Legend in the compact class
Roseville, CA- Although this longtime standout in the compact class earned its reputation for being well made, affordable, reliable and fuel efficient, the modern-day Honda Civic possesses more than just the aforementioned qualities.
Having last driven a Civic five years ago, we were taken by surprise at the performance this compact sedan delivered. It was fast, not just for a compact car, but for any vehicle. The 2020 Honda Civic Si featured a turbocharged engine, a six-speed manual transmission, and could get you somewhere in a hurry, if that was the desire. It travels 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, putting it in an elite class among compacts.
2020 Honda Civic
- Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 158 horsepower; turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, 174 or 205 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 31-40 mpg; 29-37 mpg
- Price estimate: $19,900 to $27,700
- Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 3 years/36,000; corrosion: 5 years/unlimited
We owned a Civic in our youth and drove it more than 200,000 miles. But it was not in the same league as the Civic Si in terms of speed. The Si had quick acceleration, crisp handling and solid cargo-carrying capability (trunk space is 15.1 cubic feet in the sedan).
Of course, the downside to the sporty Civic Si is price. It’s on the high side, starting at around $25,000. Even the starting price of the base model Civic has climbed over the years. The 2020 model started at just under $20,000 and the ceiling for a Civic can go as high as approximately $28,000.
Honda has been selling tons of Civics for nearly half a century. It’s a legend in the compact class, exceeding sales of 200,000 or more annually since 1989. There were 325,760 Civics sold in 2018. And that was an “off year,” its lowest sales figure since 2012. Because it’s in such great command, Honda can keep inching up the price and still be assured of selling several hundred thousand Civics a year.
Besides the obvious traits, what people love about the Civic is the diversity. It comes as a traditional compact sedan, coupe or hatchback. For 2020, the 10th generation of Civics offers six trim models (LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, Touring, Si).
There’s been no major redesign since 2016, but changes keep taking place because Honda understands there is plenty of competition if the Civic goes stale for several years. Among the competitors are Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, Kia Forte, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta, and Hyundai Elantra.
For 2020, Honda decided to update the Civic Si and the Hatchback. The Si looks different, thanks to updated front and rear styling. The Hatchback’s updating is more understated. Honda says it reduced the road noise and installed better sound insulation.
The base engine for the Civic is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 158 horsepower. The preferred turbo engine is a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. The Civic has great acceleration and still gets between 29-40 mpg, depending on the model. Honda has made the 6-speed manual transmission available on the Sport and Sport Touring trims for the first time.
The Civic interior is well thought out, possessing good space, lots of storage areas, and solid room with the exception of the coupe, where the back seat is not suited for most adults. For safety-conscious folks, the optional Honda sensing suite includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Collision Mitigation Braking, and Lane Departure Warning.
There’s no reason to steer away from giving the 2020 Honda Civic a good look if a compact car is on the shopping list. From this vantage point, the Civic is better than ever.