So many choices. The 2021 Honda Civic sees some crucial changes. The coupe has been discontinued, the Si is on hiatus, and the manual transmission for the sedan body style has been dropped. The changes won’t affect that many consumers and the Civic still has plenty of options for interested buyers, but for enthusiasts, 2021 is a tough year.
Still, there are plenty of Civics to choose from. The sedan is available in five different trims, the Civic hatchback is offered in four, and the track-focused Type R is still on sale.
For the majority of consumers, the Civic sedan is a fine option with plenty of interior space and a traditional design. The Civic hatchback is a little more athletic and bulbous, though it brings up to 46.2 cubic feet of cargo space. The Civic Type R looks like something out of "The Fast and the Furious," but it’s still plenty usable for everyday purposes.
Overall, there’s something for everyone in the Civic range. With the discontinuation of the Civic coupe, the lineup has been simplified, which should make things easier for consumers.
Vast range of performance. Just like there’s a body style for everyone, there’s an engine for everyone, too. Whether you’re looking for a fuel-efficient daily driver or something that'll be enjoyable on a track, the Civic offers one of the widest ranges of motors in the compact class.
Four engines are available, ranging from a 158-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder up to a 306-hp version of the same. A continuously variable transmission is standard for the majority of vehicles, though a few hatchbacks are available with a six-speed manual, as is the Civic Type R.
The most efficient Civic is rated by the EPA at 36 miles per gallon combined, which is excellent for the class. Even last year's hopped-up Civic Type R is rated at 25 mpg combined (fuel economy for the 2021 model has yet to be rated). That’s not bad for a high-performance hatchback, though it requires premium fuel.
Depending on what your needs are, chances are that 174-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter engine will be a happy medium for the majority of consumers. It’s the most efficient motor, has plenty of grunt, and operates smoothly. It’s also the engine the Civic hatchback comes with as standard.
Supremely safe. Safety scores from the IIHS for the 2021 Civic aren’t out yet, but the ratings should carry over for the model year, which is a good thing because they’re great. The IIHS named the 2020 Civic a Top Safety Pick for both the sedan and hatchback. The Civic missed out on the Top Safety Pick Plus award because of its standard headlights. In the NHTSA’s testing, the 2021 model earned a five-star overall safety rating.
Every Civic comes with Honda Sensing as standard, which is the automaker’s suite of advanced safety features. It includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. The only feature that’s optional is blind-spot monitoring.
For a compact vehicle, the Civic has great crash-test scores and an excellent list of standard safety features. It offers everything a consumer would want when it comes to safety in a small package.
Skip the base trim. On the whole, the Civic is a well-rounded compact vehicle. If there’s one weak spot, it’s the base trim. The standard LX model comes with a small 5-inch display that doesn’t have Android Auto or Apple CarPlay integration. In this day of age, smartphone compatibility is a must-have. It’s an unfortunate omission that greatly affects the LX trim’s appeal.
Our pick in the lineup is the EX. For roughly $3,150 more, you get a larger 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a moonroof, an eight-speaker audio system, and more.
Final thoughts. Despite a few missteps, the 2021 Honda Civic is still the benchmark in the compact class. Few competitors offer as competitive of an engine lineup as the Civic, are as spacious, or have the same expansive body style and trim choices. Where else can you find a track-ready hatchback alongside an efficient sedan that’s packed with safety features?
While the Civic is a good value option, there are better competitors for consumers on a tight budget. The LX trim is a barebones vehicle that’s really meant to showcase how affordable the Civic can be. A few competitors, though, cost the same amount and come with more features. The decision to discontinue the coupe and manual transmission for the sedan are tough for enthusiasts to swallow.
The Mazda Mazda3 is the luxurious pick in the compact class. It has a more stylish design, better interior quality, and is available with a large 8.8-inch touchscreen. Additionally, it’s available with a 250-hp turbo four-cylinder engine.
The Toyota Corolla has a more aggressive design that doesn’t translate over to a sporty ride. It’s not nearly as powerful as the Civic, but it comes with a larger touchscreen, smartphone compatibility, and was named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the IIHS in 2020.
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