The Honda Civic is one of the most popular economy cars in the U.S. for good reasons; it has a stellar reliability record, great interior fit and finish, impressive safety ratings, quick handling and solid comfort. The 2011 Mazda3 (Base MSRP: $15,800 to $23,010) has approached the Civic in terms of what it offers as a total package, but it still hasn't proven itself to have the same levels of reliability. The new 2011 Hyundai Elantra (Base MSRP: $14,830 to $19,980) matches the Civic's offerings and is cheaper, more fuel efficient and more stylish. A redesigned Civic is on the way later in 2011 for the 2012 model year.
Minor trim package changes are the only updates for the 2011 model year in anticipation of the 2012 overhaul. See our full review of the nearly identical 2009 Honda Civicfor a comprehensive analysis of what reviewers are aying.
The Honda Civic receives good fuel-economy ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency, though some competing models deliver even greater levels of efficiency. For the standard inline four-cylinder engine, the EPA gives ratings of 26 mpg city/34 mpg highway/29 mpg combined for Civics equipped with the five-speed manual and 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway/29 mpg combined for five-speed automatics. The Civic can also be equipped with a natural-gas powered engine, as well as a hybrid powertrain.
The 2011 Civic is available in sedan and coupe body styles, including the Si performance model, which sports a more powerful engine and sport-oriented suspension modifications. The Civic Si gets a lower 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway/24 mpg combined fuel-economy rating, but at 197 horsepower, it's also significantly more powerful.
The 2011 Honda Civic is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick because it receives the highest rating of Good in all crash and roof-strength tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revamped its rating criteria for 2011, making it harder to get high scores. NHTSA gives the 2011 Civic 3 out of 5 stars for overall safety, with side-impact protection only getting 2 out of 5 stars. Antilock brakes, front airbags, side airbags and side curtain airbags are standard. Electronic stability control is standard on the more expensive Civic EX-L and Si models.
The 2010 Honda Civic's base MSRP ranges from $15,605 for the base DX trim to $25,490 for the natural-gas powered Civic GX.
The 2012 Honda Civic was unveiled to the public on April 20, 2011 at the New York Auto Show. The car also arrived at dealers the same day. We'll have a report on the 2012 Honda Civic soon, as reviews have already started to become published.
Edmunds.com provides an overview of the 2011 Civic, highlighting the nice variety of engine options, comfortable ride and high-quality materials inside. The only real drawback editors find is the relatively high level of road noise.
Review: 2011 Honda Civic, Editors of Edmunds.com
ConsumerReports.org compares many new cars on multiple dimensions, giving each model an overall rating. Editors recommend some models for their combination of good predicted reliability, safety and performance.
Review: New Cars: Small Cars, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
3. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The 2011 Honda Civic is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, getting the highest rating for occupancy protection in front, side and rear crashes, as well as for roof strength.
Review: Small Cars, Editors of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The stricter standards for 2011 net the Honda Civic lower scores than in previous years. The 2011 Civic is given a 3-star rating for overall crash protection, with 4-star ratings for front and rollover accidents, and only a 2-star rating for side-impact protection in tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Review: 5-Star Safety Ratings, Editors of SaferCar.gov
The four-cylinder gas version of the Honda Civic is given a fuel-efficiency rating between 24 and 29 mpg by the EPA for a mix of city and highway driving. The hybrid version (covered in our separate report on hybrid cars) achieves a combined rating of 41 mpg.
Review: 2011 Honda Civic, Editors of FuelEconomy.gov
Many expert reviews and opinions of the 2009 Honda Civic can be found here in our last full report. The 2011 Civic is virtually unchanged from the 2009 model year.
Review: 2009 Honda Civic, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, March 2009
7. Kicking Tires, a Cars.com Blog
KickingTires.com, a blog from Cars.com, takes an initial look at what the 2012 Civic will offer. All Civic variants -- from the hybrid to the sporty Si model -- are expected to achieve better fuel efficiency.
Review: 2012 Honda Civic: First Look, David Thomas, Feb. 17, 2011