The Coupe is gone, Si is on hiatus—but the 2021 Honda Civic still lures us with its winning formula of fuel economy, crash safety, and driving verve.
Sold in LX, Sport, EX, Touring, and Type R editions, we give the 2021 Civic a TCC Rating of 6.7 out of 10.
With the Civic, Honda has long since passed through the awkward economy-car stage of maturity. Today’s Civic is a budget set of wheels hiding behind a stylish wrapper. We like the slick fastback sedan better than the more awkward pup-tent hatchback, though when it comes to cargo space the latter’s the clear winner. Both provide a high-quality cabin for passengers far above the low-$20,000s base price.
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Base Civics get a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 teamed to the front wheels through either a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); we prefer the latter for commuter duty, though the light-effort Honda stick shifts always curl up the corners of our mouths. Better yet is the 174-hp surge from the available 1.5-liter turbo-4; it’s gutsy and more efficient than the non-turbo-4, and it’s standard in the hatchback. We reserve the wild Type R for track days and gameboy fantasies: Its 306-hp front-drive take on performance turns almost any driver into a hero, which is why we named it Motor Authority’s Best Car To Buy 2018.
Interior space abounds for four adults in the latest Civic, with a compromise here and there. The seats are fine, if not throne-like; head room isn’t great but it’s not bad, either. For a compact car, the Civic delivers mid-size interior space, and is especially good at leg room in front or in back—and in cargo space in the hatchback, which delivers up to 46.2 cubes of space, which is perfect for the move back to college, when that becomes a realistic and healthy and viable option once more.
Every Civic has automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control to go with its strong crash-test scores. All versions also come with power features and Bluetooth, but we skip the base car for its teensy audio display and head right to the Civic EX, which bundles a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with heated front seats, 17-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, and a passenger-side blind-spot camera. EPA combined fuel economy of as much as 35 mpg is standard on some models; all get Honda’s meh warranty of 3 years or 36,000 miles.