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Review of: 2014 Honda Civic Sedan 4dr Auto Touring

7.1

2014 Honda Civic: A solid little bestseller

By Jil McIntosh

May. 2, 2014

At the end of 2013, Honda wrapped up another record: the Civic found 64,063 new owners in Canada, making it the country’s best-selling passenger car for the 16th year in a row. So just what does it take to maintain such a position?

Part of it is familiarity, of course: many people return to the dealers they know, trading in a car they’re accustomed to driving for one that’s updated but comfortingly similar. But even that’s not enough if the product isn’t solid, and the Civic overall has enough to back up its record.

New for 2014, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) replaces the five-speed automatic, and my tester, the Touring sedan, gets some new features. The base Civic DX starts at $15,690. The trim lines continue through the LX and EX to the Touring, which clicks in at $25,260 before freight and taxes. There’s also a range-topping Si model, which features a larger engine and sportier suspension.

Pros & Cons

  • + Smooth, strong engine
  • + Turning circle
  • + Fit and finish
  • - Rear seat space
  • - Transmission
  • - Touchscreen display
Read the full review
  • Walkaround

    A redesign in 2012 gave the Civic a new look, with a grille surround that looks very similar to that of the Accord. There’s just enough chrome on the nose, especially when combined with my tester’s metallic grey paint, to make it stand out. It’s echoed at the rear with a chrome trunk strip that nicely ties the taillights together.

    The Touring includes 17-inch alloy wheels (the DX and LX get 15-inch, while the EX rides on 16-inch), and fog lights that aren’t included on the lower trim levels.

    New for 2014, the driver’s side mirror gets an expanded view—meaning there’s a convex portion at the edge of it—while the EX and Touring now get the brilliant LaneWatch blind spot display, first seen on such models as the Accord and Odyssey, as standard equipment. Activate the right-hand turn signal, and a view alongside the passenger side shows up in the stereo/navigation screen to eliminate any blind spots.

    7.0Good
  • Interior

    The Touring is the upscale trim line, and the only one that features leather seats (heated, of course) and a power driver’s chair. The seats are fairly comfortable, although the cushions are a bit short. Those with long legs may long for a little more support under their knees.

    The Civic’s tilted dash looks strange in photos, but it makes sense when you’re behind the wheel, since it puts the controls at an intuitive angle where they’re easy to reach. I’ve finally gotten used to the twin-tier dash, which puts the digital speedometer up top, closer to eye level, and the analog tachometer below it. Dotted lines alongside the speedometer turn green when you’re driving fuel-efficiently, but turn to blue if you’re a bit too heavy with your foot.

    The rear seat doesn’t have a lot of knee room, but you can slip your feet under the front seats for some extra space. Those rear chairs fold down—60/40 split on all but the base DX—and the cushions fall flat, but there’s a bit of a riser that prevents a completely flat floor that’s level with the trunk. The trunk can be opened from the driver’s seat with a toggle that also opens the gas filler door. You can use a key to lock it, to prevent anyone accessing these when you’re using valet parking.

    7.2Good
  • Tech

    For 2014, the Touring gets a new display-style stereo that includes navigation and bilingual voice recognition, as well as a backup camera.

    The sound is great, and the applications are easy to use, but Honda has fallen prey to the ridiculous notion that we don’t want a volume dial. I should be able to just reach over and spin something to make it louder or quieter. Instead, I have to take my eyes off the road and look over, find the volume bar on the glass, and tap on it. Tap, tap, tap. Who on earth thinks this is a good idea? I finally quit trying, and ended up using the button on the steering wheel.

    7.0Good
  • Driving

    The Civic uses a 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, producing 143 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. I’ve always thought highly of Honda’s engines, and this one’s smooth and works very well. You can put it in “Eco” mode to save fuel, but it really bogs it down; unless you’re determined to squeeze every bit out of the tank, you’ll probably take the slight hit on the mileage to get a more pleasurable driving experience.

    The CVT gets noisy on hard acceleration, and it’s not the very best continuously-variable I’ve driven, but it gets the job done.

    Steering response is quick, and steering feel is good: not as sporty as the Mazda3, but much livelier than that in the Toyota Corolla. The turning radius is tight, and the ride is quite smooth for a small car. For an everyday commuter car, it’s a decent overall package.

    The official fuel figures are 6.7 L/100 km in the city and 5.0 on the highway, while I averaged 7.7 L/100 km in combined driving in fairly cold weather.

    7.5Good
  • Value

    Like all models in this segment, the Civic starts at a low price, but climbs quickly as you move through the trim lines (Honda adds features to its models by trim level, instead of offering options). The upper-line Touring, at $25,260, overlaps the lower trim levels of the larger Accord.

    Much depends on how many features you want. The EX comes in at $21,860 with a CVT, and includes LaneWatch and a backup camera, but lacks the Touring’s leather seats and navigation system.

    7.0Good
  • Conclusion

    Compacts make up the most popular passenger-car segment in Canada, and naturally, the competition is fierce. The Civic isn’t an exciting sedan, but it’s a solid one, offering good performance, a comfortable interior, and in the Touring, a lot of features that used to be found only in larger models. If Honda doesn’t come out on December 31st with its seventeenth year in a row, it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.

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