Saturday, February 21, 2015

Honda's Civic quietly maintains its excellence

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Two years back, I test drove a 2013 Honda Civic EX sedan.  After being Civic-less for about 24 months, I recently test drove a 2015 Honda Civic EX-L sedan.

A lot happened in between.

Well, a lot happened if you consider that Honda took an affordable, reliable, hugely popular car and stuffed it with a host of improvements inside and out for the 2014 model year.

Not many people get excited about the Civic, until they have to consider getting a car for their going-to-school child, or buy a second vehicle for their household, or recommend a passenger car to a neighbor who is seeking safe, solid transportation for the right price.

On such occasions, the Civic’s otherwise vanilla reputation turns to solid gold.

Car-crazy California likes the Civic. Nearly 68,000 new Civic registrations were recorded in the state last year, making the Civic the Golden State’s third-most-popular new-car buy in 2014, trailing only the Honda Accord and Toyota Prius, respectively, in a close horse race.

What do I like about the Civic?

It never disappoints.  Over decades of reviewing motor vehicles, I’ve been routinely slapped down by rattles, discomforts, poor engineering, poor control placements and (insert your own favorite gripe here) that go with driving a new ride.

You don’t get that with a Civic, which is a good place to start when you're pondering its coast-to-coast popularity.

The recently tested Civic EX-L with a navigation system was stuffed with gotta-have’-em features that included four-wheel disc brakes, leather-trimmed seats and heated front seats.  A continuously variable transmission is also standard on this most-expensive version of the seven Civic sedan trim levels.

All those goodies must have sent the vehicle's cost through the roof, right?  How about a starting price of $24,340 for the whole package?  Yeah, that’s a steal, given what is in the car.

And if you’re doing in the economic math in your head right now, throw in 30 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

On the go, the Civic is agile and easy to handle.  It zips around and through city traffic effortlessly.  The 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine is rated at 143 horsepower, but on the open road, it felt like a lot more than that to me.

My Civic accelerated briskly and whistled into tight commuter-traffic holes with very little weight applied by my right foot.  It was a comfortable, everyday cruiser in every way.  A weekend fun car, too?  You bet.

Safety ratings?  Strong as usual.

Sure, this is small car at a small price, and it’s not going to win many contests for super-sporty looks.  Thing is, most folks aren’t looking for those things.  Most are looking for something like a Civic.

And in that school, the 2015 Civic sedan gets an “A” grade.

No comments:

Post a Comment