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U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Honda Civic Performance Review


Performance: 8.6

The 2021 Honda Civic has one of the best performance scores in the class. It boasts nimble handling, a composed ride, and a powerful engine lineup. The Civic’s good fuel economy is a welcome bonus.

  • "The driving experience is refined with nicely balanced ride and handling, while the available turbocharged engine upgrade provides class-leading acceleration and fuel economy." -- Autoblog
  • "The brake pedal is pleasantly firm and easy to modulate, and it brings the car to a halt quickly when you need it to." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "The Civic is a substantial and capable compact car. The base 2.0-liter engine and optional 1.5-liter turbo deliver good fuel economy, with the turbo bringing more oomph and readily available power." -- Consumer Reports (2020)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Base engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque (Civic sedan LX and Sport trims)
  • Available engines:
    • turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque (Civic sedan EX, EX-L, and Touring; Civic hatchback LX and EX)
    • turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder with 180 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque (Civic hatchback Sport and Sport Touring)
    • turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque (Civic Type R and Type R Limited)
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard continuously variable automatic (CVT); available six-speed manual

The Civic has several engines to choose from, and all of them are powerful. Many shoppers will be content with the base engine, while folks on the hunt for quicker acceleration will want to opt for one of the turbocharged options. Critics prefer the manual transmission, but the CVT is responsive and pairs well with all Civic engines.

  • "For the engine, the base 4-cylinder is perfectly capable and efficient, but the turbo’s spry acceleration and enhanced fuel economy make it a near no-brainer. Most buyers will want an automatic transmission, and the Civic’s CVT does an admirable job of mimicking a traditional one with set gears. For drivers who still seek a manual, know that the extra effort is worth it. Honda still makes a wonderful manual, and the one in the Civic is rewarding to use." -- Autotrader
  • "The Civic's four-cylinder engines are peppy, with the pricier–but more powerful–turbocharged version earning our preference. It's a terrific engine. In our testing, it eagerly pulled our Civic Touring test car away from stoplights. While we prefer the light and crisp action of the six-speed manual to the optional continuously variable automatic transmission, the CVT is by no means a poor partner–in fact, it's one of the best on the market." -- Car and Driver
  • "These normal Honda Civics come with either a naturally aspirated four-cylinder or a turbocharged one. Both are smooth and quiet, but the turbo engine provides both better fuel economy and stronger acceleration. Both engines can be had with a manual transmission, and in Honda tradition, the stick is slick." -- Autoblog

MPG Estimates

The Civic gets good fuel economy for a compact car. When equipped with the 1.5-liter engine, the Civic hatchback gets up to 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

Civic sedan models with a 2.0-liter engine deliver up to 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. When equipped with the 1.5-liter engine, sedan models get 26-32 mpg in the city and 36-42 mpg on the highway.

The performance-oriented Honda Civic Type R hatchback delivers a lot more power but earns the worst fuel economy estimates in the lineup: 22/28 mpg city/highway.

Handling and Braking

The Civic delivers one of the most engaging rides in the class. It's exceptionally easy to maneuver around corners, and its steering is responsive. This Honda isn't just athletic though. It also maintains a comfortable ride, even over rough pavement, and its brakes are strong. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • "The Civic feels like a more sophisticated car than other compacts. It’s notably quiet and comfortable, and although it isn’t quite as sharp as the Mazda3, it nevertheless strikes a great balance between comfort and driver involvement." -- Autotrader
  • "The average Honda Civic, regardless of whether you pick the sedan or hatchback, is a thoroughly well-rounded car to drive. The ride is comfortable and well-damped. The car feels light and nimble, cornering eagerly with little body roll. Steering is light but responsive and precise." -- Autoblog
  • "A true jack-of-all-trades, the Civic strikes a great balance between comfort and driver engagement. Its smooth ride, responsive steering, and athletic driving dynamics make it a joy to pilot. Neither cushy nor harsh, the Civic's ride quality is just right. Quick, well weighted, and surprisingly feelsome steering makes the Civic that much more enjoyable to pilot." -- Car and Driver
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Honda Civic

MSRP: $22,000 - $43,995

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