Like it or not, the Civic perpetually resides at or near the top of automobile sales charts in America. Even in 2020, a notably tumultuous year, Honda sold over a quarter-million of the things, good enough for eighth place on the best-seller list (they also sold over 333,502 CR-V crossovers, if you’re wondering).
While we’re eons away from the old days of Civic Nation and underglow lights, any new compact sedan from the Big H is worth talking about. There are four trims on offer at launch – LX, Sport, EX, and Touring. Which is our favorite? You know we’re gonna ask you to click the jump and find out.
A base model LX starts at a reasonable $21,700 with the Sport trim commanding just $1,400 more. This may be a worthwhile play in the American market, where the Sport is not saddled with a moonroof and actually comes offered in a variety of colors. The no-charge Rallye Red is shown here. It’s arguable those 18-inch black alloy wheels belong on a much more expensive car, though the gloss-black power side mirrors could be confused for base trim cheapness.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 158 horsepower, all of which show up for duty just 300 revs short of the 6,800 rpm redline. Sport is the last stop before Turbo Town, though only 22 extra ponies are present in the pressurized 1.5-liter mill. Torque’s a healthy 40 lb-ft higher, however. And, yes, the only transmission available at launch is a CVT. This pleases no one in our audience or newsroom, but is likely a smart play for wide swaths of real-world Americans who plan to buy this thing. A stick will show up in the hatchback later this year.
Various active safety and driver-assistive tech is standard across the board, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping, and forward-collision warning. Blind-spot monitoring is not part of the deal on LX or Sport, so be sure to cast a glance over your shoulder when changing lanes. LED lamps are installed on both ends of the car, though you’re outta luck for fog lamps unless you pop for the spendy Touring sedan.
Selecting the Sport trim brings better touchpoints, such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles (the irony of “Fake News” gears in a gearless transmission is not lost on us). Air conditioning is standard, as it is on most cars these days, along with an eight-speaker sound system and automatic climate control. Small cars no longer need be a penalty box, apparently. That sound system plays well with your smartphone, offering up a 7-inch touch screen and a quick-charge USB port. SiriusXM is absent except for the top-tier trim, a detail that has become an infuriating Honda trademark.
With all this in mind, we submit the Sport to be The Right Spec. Its inclusions (safety kit, decent infotainment, natty wheels, and color choice) play well with new notable features it doesn’t have – chiefly the moonroof which rudely scuppers 1.7 inches of headroom. With packaging like that, it’s easy to predict the Civic will remain on the list of America’s best-selling vehicles – even if no one’s putting underglow neons on them anymore.
Please note the prices listed here are in American dollars and currently accurate for base prices exclusive of any fees, taxes, or rebates. Your dealer may (and should) sell for less (obscene market conditions notwithstanding). Keep your foot down, bone up on available rebates, and bargain hard.