2015 Honda Civic EX-L Navi: Most versatile new car?

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The Honda Civic has been near or at the top of compact sedan segment for so long, maybe one day an upgraded trim or a new generation of the now 46-year-old vehicle will debut that just doesn’t hold up. But it’s not the 2015 edition.

New competitors — Mazda3, Ford Focus and Kia Forte — offer increasing competition. But Honda keeps tweaking the Civic lineup, including this year’s addition of the mid-range SE trim.

Now in the fourth year of its ninth generation, the Civic remains among the most successful automobiles in history. It’s is available as a coupe and sedan. And it’s offered in nearly a dozen trims and in three fuel choices — gas, hybrid and natural gas. The trims: LX, EX, SE, EX-L and EX-L Navi (navigation) trims.

 

The 2015 Honda Civic in available in nearly a dozen trims.
The 2015 Honda Civic in available in nearly a dozen trims. Images © James Raia/2015.

There’s something for everyone in the compact market. As such: the Civic may be the versatile vehicle in the automotive industry.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

In its base LX model, the Civic is equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a one-piece fold-down rear seatback and cruise control. Electronic features include a five-inch display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, SMS text messaging functionality and a four-speaker (six for the coupe) sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and Pandora radio functionality.

The mid-range Civics add nearly and dozen additions and my top-line sedan EX-L Navi added 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat and a navigation system as well as HD and satellite radio.

Since its debut in 1972, when it was little more than a box with an engine and four wheels, the Civic has always a reputation for providing steady, dependable transportation. It’s not the fanciest nor fastest automobile, but it does everything well and keeps doing so — for as long as it’s asked.

The front-wheel-drive Civic is powered by a 1.8-liter, 16-valve four-cylinder engine with 143 horsepower. My weekly driver had an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). A five-speed manual transmission is an option.

The CVT power is seamless and it further adds to one of the Civic’s best attributes. With the leather-trimmed seats providing not only more comfort but a noise buffer, the Civic has a composed, comfortable ride with little road noise at any city or highway speed I drove.

The navigation system works efficiently and it features the right-lane watch camera that provides a visual of what’s in the right lane. It’s a unique feature and a worthwhile safety component.

Likes:

Comfortable, confident ride
Numerous trim levels and engine types available.
Spacious interior.

Dislikes:

Not the quickest sedan in the segment
Below average cargo space.
Strong competition at the same or lower price points.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Honda Civic EX-L (w/navigation)

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 9.0 seconds.
Airbags: 6.
Fuel economy: 30 mpg (city), 39 mpg (highway), 33 mpg (combined) continuously variable transmission.
Horsepower: 143.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $24,300.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.honda.com.
Price As Tested: $25,130.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, 5 years/60,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles.

What Others Say:

“For 2015, the Honda Civic remains the act to beat, thanks to its strong reliability, safety, comfort and resale value.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“The 2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan with Nav offers some of the best performance, fuel economy, and technology you’ll find for the price.” — PC Magazine.

“The 2015 Honda Civic meets and exceeds small-car buyer preferences for reliability, safety, fuel efficiency, quality, and value without so much as breathing hard. It’s everything you’d expect in a compact economy sedan, and so much more.” — CarGuru.com.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Looking for a lot of car at a fair price and don’t want buy another vehicle for 10 years? Buy a Honda Civic — gas, hybrid, natural gas. They’re all good.”

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