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#1

in 2011 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $10,582 - $16,548
Original MSRP: $15,605 - $25,490
MPG: 26 City / 34 Hwy
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2011 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 good performance. Although some critics note that most models are sluggish off the line, they say that the Civic works fine in stop-and-go city traffic and highway passing maneuvers. Moreover, the Civic gets great gas mileage. For those who want something that's sportier and more fun to drive, the Civic Si is worth a test drive. 

  • "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 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

The Honda Civic is by no means the most powerful car in the class, especially when you compare it with the Mazda3. Still, the Civic is sufficient for most drivers because it’s capable once it gets up to speed.

All Honda Civic models except the Civic Si have a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 140 horsepower. Shoppers can choose between the standard manual and the optional automatic transmissions. Reviewers say the Civic is much more fun to drive with the manual transmission. The EPA says models with the five-speed manual get 25/34 mpg city/highway and models with the five-speed automatic get 25/36 mpg.

If you want a more powerful Civic, check out the Si, which comes as a sedan or coupe. It has a 2.0-liter engine that pumps 197 horsepower. It also has a standard six-speed manual transmission. An automatic transmission is not available with the Si. If you buy this model, don’t expect to get great fuel economy. The EPA says the Si gets 21/29 mpg.

  • "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
  • "Slick-shifting Si models crave high rpm and respond with terrific acceleration." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Typical for this class, pushing the Civic hard or loading up with passengers reveals the drivetrain's limited reserves. The engine drones loudly, but its modest torque will leave lead-footers wanting more. One option: Get the manual transmission. Available in every trim save the GX, it makes the most of the engine, and its precise shifter is one of the better ones in this league." -- Cars.com
  • "Manual transmission models are notably quicker." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

When it comes to handling and braking, test drivers say the Honda Civic doesn’t perform as well as other cars in the class like the Mazda3, but it still moves confidently around curves and has little body roll. 

  • "All Civics have fine straightline stability even in crosswinds, plus effective stopping control with good pedal modulation." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Our test car didn't exhibit the best braking linearity; you have to push the pedal a few inches before the brakes really bite down, but overall stopping power is strong enough. Power-steering assist is on the low side, so parking lot maneuvers take some extra effort. But the Civic moves adeptly on curvy roads; its confident steering makes it easy to get back on track when the nose pushes wide. Body roll is noticeable but not predominant, and the seat bolsters — short but stiff — do a good job holding you in place." -- Cars.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
  • “Still, for most drivers the Civic's handling will be just fine, and for enthusiasts the Civic Si's sporty suspension tuning and high-revving engine should satisfy." -- Edmunds

Next Steps: 2011 Honda Civic

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