Pros-Fun to drive. Practical. Roomy. Quick. Fuel-thrifty. Supple ride. Good handling. Advanced tech features. Good resale.
Cons-Low stance hinders entry. Difficult to use touch screen. Odd dashboard "economy" reminder instrument.
The well-developed 2019 Honda Civic
has a near-perfect combination of driving fun and practicality for a compact car.
The Civic was nearly the top-selling car in America last year with sales of 325,760 units, but was narrowly beaten by the larger Toyota Camry. It looks as of late spring this year that the Civic will again finish the year just behind the Camry, again beating out the popular Toyota Corolla in the process, as it did last year.
The 2019 Civic has small but significant changes, but you almost can't tell the players without a scorecard. For instance, putting aside the wild Civic Type-R model, there are coupes and sedans that comest came in LX, Sport, EX, EX-L and Touring versions. Prices range rom $20,650 to $28,195.
I tested the Touring sedan with its turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder. It generates 174 horsepower and 162 pound/feet of torque and works with a smooth CVT automatic transmission with a manual-control feature via responsive steering wheel shift paddles.
Base Civic models have a 2-liter four-cylinder with 158 horsepower and less torque and can be had with either a 6-speed manual transmision or a CVT. The Touring with its higher-horsepower turbo engine delivers quick acceleration with no turbo lag and gets an estimated 30 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on highways. Only regular-grade gasoline is needed. And a driver can push an "economy" button said to help provide better fuel economy.
Honda says there are no scheduled tune-ups needed for at least 100,000 miles.
The quick steering has the right amount of effort. The ride is steady and well-controlled, with a good suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. Curves can be taken at above-average posted speeds.Never mind the car's "sport pedals," as the Touring sedan isn't a sports sedan, although it might feel like one to average drivers who like to push it a bit. Vehicle stability assist with traction controls helps keeps things steady. It's definitely a practical, economical car that's fun to drive.
However, really sharp road imperfections in the Chicago area's notorious road repair areas caused occupants to feel a major jolt. The strong anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist are controlled by pedal with a progressive action.
The 2019 high-quality Civic has a lower, wider stance than the 2018 version, partly because it has a mildly restyled front end with a new lower bumper, complemented by a new blacked-out headlight treatment.The LED headlights have been upgraded on the Touring trim for a wider and longer beam. At the rear, the sedan's lower bumper gets a chrome strip to emphasize the car's premium feel.
However, the high-quality car's low stance makes it a little difficult to enter or leave quickly. However, supportive power front seats and an adjustable tilt-telescopic steering wheel give drivers of various sizes a comfortable driving position. The Touring Sedan provides plenty of cabin room for five tall adults, partly because the rear seat centers are soft enough for comfort. Both front and rear seats can be heated.
There are plenty of cabin storage areas, including an unusually deep covered front console bin covered by a sliding armrest.
The trunk is impressively large and opens wide on struts. Rear seat backs flip forward via release handles in the trunk and sit flat to significantly enlarge the cargo area.
The updated interior has top-notch materials. I found the touch screen rather difficult to use, but was thankfully helped by an array of dashboard buttons and knobs for such things as climate and radio controls. There's a pushbutton starter, digital speedometer inside a circular tachometer gauge and an odd and rather annoying "economy" reminder instrument that quickly switches horizontally from left to right and vice versa in traffic.
A premium audio system has 10 speakers. Even the cupholders have been enlarged, although they're placed a little far back on the front console. And there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration for smart-phone-addicted drivers.
Advanced Civic Touring safety features include a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, collision mitigation braking, road-departure mitigation system, lane-keeping assist system, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and Honda LaneWatch. There's also a bunch of air bags, including side curtain airbags s with rollover sensors.The seats-belt reminder isn't too obnoxious.
As a bonus, the Honda Civic has good resale value.