It's hard to overstate how much we like the 2018 Honda Civic. Equipped with the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, it's one of the best cars in its class for delivering both impressive acceleration and high fuel economy. Inside, it has plenty of room for passengers, clever storage solutions and more cargo space than most competitors in any body style. It also offers technology features that put some other compact cars to shame and safety ratings that are among the best.
Available as a sedan, coupe or hatchback, the Civic has a version for every niche, and all of them are good. Want more sauce? There's the sportier Civic Si, as well as the absolutely bananas Civic Type R. Just as impressive, neither one sacrifices the qualities we love about the standard variants.
The Civic does have some weaknesses. The infotainment interface is far from the easiest system to use, and the available forward collision alert system is prone to overreaction. Also, though cargo volume is good, the sloping rear glass of the hatchback and deck of the sedan mean that taller or bulkier items can sometimes be hard to fit.
There are competitors with specific strengths that make them worth checking out. The Mazda 3 is engaging to drive and, in higher trims, offers a near-luxury cabin. The Subaru Impreza, which comes standard with all-wheel drive, and the value-packed Kia Forte also merit consideration. Overall, though, the Civic wins the day with its multitude of strengths.
The 2018 Honda Civic is a compact car offered as a sedan, coupe or hatchback. The sedan is available in six different trim levels: LX, EX, EX-T, EX-L, Touring and Si. There are also three hatchback-specific trims — Sport, Sport Touring and Type R — and one coupe-specific trim, LX-P.
Note that the following trim level feature info primarily relates to the sedan. The coupe and hatchback are similarly equipped but can vary slightly in certain instances.
Though it may be the base trim, the standard Civic LX sedan comes with a lot of equipment for the money. Standard equipment highlights include a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (158 horsepower, 138 lb-ft of torque), a six-speed manual transmission (a continuously variable automatic transmission is also available), 16-inch steel wheels, LED running lights, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, automatic climate control and a height-adjustable driver seat. Electronics features include a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port.
Optional for just about every Civic is the Honda Sensing safety package. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and intervention, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
In the Civic Hatchback, the LX trim comes with the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine (174 horsepower, 167 lb-ft of torque), while the coupe-only LX-P trim comes standard with the 2.0-liter engine, the CVT automatic, a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, and remote start.
The hatchback-specific Sport comes with the LX equipment plus a more powerful version of the turbocharged engine (180 hp, 177 lb-ft of torque), 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a center-outlet dual exhaust, aerodynamic bodywork, a rear center armrest with cupholders, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The EX sedan builds off the base LX, adding the CVT as standard along with a sunroof, alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, a rear center armrest with cupholders, an eight-speaker audio system with dual USB ports, Honda's LaneWatch blind-spot camera, dynamic guidelines for the rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry with remote start, and a 7-inch touchscreen interface with satellite radio, HondaLink and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration (including app-based navigation).
Stepping up to the EX-T sedan gets you the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Thanks to impressive acceleration and big fuel economy numbers, the turbocharged four-cylinder is enough reason alone to buy an EX-T Civic or above if you're opting for the sedan. But the EX-T also adds 17-inch wheels, foglights, dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats. For the coupe, the EX-T gets an upgraded 10-speaker stereo system. The EX hatchback is equipped similarly to the EX-T sedan, lacking only the sedan's heated front seats.
Right near the top of the heap is the EX-L sedan, which gets leather upholstery, a power-adjustable driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An integrated navigation system is available as an option.
The hatchback-only Sport Touring essentially builds off the regular Sport trim and adds different 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, automatic wipers, a four-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats and a 12-speaker audio system. Also standard is the Honda Sensing safety package.
The Touring trim level (for the sedan and coupe) essentially comes with the same equipment as the Sport Touring hatchback noted above, but the stereo has 10 speakers instead of 12.
The Si is a midlevel performance version of the Civic that comes as a coupe or sedan, both with a more powerful version of the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine (205 hp, 192 pound-feet of torque). A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered. Standard equipment is similar to what Honda has on the EX-T trim, but you also get a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, bigger front brakes, a limited-slip front differential, a unique rear spoiler, Si branded seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the 10-speaker stereo, and a unique instrument panel with faux carbon-fiber surfaces.
For detailed Civic Si information and driving impressions, please read our First Drive Si review.
At the top of the performance ladder for the Civic is the hatchback-only Type R. It is equipped much like the Sport Touring trim level, but it gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (306 hp, 285 lb-ft). Like the Si, it is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. Other additions include 20-inch wheels with high-performance tires, bigger front and rear brakes, a massive rear wing, a Type R-specific suspension with adaptive dampers, and special interior and exterior styling enhancements.
You can also learn more about the new Type R in our First Drive Type R review.