Honda Civic Performance

#3 in Compact Cars Performance Score: 8.7 / 10
2017 Honda Civic View More Photos »
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2017 Honda Civic Performance Overview

Despite having larger dimensions than most other compact cars, the Civic handles like a smaller sedan. Its steering is sharp, and around corners it feels well controlled, though not as much as rivals like the Mazda3. With the base engine, the Civic has sufficient acceleration. With the available turbocharged engine, acceleration is potent. Both transmissions perform well, but the standard manual makes the best use of either engine's power.

  • "If you were expecting the all-new Honda Civic hatch to be hot, you're going to need to recalibrate your thinking. This car is not going to challenge the likes of the Volkswagen GTI et al; think more Hyundai Elantra GT and its ilk. If want your Civic sizzling, you're going to need to wait until the Si and Type R hit the market. But if you're looking for a Civic with hatchback versatility and its own style, then this is the one for you." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "A big part of the 2017 Honda Civic's winning formula is the way it combines practicality, efficiency and everyday comfort with dashes of sportiness. Like a vein of caramel running through an already-delicious ice cream, the 2017 Civic adeptly blends dollops of zeal with overall suppleness." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Like the best cars, the Civics available for early test drives feel big when you're in them, but drive like small, sporty vehicles." -- The Detroit Free Press (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Honda Civic comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower. A 174-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is available. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which acts like an automatic, is optional.

The 2017 Civic achieves 28 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway with its standard manual transmission, which are excellent numbers for a compact car. With the CVT, the Civic gains 3 mpg in the city. Turbocharged Civics with the CVT earn the best estimates, with 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.

The Civic's base engine produces satisfying acceleration, and turbocharged models deliver zippy acceleration with virtually no turbo lag. For most drivers, the available CVT performs admirably, but for a more engaging drive, stick with the standard manual. Reviewers agree that for optimum performance, Civic Sport models are your best bet.

  • "Even a base model with the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed manual transmission is highly satisfying. The smaller but more powerful turbocharged 1.5-liter used in higher trims of the sedan and coupe and all versions of the new Civic hatch offers good if not blistering acceleration and nary a hint of turbo lag. Most buyers will prefer an automatic transmission, and the Civic's CVT (continuously variable transmission) is among the best at mimicking a traditional one." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Our time with the CVT mirrored our previous experiences, as we expected. For the mainstream buyer, this is a thoroughly adequate setup for the daily grind, but after our time in the manual, it couldn't hold a candle." -- Left Lane News
  • "The Civic Hatchback's power output is dependent upon trim level and transmission. The Sport 6MT variant delivers the most oomph." -- New York Daily News

Handling and Braking

The Honda Civic sedan has poised handling and great steering feedback. The Civic is quite easy to maneuver, and it's agile around corners, though not as much as the Mazda3.

The Honda Civic comes standard with front-wheel drive.

  • "The Civic sedan is among those rare machines that 'drives' much smaller than it is. After all, here is a car with a wheelbase just 3 inches shorter than the Accord. It's relatively large, but from behind the wheel, the Civic sedan feels light and agile. The new hatchback only concentrates those impressions." -- Autoweek
  • "We also think you'll like the way the newest Civic drives. Around turns, you'll feel as if you have great control through the car's steering and grip; it's an entertaining car to drive and have some fun. Out on the highway, the Civic earns high marks, too, with a composed ride quality that doesn't get overly floaty or harsh. " -- Edmunds
  • "A standard Civic can't quite match a Mazda3 in cornering dynamics, but it's still among the best in its class, as is its steering feel." -- Kelley Blue Book
Review Last Updated: 2/17/17
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2017 Honda Civic Pictures