$5,581 - $9,739

2011 Honda Civic Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Honda Civic was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

Overall, reviewers are impressed with the Civic's high level of performance. Most models are sluggish away from the line and work just fine in both stop-and-go city traffic and higher speed highway 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 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 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 who you compare it to the Mazda3. Still, the Civic is sufficient for most drivers because it’s capable once it gets up to speed.

All Honda Civic sedan and coupe models (except the Civic Si) come with the same engine: a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 140 horsepower and 128 pound feet of torque. 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. If you choose this option, you’ll also save $800. Fuel economy is good for the class, but there other cars with better averages. The EPA says with the five speed manual drivers should expect to average 25/34 mpg city/highway with the five-speed manual transmission and 25/36 city/highway with the five-speed automatic transmission.

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 and 139 pound feet of torque. It also has a standard close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that Honda designed to be lightweight, quick and precise. If you want an automatic transmission, it’s not available with the Si. If you buy this model, don’t expect to get great fuel economy. EPA says the Si gets 21/29 mpg city/highway. The Civic Si sedan starts at $22,405, which is a lot more than the base model. However, if you want a car with strong reliability, practicality and a touch of sport, the Civic Si is worth a look.

  • "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. These qualities make the Honda Civic a good car for city and highway driving.

  • "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
  • 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
  • “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

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