2018 Honda Civic Coupe: Popular Compact rolls on as economical and sporty

By Mike Blake Carlisle Events
Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Honda Civic debuted as an economical subcompact for the 1973 model year as an answer to the U.S. oil and gas crisis, and has been a top-seller for 45 years to buyers in the 35-and-under market. Originally a sub-compact, Civic has employed compact proportions since 1988, It is currently the No.2-selling car in America and eighth-best-selling vehicle overall, when trucks and SUVs are figured in.

The current 10th-generation Honda Civic was introduced in 2016 and has undergone few changes and augmentations since. Next year, look for Civic to enhance with a refreshed and sportier exterior architecture, tweaked interior, upgraded technology and infotainment, and improved handling. But there’s plenty to like for 2018. Ranked by Kelly Blue Book as one of the “10 Coolest New Cars Under $20,000", KBB editors herald Civic as “… a well-rounded car offered as a Sedan or Coupe that's comfortable, roomy, practical, efficient, packed with cool tech, and a blast to drive."

A functional, economical and driver-experience-friendly vehicle, Honda Civic comes in four-door Sedan or two-door Coupe styles, multiple engine choices and trims and a bevy of colors – nine exterior shades: White Orchid, Taffeta White, Lunar Silver, Crystal Black, Rallye Red, Modern Steel, Aegean Blue, Cosmic Blue, and Burgundy Night. Since 2016, the Civic Coupe (the model I tested) has displayed sporty and sophisticated exterior styling and a cabin to match. Civic has sleek, swept-back bodylines, a sharp and aggressive face, and bulging wheel arches. The hood features sharply defined character lines that draw the eye forward and down to the Civic's aggressive face, highlighted by a chrome-plated Honda “wing” that runs the full width of the front fascia and is flanked by available LED headlights in an in-line configuration.

Building on the foundation of its ultra-rigid and lightweight body structure, the Civic Coupe utilizes a fully independent suspension with a multi-link rear design mated to a rigidly-mounted rear subframe for a high degree of lateral stability. The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ body structure and rear frame structures, aid in occupant protection while minimizing weight for better fuel efficiency.

With angular unibody construction, the compact Civic Coupe measures 176.9 inches long, 54.9 inches high and 70.8 inches wide on a 106.3-inch wheelbase for a curb weight of 2899 lbs.

Inside, the cabin is packed with high-quality, soft-to-the-touch materials and such convenience features as remote engine start, electronic parking brake, walk away door locking, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and rain-sensing wipers.

The cabin plays into its compact nature and measures a hunched 36.5 inches up front and only 34.5 inches in row two. Legroom is comfortable at 42.3 inches in row one and 35.9 inches in the rear seats and shoulder room is 56.9 and 52.6.

The 2018 Civic Coupe brings back its two engine choices and both have been designed to provide highly refined, responsive and fuel-efficient performance. A 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve, port-injected, inline 4-cylinder engine with i-VTEC™ valvetrain producing a peak 158 hp and 138 lb-ft. of torque is standard on the LX and LX-P trims and earns ratings of 30mpg/city, 41mpg/highway and 34 mpg/combined.

Civic Coupes in EX-T, EX-L and Touring trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter DOHC, direct-injected 4-cylinder engine with variable cam timing and electronic wastegate, turning out 174 hp and peak torque of 162 lb-ft. The system gets a 31/41/35 mpg rating. My week of drives averaged 34.1 mpg with the 1.5-liter.

The ride is reliable, stable, road-hugging and compliant, with solid passing at speed and responsive steering. A zero-to-60mph sprint was completed in a hand-timed 7-seconds-flat, and a quarter-mile run was hand-timed in 15.4

With a solid rep as a safe car, the Honda Civic coupe consistently earns the top rating of “Good” in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) crash tests and a perfect 5 stars in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests.

The 2018 Honda Civic Sedan starts at $18,940, and the Coupe bases at $19,350. available in five trims with two engine choices and either manual or automatic transmission, the LX trim is the base model; the LX-P trim that adds push-button start, remote start, Smart entry and power moonroof, starts at $21,150; the EX-T, which adds the 174-hp turbo engine, dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto ™ and Honda LaneWatch™ starts at $21,800; the EX-L with leather-trimmed seating, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and auto-dimming rearview mirror starts at $23,725; and the Touring trim comes in at $26,425 with Honda Sensing™, Honda satellite-linked navigation system, LED headlights with auto on-off and 450-watt premium audio system.

My test Civic in Touring trim, with its 1.5-liter Turbo and automatic transmission, was bathed in Aegean Blue Metallic exterior paint and came with a Black/Gray interior. My test ride added Body Side Molding for $217, Door Edges Guards for $59, a Moonroof Visor for $138, splash guard set for $104, a cool rear wing spoiler for $442, all-season floor mats for $155, a cargo net for $49, interior console illumination for $250, interior illumination for $125, and a wireless phone charger for $305. With destination charges of $895, my 2016 Honda Civic Touring as-tested stickered at $29,164.

Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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