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#3

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $18,190 - $29,290
Invoice: $16,915 - $27,771
MPG: 30 City / 39 Hwy
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Honda Civic Performance

Play 2014 Honda Civic Performance Review Video Video: Civic Performance 2014 Honda Civic Performance Video Review

Reviewers praise the 2014 Honda Civic’s new CVT, saying it’s incredibly smooth and works well with the engine, resulting in a refined powertrain. Acceleration is brisk, test drivers note, and the standard five-speed manual offers satisfying shifts and a clutch that’s easy to modulate. Though it won’t be mistaken for a sports car, test drivers say the Civic offers strong brakes and handles adequately with little body roll. The Civic’s ride is tuned for comfort, test drivers note, and it absorbs bumps in the road with ease.  

  • "I'm no fan of the CVT gearbox, regardless of the vehicle it is in, as the emotionless transmission fails to stir my enthusiast soul. Yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the refined new CVT in the Civic Coupe. Acceleration was (expectedly) buttery smooth and it responded well when I jumped back on the throttle after coasting." -- Autoblog
  • "The ride and handling is fine and is competitive in the class for sure. Detroit potholes don't bother it much, body roll is minimal, and it's generally comfortable." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "Sedans take bumps in stride, with good absorbency and little float or wallow." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The noise abatement throws a muffling blanket over the exertions of the hardworking little four-banger, making it feel less stressed and more refined." -- The Wall Street Journal (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The base Civic sedan has a four-cylinder engine that makes 143 horsepower and a standard five-speed manual transmission. A new continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available on the sedan and EX-L Coupe. Equipped with a CVT, the Civic gets an EPA-estimated 30/39 mpg city/highway, which is quite good for the class.

Test drivers give high praise to the CVT, which they say is smooth, refined and works well with the Civic’s engine. Acceleration is brisk from a stop, they say, and the standard manual transmission has a precise shifter and smooth clutch action.

  • "It's one of the best CVTs on the market in my estimation, behaving somewhat similarly to a standard automatic transmission in simulating shifts rather than jumping to one RPM point and sitting there. Its greatest advantage, bar none, is that it's much, much smoother than the old five-speed." -- Motor Trend
  • "While I couldn't feel the trivial additional horsepower or torque, the Civic moved very well off the line and up to highway speeds. The CVT felt like a good match to the engine's output and power band." -- Autoblog (Civic coupe)
  • “The four is smooth and sweet, though, and revs beautifully.” -- AutoWeek (2013 Civic EX-L)
  • “The manual has crisp shifter action and a smooth, easy-to-modulate clutch." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

While test drivers say the Civic may not be the most nimble car in the class, they say that it offers a comfortable ride and strong brakes with good pedal feel. A few reviewers say the steering is numb and overly light, but others think that the Civic offers accurate, well-weighted steering.

  • "Both cars still feel pretty light and handle reasonably well for the class. The steering continues to feel light and artificial, with no feedback from the road. Matches the relaxed powertrain." -- Motor Trend
  • "While it still has a long way to go before it ventures comfortably around a racing circuit, its ‘fun-to-drive’ quotient has earned a few more points and its driving dynamics are finally where they should have been several years ago." -- Autoblog (Civic coupe)
  • "From a handling standpoint, it's not the tightest and most athletic vehicle in the class, but it's up there. Steering feel is weighty and responsive to inputs. Through bends, the body is controlled with a little roll. Ride quality is comfortable with the suspension keeping taking the edge of small to medium bumps and potholes." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • “All Civics have fine straight-line stability, plus effective stopping control with good brake-pedal modulation." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The Civic offers one of the most comfortable and composed rides in the class, while its handling is reassuring." -- Edmunds (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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