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The Honda Civic Has Finally Grown Up

The Civic has been one of Honda’s most important models for decades. Until the 2007 Fit came along, it was its smallest and least expensive model sold in the US. Since the Civic was introduced for 1973, it has become slightly larger and better equipped with each new generation. It became the victim of cost-cutting decisions for the 2012 model year and faced heavy criticism and decreased sales as a result, but Honda reacted quickly and introduced a host of significant improvements for 2013 to save face.

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Now in its 10th generation, the 2017 Honda Civic represents the most substantial upgrade from past generations in its history. It no longer sits at the entry-level position. Instead, the Civic now offers a turbocharged engine and some of the most advanced safety features in the industry. It is available as a sedan, coupe, or hatchback.

Base Civic Models are Well-equipped

Even the least-expensive LX trim offers significant improvements from previous generations and a host of standard features. Power is now provided from a 2.0L 4-cylinder, naturally-aspirated engine that is more powerful than the 1.8L 4-cylinder engine in the last generation. The controversial, two-tier instrument panel has been replaced by a more conventional single-piece unit and all models now feature the convenience and comfort of automatic climate control.

The base, 2.0L 4-cylinder engine in the LX, LX-P, and EX trims needs no excuses. With improvements to both horsepower and torque over the last generation, the Civic now feels more powerful and competent than ever. The 2017 Civic's excellent platform is versatile enough for use as a comfortable and economical sedan, a sporty coupe, and even a race-ready hatchback.

The Most Powerful Versions of Civic

The 1.5L turbocharged engine in the EX-T, EX-L, Touring, and Si trims is really the star here. With significantly more power and a wide, flat torque curve, the smaller-displacement engine moves the Honda Civic with a level of confidence that defies its price range. Better yet, the additional power comes with no penalty in fuel economy based on EPA ratings over the standard, 2.0L non-turbocharged engine. More power and better fuel economy? Yes, please!

Absent for the Civic’s 2016 model year was the Si version, which has returned for 2017. Initially, it faced criticism for having only a slightly revised version of the 1.5L turbocharged engine that already powered certain non-Si Civic models. Previously, the Si featured a unique engine within the Civic lineup, but that changed for 2017. Past Civic Si models required revving their engines to high speeds in order to produce significant acceleration. The 2017 Civic Si, on the other hand, develops abundant torque starting at just over 2,000 RPM.

Sitting at the peak of Civic performance, price, and attitude is the long-awaited Type R. It’s the fastest and most powerful of all Honda models. It’s an impressive package straight from the factory with performance that defies its front-wheel drive configuration. Honda engineers have set new levels for front-wheel drive performance with the Civic Type R.

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Jane (not verified)    September 20, 2017 - 7:57PM

Definitely Civic has changed a lot and evolved in the past several years. It's not the Honda Civic you knew 10 years ago. Changes in Civic look really good.

Cody (not verified)    September 20, 2017 - 9:39PM

The new Honda Civic Si feels like an Accord. It's quick, it's efficient, it handles, but lacks any emotion or character. Honda will sell lots of Civic Si vehicles to the ever growing population, but enthusiasts need not apply unless they can find a Type R for MSRP.

Parks McCants    September 21, 2017 - 12:24AM

Good read Roger. Honda sub compact Fit was introduced to the U.S. in April 2006 as a 2007 model. It was first produced in Japan for model year 2001. Today's Civic approaches midsize, as the Accord, soulless as it may be (Cody) breaches the full size segment. look for a high performance 2.0 turbocharged Accord arriving in the late Fall. I'll be behind the wheel of one next week, and will follow with a comprehensive first drive impression. Don't mess with it. Cheers. Type-R, yes, they're a blast!