Impressive staying power in a crossover-dominated world
America’s love for the crossover has forced a growing number of automakers to eliminate sedans from their lineups. Honda, however, will have no part in the trend. And why would it? A big chunk of its sales are still sedans. This includes the tenth-generation Civic, which has sold more than 1 million copies since its launch in November 2015. The compact is currently the automaker’s second-best-selling model behind only the CR-V, but is the updated 2019 Honda Civic good enough to keep the momentum going?
Our long-term 2016 Civic Touring was a solid product from the start, showcasing lots of the engineering magic Honda is known for. But we also found some room for improvement, most of which has been addressed with the refreshed 2019 Honda Civic.
For starters, the audio system has finally replaced the controversial capacitive touch slider bar with a volume knob. Sitting above it are a column of new physical buttons that are more satisfying and responsive than the capacitive touch ones they replace. The touchscreen section of the Display Audio System is pretty much the same, though we wish it had been upgraded to the more intuitive and responsive next-gen interface found in other Honda models such as the Insight.
External styling tweaks are subtle and mostly found up front. The large chrome bar, for example, is now black, and the lower bumper has been reworked. Around back, the distinctive C-shaped taillights remain untouched.
Another welcome update is Honda’s effort to reduce cabin noise. The 2019 Civic has more sound deadening material in its floor, trunk, and front fenders, as well as new insulation in the rear fenders. We’d need to drive an updated Civic back to back with a pre-refreshed model to verify the difference, but our 2019 Civic Touring sedan tester seemed adequately quiet on the rough roads around Los Angeles.
Thankfully, the new sound insulation and volume knob didn’t add too much weight. Our Civic Touring sedan test car weighed in at 2,936 pounds (1,332 kg), just 17 pounds (8 kg) more than our comparable long-term vehicle. Powertrains for the front-wheel-drive Civic carry over, including the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I-4, the 1.5-liter turbo-four, and the Civic Type R’s high-strung 2.0-liter turbo-four. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual or continuously variable transmission depending on trim (Civic Si and Type R are manual only).
In our 2019 Civic Touring tester, the 1.5-liter turbo-four is paired to CVT and is tuned to make 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Power is more than adequate, and the engine and CVT behave well together. During testing, we made note of the Civic’s smooth power delivery. We recorded a 0–60 mph time of 6.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 15.2 seconds, matching the pace of our previous 2016 Civic long-termer. It put down a figure-eight lap time of 26.6 seconds, and the test crew found it an easy car to drive briskly.
The 1.5-liter is still among the most fuel-efficient powertrains in its class, returning an EPA rating of 30/38 mpg (7.8/6.2 L/100 km) city/highway for the Civic Touring sedan (30/37 mpg (7.8/6.4 L/100 km) for the Touring Coupe), increasing to 31/40 for Civic EX Coupe and 32/42 mpg (7.3/5.6 L/100 km) city/highway for Civic EX and EX-L.
In another big change for 2019, Honda Sensing is now standard on every trim level. Previously standard on just Civic Touring, Honda Sensing’s list of driver assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow), automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, automatic high-beams, and a lane departure warning system.
The 2019 Honda Civic LX sedan, coupe, and hatchback start at $20,370, $21,570, and $22,370 USD, respectively. Their long list of standard features includes the aforementioned Honda Sensing, electric parking brake, automatic climate control, and rear folding seats. The new Civic Sport sedan and coupe are new trim offerings for 2019, starting at $22,070 and $22,370 USD, respectively. Meanwhile, a nicely equipped Civic EX—now only offered with the 1.5-liter turbo engine—can be had for $24,320 USD, and our loaded Touring sedan rings in at $28,220 USD.
With that said, the refreshed 2019 Civic’s strong value along with smart engineering and impressive efficiency serves as a reminder of why Honda’s compact sedan has been a standout in its segment for more than 40 years.
|2019 Honda Civic Touring|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$28,220|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||1.5L/174-hp/162-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|TRANSMISSION||Cont variable auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||2,936 lb (61/39%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||182.7 x 70.9 x 55.7 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.8 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||15.2 sec @ 92.2 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||113 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.88 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.6 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||30/38/33 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||112/89 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.59 lb/mile|