Honda enthusiasts have been let down for years, because the Civic had become just an appliance (excluding the SIs). Throughout the Civic’s prior history & DNA – sure – it had always been a sensible, reliable, & economical car. But it was ALSO nimble, fun, and it was full of clever little tricks that made it greater than the sum of its parts. Civics had a way of grabbing your heart. And gave you a low cost of driving, with a high reward & satisfaction. That was the formula that worked. And somewhere on this side of the 21st century, they floundered a bit.
But the New Civic Coupe honestly seems to have brought a lot of the ‘old spark’ back. And it’s important to note: that this is coming from a guy who was ready to NOT like it.
The car drives lightly & effortlessly. It feels spacious & wide, yet fit, trim, and agile. Like the older models, it’s quicker & more nimble than it would seem. You might not get a lot of feedback at the wheel… but you DO go exactly where you point it. It’s solid, and handles the road very well for an inexpensive car. It absorbs road imperfections like a champ. And the exterior design is no longer a bag of compromises.
We had the chance to drive a top-of-the line model for a week… followed by an entry-level model for a few weeks.
*The top-line model (green) has the 1.5 turbo with the CVT transmission, as well as all the interior bells & whistles.
*The base-model (red) has the 2.0 non-turbo with a 6-speed manual, with the standard interior.
And what really surprised me… was that strangely, I grew to like driving the base model more than the top-line 1.5 CVT.
I took to it like a fish to water. It just feels more ‘Civic-y’. And that’s a GOOD thing. Especially because it shows the quality of this new model – even at base-pricing levels.
I mean look – the $26,000 Civic Coupe was nice. It has A LOT of bells & whistles to offer over the base model. I enjoyed the leather, and the big-screen infotainment, the LCD gauges, the sunroof, the high-end LED headlight assemblies, etc. All that stuff is great. But the 1.5-turbo is hampered by that CVT transmission – no doubt about it. It’s restrictive. It’s not a ‘fun’ turbo setup. And until Fall, the CVT is the only option for the turbo motor. So what’s the point? Especially when you can buy a non-turbo 6-speed model for less money that ‘feels’ nearly as quick… but doesn’t have the future maintenance concerns of a CVT transmission or forced induction.
The new Civic Coupe shines all around… but it REALLY shines, and just makes sense, at the low-end of the pricing spectrum (at least until the SI is released). Once the SI & Type-R come out; they’ll be the ones you want. 😉
Matter of fact – if I had $18,000 for a new car, and needed a good errand-runner, this would be it. The base Civic Coupe with the 6-speed drives better, and feels more solid than any other new $18,000 car we’ve reviewed.
Bottom line: 18-grand will get you a brand new Civic that gets 34+ MPGs on regular gas… and will run for generations. You just can’t beat that. It allows you to do all the things in life you want to do, without having to worry about mileage, depreciation, wear & tear, or being strangled & stretched by a car payment.
At the higher end of the spectrum, the Civic Coupe is still a very nice car, but when reality sets in, there are just too many other doors open at that price range. Especially when the base-model hits the nail on the head.