Reviews

2014 Honda Civic Driving Impressions


In both sedan and coupe form, we found the standard Civic 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine with its 143 hp and 129 lb.-ft. of torque to be adequate for everyday driving. Acceleration is average for the class, meaning slow; but the engine was smooth and the cabin relatively quiet.

The big news for 2014 is Honda's switch from the old 5-speed automatic transmission to a CVT, which can automatically select from an infinite number of gear ratios to optimize fuel economy, and ideally, performance. While this translates to better gas mileage, the feel of a CVT can be rather elastic-y, though Honda's new gearbox doesn't feel as anemic as some. Still, we were left wanting for more while driving winding canyon roads in Southern California with the EX-L coupe.

Cars equipped with paddle shifters have a manual mode, which allows drivers to switch between set gear ratios, mimicking a traditional automatic. During demanding driving, we found we got more out of the Civic by switching over to the paddles, though we still felt like Goldilocks a bit between second and third gears on sharp mountain curves; the lower seemed to low, and the higher seemed too tall. This, however, is not uncommon on many modern cars, which are tuned more for fuel economy than performance.

The suspension is comfortable and predictable, with cornering that's relatively flat for the class. Don't forget, we're talking about a Civic here, a car whose cars primary goal is not necessarily to be fun to drive. If you want sporty, there's the Civic Si, with its high-revving 2.4-liter twin-cam four-cylinder making 201 horsepower and 170 lb.-ft., a huge bang for the buck.

After about 250 miles of combined city, freeway and hard canyon driving in our Civic EX-L coupe, we averaged 27.7 mpg. That's much less than the published 33 mpg Combined rating for the CVT, but we also pushed hard in manual mode on some of the most demanding roads.

On a separate drive in the LX sedan, we flipped on the Econ mode and kept driving hard. We felt the difference but not so much it made us grumble. We still kept up with the other cars going 75. Our final tally was 32.1 miles per gallon, closer to published numbers but still a tad short of the EPA-estimated 30/39 mpg City/Highway and 33 mpg combined.

Prices shown are manufacturer suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, license, or doc fee. Manufacturer vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Please contact us with any questions.

**Based on 2014 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition and other factors.

For 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, 115 combined miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe) electric rating; 47 city/46 highway/46 combined MPG gasoline only rating. 13 mile maximum EV mode driving range rating. 570 mile combined gas-electric driving range rating. Based on 2014 EPA mileage and driving range ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your MPGe/MPG and driving range will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, lithium-ion battery age/condition, and other factors. For additional information about EPA ratings, visit http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/label/learn-more-PHEV-label.shtml.

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