The 2018 Honda Civic is a good car made better by plenty of options and value at nearly every stop.
Forget what you know about compact cars. The 2018 Honda Civic spans a breathtaking number of configurations with multiple powertrains that climb quickly up the ladder of fun.
Honda makes available the compact car in a sedan, coupe, or hatchback body, with a trio of turbocharged engines (and one naturally aspirated version) and a grip of automatic or manual transmissions. Two common themes, regardless of body style or engine: a good ride and great fuel economy.
We rate the range at 7.5 overall with the implicit understanding that scoring such a staggering lineup is like rating all the fish in the sea collectively. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year the Civic range is unchanged after a flurry of activity last year. The Civic is offered as a sedan, coupe, or hatchback in a long list of trims.
The LX trim level signifies a base version of coupe or sedan, with EX, EX-L, EX-T, and Touring grades increasing niceties and price along the way. Trim levels with the “T” appendage denote an optional, uprated turbocharged engine; trims with an “L” in their name denote leather upholstery. Along the way, “Navi” and “Honda Sensing” add navigation and active safety features, respectively. Touring models get both, along with other creature comforts.
Hatchbacks ascend from LX to EX, EX-L, Sport, and Sport Touring, the latter two providing bigger wheels, sportier looks, and center-mounted exhausts. Hatchbacks are only fitted with turbocharged engines.
Last year Honda added high-performance versions, the Civic Si and Type R, that are mercifully monospec.
It’s too much to ask before coffee, so we advise an alert mind when considering the options. Interspersed among the trim levels are a few options, but the Civic is well-equipped regardless of variant.
The base 2.0-liter engine found in LX and EX models (without a “T”) is a commuter special, quiet and uninterrupted in many ways. The uprated 1.5-liter turbo-4 in the Civic is a revelation—its 174 horsepower is more than competent, and it’s the basis for the 205-hp Civic Si that’s entry-level performance.
The Civic Type R will attract eyeballs and the most money—it starts around $35,000. It’s a 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 306 hp and all the tricks: VTEC, VTC, and turbocharging. Our colleagues at Motor Authority called it the 2018 Best Car to Buy.
Even base Civics get a 5.0-inch display for their audio system, but it doesn’t take much more to get a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Combined with very good safety ratings from official testers and available advanced safety features, the Civic is a good car hiding in plain sight.