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Honda Civic Sedan US (2011-2015): Review, Specs, Problems

The ninth generation Honda Civic sedan was the last to ride in the wake of the previous iterations’ success. It was by no means a bad car, and after its mid-cycle update it actually became a top recommended buy in the class, even if it never set your heart on fire.

Its main perks were its efficiency, fun to drive nature, interior space and the conventional styling that certainly didn’t drive buyers away.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Compliant suspension
  • Precise steering
  • Inside space
  • Reliability
  • Build quality

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Bland styling
  • Base 1.8-liter engine lacks punch
  • No physical buttons for infotainment
  • Concave seats are not to everybody’s taste
  • Awkward shape headrests which you can’t adjust

Stay Away From
  • underpowered CNG-burning variant
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • 2012 MY recall to replace faulty driver’s side drive shaft
  • 2012 MY recall to replace incorrect steering column; 157 believed to be affected
  • 2014-2015 MY recall for certain CVT-equipped cars whose “drive pulley shaft is damaged, it may break... the front wheels may lock up while driving.” The issue is fixable via a software update.
  • 2012 MY recall for 2- and 4-door models for possible fuel system leak; 1,156 units possibly affected
  • 2015 MY manual cars may not disengage cruise control when clutch is pressed
  • 2014 MY stability control may intermittently stop working; Honda is aware but has no fix
  • Dashboard warning lights may come on randomly
  • Many owner reports of front right tire blowouts
  • Tire pressure light comes on for no reason

Car Details
Powertrain

The ninth-gen Civic could be had with several powertrain choices when new: a 1.8-liter with 143 hp (or 110 hp when it was set up to burn compressed natural gas instead of gasoline), a hybrid that uses a 1.5-liter in conjunction with electric power to make 110 hp or the range topping 2.4-liter Si with 205 hp.

Most variants come as standard with a manual gearbox, although most buyers prefer the optional continuously variable transmission instead. The former is very pleasant and precise to use, while the former has excels through its smoothness.


Handling

Opinions on how standard Civic sedans handle vary; some characterize them as having sporty handling, while others are more reserved regarding steering feel and fun.

It does have surefooted, safe handling that will never offer nasty surprises (no severe under- or oversteer), but unless you’re driving the purposely sporty Si, then you won’t really be won over by its fun factor.


Safety

When tested by the IIHS in 2014, the Civic achieved maximum scores in all crash tests and an “Acceptable” rating for child seat latches, while only being deemed “Basic” in the crash avoidance and mitigation section.

Comfort

The Civic sedan is renowned for having suspension that is neither firm nor soft, but as close as it can be to a happy medium. People driving it can report neither excessive body roll nor a jiggly ride, although it’s not as fun to drive as the Ford Focus and Mazda3 class benchmarks.


Quality

This Civic, like all Hondas, seems built to last and very sturdy. It lacks the soft-touch feel of many rivals inside, but as far as things being properly screwed together, it’s truly excellent - it definitely feels like a durable product.


Practicality

Visibility is one of the car’s strong points; few sedans in this segment offer such good over-the-shoulder visibility. It also has an above average trunk capacity (10.5 cu-ft) and decent leg- and headroom for rear occupants. It also has decent door cubbies and it’s generally very good when it comes to ergonomics.


Infotainment

The 2014 MY Civic sedan received an all-new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen running HondaLink. It offers smartphone integration, for both Apple and Android and aside from the lack of physical shortcut buttons (there isn’t even a knob for the volume...), it;s actually pretty good for a system now a few years old.

Efficiency

The manufacturer promises average fuel efficiency figures of 45 mpg for the hybrid, 33 mpg for the 1.8-liter with CVT (the manual loses 2 mpg) and 25 mpg for the row-your-own Si 2.4-liter. Now since there is no pesky turbo to ruin efficiency if you don’t drive the car like a nun, if you have a light right foot, you can get surprisingly close to what the automaker claims it can do.


Equipment

Your best bet when looking for a Civic sedan is to go for something in EX or EX-L trim as these come with everything you’d need. The touchscreen infotainment, automatic headlights, cruise control, cupholders front and back, and air-con, as well as active safety tech like lane departure warning and actual disk brakes at the back (LX models get drums).


Acquisition

Your best bet when looking for a Civic sedan is to go for something in EX or EX-L trim as these come with everything you’d need. The touchscreen infotainment, automatic headlights, cruise control, cupholders front and back, and air-con, as well as active safety tech like lane departure warning and actual disk brakes at the back (LX models get drums).


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