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2019 Honda Civic Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.8

The 2019 Honda Civic has several energetic engine options. All deliver good power and acceleration and pair well with both transmission choices. The Civic also gets great fuel economy estimates for its class. This Honda offers a comfortable ride, as well as sporty, responsive handling.

  • "The Civic rides like a bigger, more refined car. As in a German car, you feel road imperfections, but impacts are very well damped. Big undulations, especially midcorner, are handled with impeccable control and betray not one iota of float. The coupe feels fractionally firmer and sportier." -- Edmunds
  • "Honda says its vast and longtime involvement in auto racing improves its street cars. Although it's hard to draw a direct line from the Honda that won the 2017 Indy 500 to the new Civic, although both cars are turbocharged, a big part of the Civic's winning formula is the way it combines practicality, efficiency and everyday comfort with modest to maximum dashes of sportiness." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • If you were expecting the … 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 … the Si and Type R. … But if you're looking for a Civic with hatchback versatility and its own style, then this is the one for you." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The 2019 Civic comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional with this engine. A 174-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine is optional, and it comes with the CVT. Hatchback Sport and Sport Touring models have a 180-horsepower version of that engine. The Civic Si has a 205-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, and the Civic Type R has a 306-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Both the Si and Type R come with the manual transmission only.

The Civic's two non-performance engines provide good acceleration, but the 174-horsepower turbocharged variant is a little more potent. The CVT operates smoothly, though critics say the manual transmission makes the Civic feel sportier.

With its base engine, the Civic gets up to 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The turbocharged engine gets 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway.

  • "The turbocharged 1.5-liter engine is both satisfying to drive and remarkably easy on gas. Even base models with the normally aspirated 2.0-liter engines have plenty of zip, especially when paired with the 6-speed manual. Unfortunately, for the bulk of sedans and coupes, a turbocharged engine means a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the only option, and while Honda’s CVT is one of the best we’ve tested, it's just not as sporty as driving a stick." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Civic feels strong when you roll onto the gas to execute a pass and quick at city speeds thanks to ample low-end power. The 1.5-liter turbocharged engine has power everywhere in its rpm range. In our testing, we measured a 0-60-mph time of 6.7 seconds, which is outstanding. … Honda's CVT simulates shifts under hard acceleration, but it is otherwise very smooth, eliminating shift shock and transmission indecisiveness because it never shifts in the traditional sense. Throttle pedal action is smooth and predictable, and the Civic is easy to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "The Civic is substantial and capable. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder and optional 1.5-liter turbo deliver good fuel economy, and the turbo brings more oomph and readily available power. The continuously variable transmission amplifies the noise of the base engine; it works better with the turbo." -- Consumer Reports (2018)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel-drive Honda Civic has well-balanced handling, with controlled body lean and lots of feedback from the road. It's also easily maneuverable in tight places. The ride is comfortable in most situations.

  • "The steering is precise, with consistent, natural-feeling weighting. The variable-ratio system combines supreme steadiness when cruising straight with quick reflexes in corners and tight turning in parking lots. Feedback through the thick-rimmed wheel is very good for the class. … Body roll is controlled, and quick transitions are handled nicely, inspiring driver confidence. It feels playful, and there's lots of freedom and control for the driver — the well-tuned stability system doesn't quash the fun. … The ride is smooth and controlled without being too cushy." -- Edmunds
  • "Honda tells us its long history in racing is what allows its production cars to ride and handle a cut above the competition. In the case of the 2019 Honda Civic sedan, coupe and hatchback, we’d have to agree. … the cars are definitely more dialed-in than a Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Corolla or Hyundai Elantra, but still not as adept at cornering as the Mazda3." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The ride is comfortable, handling is precise." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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