In Honda’s robust family of Civics, the sedan delivers dramatic exterior styling, interior creature comforts, great fuel economy, horsepower, and performance. And all that is before even getting to the technology and safety features. iDriveSoCal’s very own Professor, Clinton Quan, picked one up from our friends at Rock Honda in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, CA for this test drive and review.
Recording date – May 1, 2018 in Los Angeles, CA
Clinton Quan: This is definitely the most dramatic Civic that Honda has ever produced in terms of exterior styling. It still has a trunk, but it’s got that fastback styling. This car has so much space it’s almost as big as some midsize sedans. Really, really good gas mileage. It’s about 42 on the highway; 32 in the city, it’s turbocharged, so you’re getting a lot of horsepower for a compact car, but you’re also getting a car that’s so fuel efficient.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility, from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. I’m Tom Smith and joining us for another vehicle review is our good friend, The Professor, Mr Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton.
Clinton Quan: Hi, Tom. It’s great to be back for another automotive review.
Tom Smith: Always happy to have you my friend. Today, we are talking about our good friends out in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California, Rock Honda, and you drove the 2018 Honda Civic Sedan. How’d that go?
Clinton Quan: Well, I drove the top of line trim, which is the Touring. There are five trims in the Civic Sedan line up. The base trim is the LX, and that starts at about $19,000. Then you move up to the EX, that’s about $21,000. You’ve got the EX-T at about $22,000. Then you’ve got the EX-L at about $24,000, and then the top line Touring trim, which I drove, at about $27,000.
Tom Smith: And this is the 10th generation Honda Civic. 10th generation.
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: Hard to believe it. 10th generation. That’s deep, isn’t it?
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: I mean, I remember one of my buddy’s girlfriends had a Civic. I want to say they used to do a two door Civic SI when we were in college in the 90s-
Clinton Quan: I remember that.
Tom Smith: … and that little car was fun. That was a lot of fun, but I say little, and I know we’ve covered this before; they’ve gotten bigger, right? The Civic overall has gotten bigger, and also, not too long ago, I wanted to … I hit up our friend, the General Manager out there at Rock Honda, David Latif, to let me test drive the Type R, and that’s a little too hot of a car right now, still. It’s a phenomenal car, but I didn’t get to test drive it. Actually, most people don’t get to test drive them before they buy them.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. I saw one in the showroom, and it was completely roped off.
Tom Smith: Yeah. Yeah, they got stanchions around them. That’s nice, but boy those cars are cool looking. So, I drove the Civic SI instead, and that was I think my first solo vehicle review, and I asked you for some pointers on them, you being The Professor and all. But let’s talk a little bit big picture about the Civic. You have the Civic Sedan in all the trims that you just rattled off with the Touring that you drove being the top of the line. We’re gonna get to that in just a second. But so that’s the sedan, then they have the coupe, and then they also have the-
Clinton Quan: Hatchback.
Tom Smith: The hatchback.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. There’s also a hatchback. So, the Sedan, with its fastback profile, some people may think it’s a hatchback, but it’s not. There’s also a hatchback, and then there’s also the coupe, so-
Tom Smith: And then also the R Type or Type R.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. The Type R, which is the high performance model.
Tom Smith: So, they have … I mean, Honda really stretches out the Civic family in many variations.
Clinton Quan: There’s really a family of Civic models. Correct.
Tom Smith: Right? Okay.
Clinton Quan: Yes, and then within the coupe and the hatchback there’s five different trims for each one of those as well. They’re not the same as the sedan, but they do have five different trim levels for each of those body styles as well.
Tom Smith: But then getting back to the difference between the SI that I drove and the Touring that you drove, the SI only comes in stick. It’s, as you pointed out, it’s the enthusiast version until you get up to the bad boy, right?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, the Type R.
Tom Smith: But, okay, so we got that figured out. Now let’s talk about the Touring unless there’s anything else we should cover about the Civic family in general.
Clinton Quan: Well, as you mentioned earlier and something that we’ve talked about, the Civic now is so big. I was just looking at the stats for the 1989 Honda Accord. This Civic is actually longer than a Honda Accord from 1989, and it’s almost as long as the Honda Accord from 1990.
Tom Smith: Isn’t that something?
Clinton Quan: I would say it’s about two to three inches longer than the Honda Accord from 1989. That’s how big the Civic has become, and that’s why they’ve also introduced the subcompact Fit as well as other automakers which have done the same thing as well because the compact car has gotten so big.
Tom Smith: It’s gotten bigger, but significantly more horsepower out of a smaller, more efficient engine, significantly safer.
Clinton Quan: Yes. It’s loaded with safety features as well. There were a number of times I was driving and there’d be an indicator in the dashboard saying, “Brake, brake, brake.”
Tom Smith: ‘Cause Clinton was driving so mellow, right?
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: Uh-huh. Professor. Okay-
Clinton Quan: Oh, the other thing I wanted to mention, within those five trims that I listed, there’s two different engines, so the base engine which comes in both the LX and the EX is a 2.0 liter inline-four that develops 158 horsepower, 138 pound feet of torque. In the EX-T, the EX-L, and the top line Touring, it’s a 1.5 liter inline-four turbocharged engine that produces 172 horsepower, 164 pound feet of torque, so it’s a smaller engine in terms of displacement, but it’s turbocharged, so you’re getting a little bit more horsepower and a little big more torque.
Tom Smith: Okay. Got it. So, let’s talk about the drive. You went to Big Bear you said?
Clinton Quan: Yes. I took a drive up to Big Bear. I took one route up to Big Bear, took the backside back down to Redlands, so I got a good amount of time behind the wheel on a number of twisty mountain roads, and this car has gotten plenty of power, and it’s very well-composed for a compact car, and yeah, it was a fun car to drive.
Tom Smith: Up one side of the mountain, down the other side of the mountain, great handling, great power. That’s the performance of the drive. Now you drove the Touring. That doesn’t come in stick shift, right? It’s just automatic.
Clinton Quan: No, it’s only automatic.
Tom Smith: Okay. So, take me around the outside.
Clinton Quan: Well, this is definitely the most dramatic Civic that Honda has ever produced in terms of exterior styling. Instead of the traditional sedan look that you would see with a trunk, this … It still has a trunk, but it’s got that fastback styling, which you see in a lot of cars now, and this is the first sedan that Honda has incorporated that styling into its vehicles, and now you see it in the Accord as well, and it’s very popular now with European cars.
Tom Smith: Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say.
Clinton Quan: And the Asian, whether it’s Japanese or Korean cars, as we talked about the Stinger last time. It has that fastback look-
Tom Smith: So, it’s that same kind of trunk, kind of hatchback thing.
Clinton Quan: Yeah.
Tom Smith: Plenty of storage back there, but it’s not … It’s like a hybrid trunk/hatchback from a mechanical perspective.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, but this one in terms of design it has that fastback look, but it has a traditional trunk, so it doesn’t have the same opening as a fastback or sportback.
Tom Smith: Oh, okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay.
Clinton Quan: So, yeah, very dramatic styling, and as we mentioned earlier, it’s much larger than any other Civic that’s ever been produced before, so-
Tom Smith: Four adults no sweat.
Clinton Quan: Oh yeah, it’s got plenty of space. Plenty of interior space. Actually 95 cubic feet of interior passenger space. I was very surprised with the amount of leg room for the rear seat passengers as well, so in terms of interior space, this car has so much space it’s almost as big as some midsize sedans.
Tom Smith: And I just took us inside the car. Were we done outside?
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: You were saying dramatic and the back. I, personally, I think the Civic is just a really good looking car these days whether it’s the SI, the Type R, or the Touring, and the line of [crosstalk 00:08:44]. The sedan line.
Clinton Quan: Yes, the sedan.
Tom Smith: As we said earlier, there’s so many families. There’s like-
Clinton Quan: Yeah, sedan, hatchback, coupe. Yes.
Tom Smith: So, okay. So, you’re done with the outside. Inside we’re starting to talk about. Sorry I cut you off. Take me back there.
Clinton Quan: It’s got plenty of space both for the driver, the front passenger, and the rear passengers. Lots of leg room. Yeah, I’m quite surprised how much space is in this car for a compact car.
Tom Smith: All right, what about tech and creature comforts?
Clinton Quan: Plenty of creature comforts and technological advances with this vehicle. You’ve got the forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist, all of the safety features that you would find in the other Honda vehicles as well.
Tom Smith: Excellent. What else about the 2018 Honda Civic Sedan Touring edition that you drove from our good friends at Rock Honda?
Clinton Quan: Well, I would just say the top of line is very well-equipped. It’s got all of those safety features as I mentioned. Comes as standard equipment, so that’s what you get with the Honda vehicles when you get that top of the line model. You’re getting a lot of that as standard equipment, and then you also have the backup camera, and when you’re changing lanes, it’ll automatically switch to the camera mode as well.
Tom Smith: Oh, you get a side camera, as well?
Clinton Quan: Yeah.
Tom Smith: Nice.
Clinton Quan: When you’re changing lanes, you’re moving to the right, the camera will automatically come on.
Tom Smith: Nice. Lot of car for the money.
Clinton Quan: So, I think that’s something that I don’t really … I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in another vehicle before, so that’s something that’s really unique to Honda.
Tom Smith: I think we’ve covered everything. Top three.
Clinton Quan: Oh, the other thing I want to mention is-
Tom Smith: Oh, he didn’t cover everything.
Clinton Quan: … gas mileage. It gets a combined about 36 miles to the gallon, so that’s really, really good gas mileage. It’s about 42 on the highway; 32 in the city, so with these smaller engines, 1.5 liter engine as I mentioned earlier, but it’s turbocharged, so you’re getting a lot of horsepower for a compact car, but you’re also getting a car that’s so fuel efficient.
Tom Smith: Love it. All right. Top three.
Clinton Quan: Top three. Well, I would definitely have to go with the interior space of the vehicle. As I mentioned earlier, 95 cubic feet of space, so I didn’t feel like I was cramped in there at all even though it’s considered a compact car. There’s plenty of space, and you can easily fit four adults in there very comfortably. Second thing: the outward visibility. As Honda’s are known for, they have that low cowl, so you get great visibility, especially-
Tom Smith: Low …
Clinton Quan: Cowl.
Tom Smith: Cowl.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, that’s the space between the hood and the windshield. That’s [crosstalk 00:12:26].
Tom Smith: There’s space between the hood and the windshield. Okay.
Clinton Quan: Well, I should say it’s the intersection between the windshield and the hood, so if that’s low, then you get better outward visibility.
Tom Smith: And for those of us that don’t know, explain the word cowl. How do you spell that first of all.
Clinton Quan: C-O-W-L.
Tom Smith: C-O-W-L.
Clinton Quan: Yeah.
Tom Smith: And it has a low cowl, which allows for great outward visibility, which was your number two favorite thing.
Clinton Quan: Yes. [crosstalk 00:12:56]. Hondas have been known for that. Yeah. I remember that in the Civics from the, what, from the late ’80s?
Tom Smith: I was just about to go back to the ’87 Prelude SI that I had in college.
Clinton Quan: Preludes and the Accords. And the Accords. So, pretty much all those Hondas.
Tom Smith: I loved that car. [crosstalk 00:13:12]. Okay, so thank you for defining the cowl for those of us that needed the education. Always appreciated. And your third thing.
Clinton Quan: Third thing, I would have to go with all the standard features on the Touring, whether it’s the creature comforts that you’re getting such as the heated seats for front and rear passengers and the safety features. Yeah, so that would be my third and final one.
Tom Smith: Gotta hand it to Honda.
Clinton Quan: Those are my top three.
Tom Smith: Gotta hand it to Honda the way that they line up their cars and all of the features that come in each trim level. I dig that. That’s a cool thing. The Professor, Clinton Quan. Thank you so much. Always appreciate your expert analysis, and our friends out at Rock Honda: David Latif, General Manager, and Hamid Javid, our General Sales Manager, Veronica Orozco, one of our other Sales Managers. Thank you to all of you guys out there, and we look forward to seeing you again sometime soon. Ruben Serna, the Service Director. Good friend of the program as well. Rock Honda, fabulous partner of iDriveSoCal. For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. As always, thank you so much for listening.