driver aids, which, as we mentioned above, is very impressive, especially for this price-point.

The EX-L sedan and coupe and EX-L Navi hatchback have more amenities for $23,800. Unfortunately, the six-speed transmission is no longer available, though an automatic-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and leather-trimmed surfaces throughout. Satellite-linked navigation with voice recognition is optional.

Filling in the enthusiast segment is the Si sedan and coupe, which start at $23,900. Consumers get much of what is offered in the lower trims, as well as the Civic's most potent engine specs: 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The only available transmission is the six-speed manual.

The Touring sedan and coupe, and Sport Touring hatchback, take amenities to the next level, starting at $26,600. Automatic LED headlights, leather seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 4-way adjustable passenger seat, a premium 10-speaker sound system, and Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition are tacked on for widening the lap of luxury. The Sport Touring hatchback also features larger front and rear anti-roll bars, making for a more spirited, taut driving experience.

The 2018 Honda Civic is a tangible value for the money. With great standard tech, a comfortable interior, vast cargo space, class-leading fuel economy, and fun driving dynamics (especially in the Si trim), this compact can tick off the miles with ease. The available turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine provides great torque, excellent fuel economy, and the ability to add a bit more enthusiasm to the average A-to-B trip. Going one further, a ton of capability exists between the Si's lug nuts; its suspension, power, and low weight make it a total blast on a twisty road.


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