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#3

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $9,596 - $15,129
Original MSRP: $15,455 - $25,340
MPG: 25 City / 36 Hwy
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2010 Honda Civic Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Overall, reviewers are impressed with the Civic's high level of performance. Although most models are sluggish away from the line, they work just fine in both stop-and-go city traffic and higher speed passing maneuvers. Moreover, they get great gas mileage. Reviewers do note that coupes have more road noise than sedans. For those who want something that's sportier and more fun to drive, the Civic Si is well worth a test drive. With a more powerful engine and superb driving dynamics, it has the attention and praise of automotive enthusiasts and test drivers everywhere.

  • "With either transmission, 140-hp Civics are lazy away from a stop, but have adequate power around town and for highway merging and passing; the automatic is especially alert to throttle inputs." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The exceptionally stiff chassis gives the Civic a solid and planted feel. The brake feel is solid as well." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The base engine in the 2010 Honda Civic Coupe offers good performance but poor presentation, with excessive noise only exacerbating the already pervasive road rumblings that already permeate the cabin." -- Car Gurus
  • "The Civic Si possesses a rare character that's happy to run at the limit for lengthy periods, but doesn't make any concessions to the plebian Civic it's based on. It's a car that's a blast to flog on any road, and yet it still maintains civil manners for daily driving." -- Automobile Magazine

Acceleration and Power

Most Civics are slow off the line, but they impress the automotive press with capable performance once they get going. Reviewers are in love with the Civic Si for its high-powered engine and terrific acceleration, although they are less impressed with its poor fuel economy.

All Civic sedans and coupes (except the Si) feature a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 140 horsepower. It is mated to a well-liked five-speed manual transmission, although a five-speed automatic is available. The Si gets a more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that punches out 197 horsepower. Only a six-speed manual transmission is available on the Si.

The EPA rates the 2010 Honda Civic with the 1.8-liter engine as having an average fuel economy of around 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The highway fuel economy is particularly impressive and places the Civic behind only the Smart ForTwo and the Civic Hybrid for best-in-class fuel economy. Unfortunately, the Civic Si falters a bit on fuel economy in exchange for the extra power. At 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, it has one of the lowest ratings in its class.

  • "The refined 140-horsepower engine never overwhelms you with power, but even when you run the tachometer up to its redline you don't feel like you're bullying the car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Happily, the marriage between engine and transmission is a sweet one on all these Civics. The automatic is alert to throttle inputs and seems to almost always be in the appropriate gear for conditions. Si drivers need to be on intimate terms with the six-speed manual transmission, however, because this Honda 2.0-liter needs high rpm to do its best work." -- Iguida.com
  • "All Coupe trims...are sluggish away from the line with either transmission, but competent at speed, even for passing maneuvers." -- Car Gurus
  • "Slick-shifting Si models crave high rpm and respond with terrific acceleration." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Test drivers report the Civic's ride is smooth for the class, with quick braking response. The Si trim, though, blows the other trims out of the water for its handling abilities, which seem more like those of a moderately priced sports car than an affordable small one.

  • "All Civics have fine straightline stability even in crosswinds, plus effective stopping control with good pedal modulation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Handling for non-Si Coupes is at least standard for the class, suffering only minor lean and a steering response that is only slightly sluggish -- expected for the class. The Si, however, handles with confidence, attacking corners with poise and halting quickly." -- Car Gurus
  • "Confidence on straight stretches and control in curves are assets shared by every Honda Civic, and the sedan and coupe don't handle with appreciable difference. Tire size and suspension tuning, however, improve road manners by degree." -- Iguida.com
  • "This Honda [SI] is perhaps one of the best handling front-wheel-drive cars, aided by crisp, precise steering. The suspension is firm without being uncomfortable, turn-in is instantaneous, and turning the wheel inspires confidence." -- Automobile Magazine

Next Steps: 2010 Honda Civic

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