2019 Honda Civic Review

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2019 Honda Civic Overview

Say the phrase “compact car,” and what’s the first vehicle to come to mind? There’s a good chance it’s either a Toyota Corolla or this car, the Honda Civic. Both are cornerstones of a competitive, and varied, compact sedan market. But where the Corolla trades on frugality and value, the Civic brings comfort and a more premium feel.

Honda first introduced the Civic to the North American market in 1973; in 2016, the Civic entered its 10th generation. For 2019, the Civic gains some very subtle visual updates and adds a new Sport trim.

For 2019, Honda makes crucial driver-assistance features standard equipment on every trim, making the Civic safer and making its base trims a greater value. It will need every weapon at its disposal to fend off rivals like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Cruze, Kia Soul, Mazda MAZDA3, Subaru Impreza, Nissan Sentra, and of course, the aforementioned Corolla.

For 2019, the exterior of the Civic receives a few tweaks. These include a piano black upper grille insert, new lower front wing, new lower grille area, and updated headlights. The Civic sedan receives new chrome accents on the lower bumper, and the Touring trim receives new, larger 18-inch wheels. New wheel designs are available on other trims.

The dash layout of the Civic blends a futuristic feel with functionality. The Civic has a lower, longer profile than the Corolla, thus allowing for a more dramatic dash design, which flows into the center console. Despite its aesthetic, the Civic’s cabin is meant to be useful; it offers a large tray at the base of the center console and plenty of cubbies and cup holders.

The Civic comes well equipped, with features like Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and a reversing camera. Uprated trims add features such as a one-touch power moonroof, LED headlights, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, heated seats, and navigation. All but the base Civic receive a touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

But the Civic’s infotainment system leaves something to be desired. Navigating through the menu navigation is challenging – but Honda is improving things with a new Display Audio infotainment system that features a volume knob. This might seem pretty basic, but previous iterations of the Civic featured a touch-capacitive slider to the left of the screen, which was very unintuitive. The addition of a volume knob is a welcome change.

The Sport trim is a new addition for 2019. It sits between the base LX and midrange EX trims. The Sport is designed to give the presence of the Si, without its more potent engine. It gets a piano-black lower front fascia, unique side-pod accents, and a rear spoiler. It also gets an upgraded lower rear bumper styled like a rear splitter, incorporating the thin, wide polygon-shaped exhaust tip from the Si. Rounding out the look of the Sport trim are black 18-inch alloy wheels.

For the LX, Sport, and EX trims, the engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is naturally aspirated (no turbochargers), making 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. All other trims receive a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4. This engine makes 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque; horsepower will drop to 167 for the manual transmission.

Power gets sent to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that operates as an automatic.

The most critical update for the 2019 Honda Civic is the inclusion of Honda Sensing as standard equipment across the trim lineup. Honda Sensing is a suite of driver assistance features that can alert and assist the driver. These features include a collision-mitigation braking system with forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning.

The Honda Sensing features join a list of standard safety features that includes a multi-angle reversing camera, tire-pressure monitoring system, LATCH child seat anchoring system, and a full array of front- and side-impact airbags.

Other available driver-assistance features include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and Honda LaneWatch, which comprises a camera integrated into the passenger side mirror. The camera monitors the driver’s passenger-side blind spot by projecting that area on the center touchscreen whenever the driver uses the right turn signal or manually activates it. This not only helps the driver see the right lane just before a lane change, but it can also help the driver more accurately parallel park.

Fuel-economy numbers have not yet been released at the time of this preview’s publishing.

The compact car segment is often about value. The Civic tends to hit the upscale end of the segment, but with new standard driver-assistance features and a new budget-minded Sport trim, the Civic can claim value as one of its attributes as well.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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