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Life With the Honda Civic: What Do Owners Really Think?

honda-civic-comments Honda Civic Reviews | Cars.com graphic by Paul Dolan

As demand for SUVs and pickup trucks continues to surge, the Honda Civic makes a case that less really can be more. J.D. Power reports that the average new-vehicle price was expected to hit a record high of $41,378 in August, the fervor for large vehicles partially to blame (SUVs and pickup trucks comprised roughly 77% of new-vehicle sales in August). However, compact cars such as the Civic cost less on average and may help avoid buyer’s remorse, according to some owners.

Related: 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback Review: Still King of Compacts

From 2016-20, the Civic was available as a coupe, sedan or hatchback, along with the high-performance Civic Si and Type R models. Honda dropped the Civic coupe and Si in 2021, but has since confirmed the Civic Si is making a comeback. The Civic’s long list of trim levels and powertrain options present shoppers with ample choices at a wide range of price points. It got a redesign for 2022, but can the previous generation (2016-21) offer an even better value? Reviews from Cars.com users help to shed more light on this question.

Honda Civic Raves and Rants

While analyzing Cars.com user reviews of the 10th-gen Honda Civic, we identified common highs and lows and compared these trends with Cars.com’s expert evaluations. Among the raves, owners were impressed by the vehicle’s overall value, sporty performance and generous mpg numbers. The Civic wasn’t a good fit for everyone, however: Common rants include the malfunctioning air conditioning traced to a faulty condenser in older models, plus difficulty getting in and out of the vehicle (comments have been edited for clarity).

Rave: Money Well Spent

honda-civic-2020-09-blue--exterior--rear-angle.jpg 2020 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Many Civic owners find the vehicle to be a good value: Starting prices ranged from $19,475 in 2016 to $22,005 in 2021 (all prices include the destination charge). Many reviews highlight the Honda Sensing safety suite, which was added as standard for 2019. As a result, all Civic models besides the Si and Type R received standard adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. Previously only offered on higher trim levels, Honda also made Android Auto and Apple CarPlay available on all but the base LX model in 2019.

In Cars.com’s 2020 Compact Sedan Challenge, the Civic Touring ($28,530 as tested) was the overall winner. It earned high marks in the value category thanks to features like a key fob remote start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Android Auto  (which the rival Toyota Corolla, tested alongside the Civic in our Challenge, lacked), dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery and a power passenger seat, among others. The base LX trim ($22,245) is a different story: In a 2021 analysis of compact sedans with the best value, it ranked below competitors like the Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla due to its higher base price and bare-bones multimedia system.

“It’s a fast economy car; I’m getting 33 mpg combined. It came with LEDs, adaptive cruise control and lane assist under $25K — plus a cool turbo. I wish the driver seat was electronic and had a memory feature like the Accord, but it’s so comfortable and has minimal blind spots.” — Cars.com consumer review for 2020 Civic: Silver Spring, Md.

“I couldn’t be happier with my purchase and what comes with the car: Honda Sensing, all the technology features, the comfortable interior and sport exterior for the affordable price. I do not regret my purchase at all.” — 2020 Civic; Hackettstown, N.J.

“I test-drove a Mazda 3 sedan as a comparison and for the price, the Honda was the best deal for me. That said, I liked the trunk room and look of the Mazda better. After a few weeks with the Civic, I really love this car (except for the trunk space when the backseats are folded down). The cupholder space is perfect, as is the touchscreen response and placement. I only wish they had a better space to put the phone while connected to the USB; the area directly in front of the gear shift is not ideal. The only other regret is that leatherette seats were not part of the Sport model package. Other than that, this is an amazing car for the price I paid, and I’m very happy with the choice.” — 2019 Civic; Dallas

“I bought this 2018 Civic EX-T sedan with a six-speed manual, as a certified pre-owned car — wow, this thing is so fun to drive. I’ve owned several 3 Series BMWs, and this is very close in performance at less than half the price. I paid $17,500 with about 42K miles on it.” — 2018 Civic; Knoxville, Tenn.

“Great gas mileage, pretty comfortable and it’s an awesome looking car. It handles wonderfully, and I love all the features this car has (i.e., braking assist, lane departure warning, etc.). Great value for the price!” — 2019 Civic; Pitman, N.J.

Rave: Sporty Performance for a ‘Non-Sports’ Car

honda-civic-2021-oem 2021 Honda Civic | Manufacturer image

The Si and Type R are the Civic’s performance variants, but even the standard Civic holds its own, according to some owners. The steering, handling and acceleration stood out as strengths, and the turbocharged engine was especially popular among drivers. When it comes to handling, Cars.com experts agreed: The vehicle was the runaway winner in our 2020 Compact Sedan Challenge thanks to its agile and precise steering. The judges were less impressed with the vehicle’s powertrain due to the lagging acceleration from a stop, however.

“I currently own a 2020 Honda Civic EX Hatchback, and honestly it’s one of the best cars I’ve driven. It has amazing mpg while providing some nice torque for drivers looking for a little more on the performance side. It does have a turbo in it that gives it a nice little kick when attempting to speed up quickly. Overall, this car drives and maneuvers amazingly!” — 2020 Civic; Bradenton, Fla.

“After a few years with Mazda, I’m back to Honda. This is my fifth Honda since 1982. I love the comfort and interior features. I commute a long distance for my job and this car has everything easily accessible. I get good gas mileage and the car has get-up and go — it’s sporty without being a ‘sports car.’ I liked my Mazda, but I love my Honda!” — 2018 Civic; San Antonio

“I bought the EX trim; the acceleration and handling are very impressive for the price of this car. The Sport mode actually makes a difference in the performance. This car will satisfy those who want a sporty feel or those who want a nice highway cruiser. It’s a great balance between the two camps. This car reminds me of what the Accord used to be. I test-drove the Accord but liked the feel and size of the Civic much better. I also test-drove the Civic hatchback, which felt even sportier, but I didn’t like the view out of the back of the vehicle.” — 2019 Civic; Charleston, W.Va.

I picked up this Civic coupe LX last March with 30K miles on it and have absolutely loved it. I just wanted the base model with the 2.0-liter because it’s one of Honda’s best engines and I certainly don’t need all the bells and whistles. It took a month or so to get used to the [continuously variable automatic transmission], but I eventually found the sweet spots and really never need to use Sport mode because it’s unnecessary — it works, but I’m not Jeff Gordon. Pretty nimble in traffic on both city streets and freeways, and has ample acceleration, especially at highway speeds. Steering is tight like a sports coupe should be.” — 2016 Civic; Salt Lake City

Rave: It Goes the Extra Mile

honda-civic-2020-23-front-row--instrument-panel--interior.jpg 2020 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The Civic’s generous mpg is a trending rave among owner reviews. The EPA-estimated combined rating for model-year 2016-21 Civics ranges from 25 to 36 mpg depending on the model and powertrain, but some owner reviews report combined mpg in the mid-40s. A Cars.com expert review of the 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback notes that the vehicle’s combined fuel economy of 34 mpg beats competitors like the 2020 Mazda3 (30 mpg) and 2020 Subaru Impreza (31 mpg), but falls just shy of the Toyota Corolla’s 35 mpg.

“I’ve had my car for three months and drive it 140 miles a day. It is extremely comfortable and very easy to drive with the adaptive cruise control and steering assist — this car almost drives itself. I get 42-44 mpg on the expressway going 80 mph.” — 2019 Civic; Chicago

“My last Civic was a 2003 EX. There have been many changes since then, but it is still fun to drive and a great value for the money. Great mpg: Driving from Long Beach to San Diego, I got over 45 mpg. Driving to work on the freeway I get 40-42 mpg.” — 2018 Civic, San Diego

“I just went over 1,100 miles on the odometer. Within that time, I drove it to the neighboring state to visit family for Christmas (the total trip mileage was about 750 miles). I have purchased only premium gas and I spent less this month on gas than I normally do when I am not traveling. On my return trip with just highway miles, I was making 47.7 mpg and the trip overall had an average of 45.5 mpg. My trip was only about 43 mpg on average, so there are certain variables that affect this number. At home, since it sits around a lot just running (at stoplights, picking someone up, going through the car wash, etc.), I am only getting about 36 mpg.” — 2019 Civic; Waukegan, Ill.

“The acceleration is great, as is the gas mileage — I’m a rough driver and average 35-38 mpg. I drive 500 miles a week and usually put a total of $40 in gas in it, which lasts me a week and a half.” — 2018 Civic; Erie, Pa.

Rant: It’s Full of Hot Air

honda-civic-si-2020-39-air-vent--dashboard--front-row--interior.jpg 2020 Honda Civic Si | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Owner reviews from early model years point to a faulty air-conditioning system that breaks down, resulting in costly repairs. This rant is in line with a known air-conditioner condenser defect that impacted model-year 2016-18 Civics. No recall was issued for the condenser because it is not a safety hazard. Instead, Honda extended the warranty on the condenser to 10 years from the original date of purchase.

“I have a 2016 EX-T sedan and I am dissatisfied with the car. After driving 44K miles, my air compressor broke randomly and I had to pay $1,600 out of pocket to fix it because the warranty only went up to 36K miles. I would avoid Hondas from now on. They don’t make them like they used to.” — 2016 Civic; Orange County, Calif.

“I bought the 2016 Honda Civic LX a few weeks after it came out. I immediately noticed that the air conditioning would shut off and just blow outside-temperature air when the car was in idle. When I was stopped in traffic, driving less than 20 mph or stopped at a stoplight, this would occur. I was in denial at first because I have owned four Hondas and three Acuras in the past. Finally, after not being able to endure it anymore I took it to the dealer. Of course, they couldn’t reproduce this and gave me the runaround. I traded the car in right after the warranty expired.” — 2016 Civic; Houston

“I’ve leased the 2017 Civic hatch EX for over three years now. The air conditioning started blowing warm air 2.5 years in (at 40K miles). I went through many forums, and there are hundreds like me. It’s a huge issue that Honda refuses to acknowledge and make a recall. It’s past warranty, so they won’t fix it for free. The cost was $1,200.” — 2017 Civic; New York, N.Y.

“So far, I have 18,000 miles on my 2018 Civic Si and the air conditioning freezes up and stops blowing after a 30-to-45-minute ride. In the middle of the day, it will not blow cold at all.” — 2018 Civic; Orange, Texas

Rant: Ingress and Egress Are “Low Points”

honda-civic-si-2020-44-interior--second-row.jpg 2020 Honda Civic Si | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Another recurring complaint is that the vehicle sits low to the ground, making getting in and out a challenge for some owners — though many did not see this as a deal breaker. Once inside, the level of seat comfort is another source of disagreement among owners: Some claim the seats are comfortable, while others gripe that they are stiff and unsupportive. Cars.com experts found the 2020 Civic sedan’s low front seats to be an asset since they offer increased headroom.

I love this car, the look and performance are awesome. I’m always getting compliments on the Sonic Grey color. It’s a little low to the ground, so getting in and out is really my only complaint, but that’s part of what makes it so sporty.” — 2019 Civic; Richmond, Va.

“This car has great gas mileage, safety features and rides well. My only complaint — as I am older — is that it sits low to the ground.” — 2019 Civic; Noblesville, Ind.

I would not buy this vehicle if I were you. What I don’t like: The seats are not that comfortable, the passenger-side seat does not raise up or down, and your passenger sits too low; it is hard for the passenger to get out. If you have people in the backseat of a two-door, they struggle to get out of the car.” — 2017 Civic; Mississippi

“This is my third Honda and I really enjoy driving this car. I go places just so I can drive it. It’s smooth and handles like a luxury automobile. However, the passenger’s front seat is way too low and it is not able to be raised. It’s hard to enter and exit the car unless you are away from the curb.” — 2018 Civic; Detroit

More From Cars.com:

What’s New for the 2022 Honda Civic?

honda-civic-2022-03-angle--exterior--front--silver.jpg 2022 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Steven Pham

The redesigned 2022 Honda Civic sedan gets a sleeker exterior that resembles a smaller version of the Accord. It also gets a more powerful 1.5-liter turbo engine for its higher trims, while the 2.0-liter carries over unchanged. The 1.5-liter now makes 180 horsepower and is a significant improvement over the outgoing model, according to our expert review.

The 2022 Civic hatchback offers the same engine options as the sedan but with the choice of a six-speed manual, which is not offered for the sedan. Honda has confirmed the Civic Type R and Civic Si will return for the 11th generation, but no details on timing have been revealed.

Powertrains, Trims and Pricing

01-honda-civic-sport-2019-angle--exterior--front--mountains--outdoors--red--white.jpg 2019 Honda Civic | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

The 10th-gen Honda Civic launched with a coupe, sedan and hatchback variant and two engine options: a standard 158-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and available 174-hp, 1.5-liter turbo in higher trims. The base model comes with a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic, while higher trims only offer the CVT. The Civic’s performance variants include the 205-hp Civic Si and 306-hp Civic Type R; both models are exclusively available with a six-speed transmission. As of 2021, only the Civic sedan, hatchback and Type R are available.

The redesigned 2022 Honda Civic sedan starts at $22,715 for the LX and $29,315 for the top Touring model, while the hatchback starts at $23,915 for the LX and $30,415 for the range-topping Sport Touring.

Even as average used-car prices reach record highs, median used Civic prices found among Cars.com dealers indicate that opting for the previous generation can offer thousands of dollars in savings. 2016 Honda Civics have a median price of $18,885, for example, while all used 2016-21 models have a median price of $22,467 at the time of this writing. The median price for new 2021 and 2022 Civic models is $24,115.

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