2019 Honda Civic 1.5T Touring Review

No longer just basic transportation


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Some of the best steering and handling in the segment, refresh nicely tones down the previously overstyled Civic, gobs of room for all occupants, smooth ride.
Negatives: Infotainment system lags and looks chintzy, some cheap plastics in the cabin, still looks a little juvenile from the back.
Bottom Line: The Honda Civic has been transformed in its 10th generation. No longer just a compact car that's reliable and easily modded, it's now right for grownups who want a fun, roomy, and well-appointed vehicle.
When the totally redesigned Civic bowed in 2016, the changes to the once conservatively designed coupe/sedan were radical. It also birthed a hatchback version, and all of them were angular, edgy, and head-turning. Some would say polarizing, but Honda hasn't looked back. The redesign infused freshness where the car needed it, and the result was a totally different Civic than what everyone had come to know. We drove the Civic Touring with its upgraded engine paired to a CVT. Read on for the full review and our detailed impressions.
 

Driving Experience

8.9

 

We were frankly very surprised by the Civic's driving manners and overall performance. It's a vehicle that's daily drivable, fun, and remarkably well composed. It also feels more refined than before.

Ride Quality: The ride is on the firm side, but the Civic still manages to get over most surfaces without issue. What was once an economy car is now a bona-fide sedan.

Acceleration: Our tester had the optiona 1.5-liter turbo engine that only comes with the CVT. The good thing is that they're well paired, and the CVT is one of the better ones out there. Throttle response is excellent, and the car feels spritely (weighing in at just under 3,000 lbs). 0-60 comes in the high six-second range, but it feels quicker.

Braking: The Civic Touring's brakes are decent. Though pedal feel is progressive, the stopping distances are a little bit above average.

Steering: Steering is light but crisp and responsive. We had no trouble executing precise turns and hitting apexes. It's a delight to helm.

Handling: The body roll is minimal, and the Civic corners skillfully. There's no noticeable understeer causing the nose to push, and the car feels well-balanced.

Technology

6.7

 

Honda's in-car tech is good but not great. Though the addition of a physical audio knob is welcomed over the old capacitive slider controls, the look and feel of the technology needs work. It's also finicky when it comes to smartphone pairing.

Infotainment System: The 7" color screen isn't what we'd call vivid. The chintzy background graphics are unnecessarily weird, too. It's a bit slow to respond, and we had trouble pairing our iPhone and playing music. Frustrating.

Controls: The physical infotainment buttons are better than the on-screen ones. We also liked the big HVAC knobs that make temp adjustment easy while driving. Steering wheel controls are decent, but we can't get over the audio volume that's a 1/4 circle toggle button that's separate from the circular button to its left for volume.

Styling

8.2

 

The styling of the Civic has grown on us, especially when its in sedan trim. The sedan isn't as angular as the hatchback, and it's a far cry from the crazy Type-R. Honda has also added more chrome trim in some area, which we're rarely fans of.

Front: The grille is now black, and it reduces the drama of the front fascia. On the downside, the foglight surrounds are now chrome instead of black, an intersting swap in the other direction.

Rear: The big angular C-shaped taillights dominate the rear end, and they're unique. We have mixed feelings about it, but at least they don't really copy any other car. The rear has gone unchanged since last year.

Profile: The steeply raked rear glass gives it a fastback look, while the new scissor-style spoked wheels on the Touring make the Civic Sedan look more expensive than last year's model at this trim level.

Cabin: Overall, we do like the cabin. The seats look great, as does the dash with its textured metal-like trim. The center console is also clean and unobtrusive.

Comfort

8.7

 

The Civic's interior room and comfort levels belie its price tag. It's grown into a bigger sedan with more refinement and space than its predecesors, and you notice it especially in the sedan. We can't even compare it to the 1990 Accord we owned way back when.

Front Seats: The leather bucket seats are comfortable with solid support and cushioning. We didn't notice them much because they provide what's needed without drama.

Rear Seats: The previous generation had 36.2 inches of legroom, while the new sedan gets 37.4 inches. It's comfortable for tall adults, which is impressive for this segment.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Civic now gets more sound deadning for the 2019 model year, and the result is a quiet cabin even at high speeds. There are no rattles or squeaks, either, and road noise is kept to a minimum.

Visibility: The tall rear decklid on the sedan limits rearward visibility, but LaneWatch works well (too bad Honda will discontinue it for less expensive and more conventional Blind Spot Monitoring).

Climate: The climate system worked well, and the large vents provided excellent air flow. The front (and rear) heated seats that came standard in top Touring trim should prove great for chilly winters.

Safety

9

 

The Civic Sedan is a truly safe automobile, and now each Civic trim level comes standard with Honda Sensing. It also performs admirably in crash testing, which should give buyers confidence.

IIHS Rating: The sedan missed the top scores due to "poor" headlights and "marginal" LATCH ease of use, but it nailed all the crash tests with "good" scores and "superior" in front crash avoidance tech.

NHTSA Rating: Five stars from the federal goverment, the highest score.

Standard Tech: Honda Sensing has a host of great features that include adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow), automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, automatic high-beams, and a lane departure warning system.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

9

 

The Civic is great in terms of space for gear and luggage. It's one of the better compact sedans in this area, and it doesn't really feel compact when you're tossing in your stuff.

Storage Space: There are decent sized door pockets, but it's the large center stack cubby, the big cupholders, and the large armrest that provide the most convenience for small gear items. They're all easy to access, as well.

Cargo Room: The Civic is great with 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, more than both the Mazda3 sedan and the Hyundai Elantra sedan. The base of the trunk opening, unfortunately, is narrow due to the big taillights. The load floor, however, is nice and flat.

Fuel Economy

8.5

 

Given our tendency to drive in a spirited fashion all the time, we were pleasantly surprised by our numbers. Though we didn't meet the EPA estimates, most normal drivers would have no problem getting to the 33 mpg combined. It's not as efficient as the Civic EX (probably due to added weight), but it's still very good at the pump.

Observed: 26.7 mpg

Distance Driven: 207 miles

Audio

7.7

 

The premium 10-speaker audio system that comes standard on the Touring is good but not top-tier. The sound was clear, but we could've used more bass. There was no distortion at higher volumes, and the system worked well. We also wish it was less fussy when pairing with phones and streaming music.



Final Thoughts

We came away from the Civic sedan thoroughly impressed with its space, comfort, and driving dynamics. We typically hate cars with CVTs, but this one operated about as smooth as most conventional automatics. The engine is smooth and capable, as is the handling. Our biggest issue was the infotainment system, but the rest of the car really is wonderful, and it's more mature than ever before. Maybe the rampant thefts and the Fast and Furious mods will stop with this generation. The Civic Sedan in Touring trim really is a vehicle to consider when shopping. It's that good.
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