THE 2014 HONDA CIVIC STYLING SHAKES OFF THE "BLAND" TAG
This week on The Drivetime Road Test we get to spend some time in an old favorite that still has it! The Honda Civic. This driver favorite has fought off the competition and shines as one of the best mid twenty thousand dollar range cars out there!
After a shaky redesign a couple of years ago, to their credit, Honda listened to their customers who didn’t like what was sitting on showroom floors and went back to the drawing board. The result… well let’s go through it.
Walking around the Civic you notice an opened up front end with open mouth grille, sculpted lines, haunched wheel wells, a raked long front, short deck look that comes off as attractive without being gaudy. Visibility is excellent all around, entering and exiting the Civic is relatively easy with ample door openings for a car this size. A few design tricks give the rear of the Civic a much wider look than it actually measures. The design also takes away some of the Honda blandness that can sometimes creep into the carmakers more recent designs. It is a very attractive vehicle. The trunk also gives you a wide opening with the lid up and plenty of room. The wheel package on this edition of the Civic actually gave the car a most attractive look and worked perfectly with the lines of the car.
The Honda interior is better than I expected. I had heard stories of stark expanses of grey plastic but when I got behind the wheel warm dark soft touch surfaces awaited me with four video screens that told me just about everything I need to know about the car…even how my foot was doing on the gas pedal by changing color alongside the speedometer. Seats were comfortable and supportive and rear legroom was better than average for the class with the seats in a middle position. Lots of high tech, most of it functional and easily deciphered. The navigation system was a bit hard to use logically but pairing a phone was easy as bing, bang, boom. I also love Honda’s blind spot camera...Honda Lane Watch…which shows you on a camera what is in your blind spot and gives you indication of when you can safely change lanes. It is something hopefully you will see on every car in the future!
Actually the only thing I didn’t like was the placement of the engine start and four way flasher buttons. The start button being located so far up behind the steering wheel while the hazard was right in the place where one would expect the start button. I turned the flashers on more than a few times while trying to start the car!
THE HONDA LANE WATCH SYSTEM IS GREAT FOR CHANGING LANES BUT ALSO HELPS LET YOU KNOW HOW FAR FROM THE CURB YOU ARE!
The Civic EX-L I drove was powered by a 143 horsepower VTEC 4 cylinder married up to a new Honda CVT to help save gas. I am not a big fan of the CVT transmission but I have to admit that the one in the Civic works better than just about any one I have driven. It moved the car along fairly quietly, had excellent acceleration from a standstill and when you needed to pass someone and the gas mileage numbers posted close to 30 combined with a somewhat heavy foot on the interstate. There is an ECO button that when pressed changes some calibrations and should give you better mileage.
The Si version gets a 205 hp engine with a six speed manual. There is also a Hybrid version available.
Steering was a bit light for this car but it is not a sports car it is a family mover that will be easily handled by mom, dad and the kids learning to drive. Ride quality was better than good but not quite excellent. It held the road through the curves nicely, sucked up the bumps of the city streets, and had good road feel in the country.
Sticker price on the 2014 Civic EX-L w Navigation I drove with destination charges…$25,030. Back up camera and bluetooth included. My actual combined mileage was 30 mpg EPA figures are 30 city/39 highway 33 combined. The Civic is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety “2014 Top Safety Pick +” which means it shines in all of the crash tests.
I wasn’t expecting as much as I got out of the 2014 Honda Civic EX. I figured on a competent piece of transportation. What I got was style, functionality, comfort, ease of use and dare I say just a tad of excitement in a car that has an excellent reputation for reliability and resale value. Twenty-five grand worth of car that keeps its promises. That’s a good value in my book!