2011 Honda Civic Review and Prices
The 2011 Honda Civic is the best car for you if you want to experience how great automotive design endures.
The 2011 Honda Civic returns unchanged from 2010 as Honda prepares to launch an all-new 2012 Honda Civic. This tabs the 2011 Civic as a lame duck paddling the compact-car waters with a design that dates to model-year 2006. Every key competitor is newer yet none surpasses Civic for engineering precision, refinement, and owner satisfaction. The 2011 Civic repeats sedan and coupe body styles and is again available as a gas-electric hybrid sedan. Slightly larger than the coupe, the Civic sedan is roomier and rides softer. Sedan or coupe, the middle-of-the-lineup LX trim level again furnishes the best blend of features and value, though driving enthusiasts will find the sporty Si models deliver plenty for the dollar.
Should you buy a 2011 Honda Civic or wait for the 2012 Honda Civic? Buy a 2011 Civic with confidence you’ll be driving a car that’s still a leader in its class, and one that should be available with ripening discounts as dealers clear inventories before the all-new 2012 Civic drops. Those discounts will help offset the resale hit you’ll take buying the final edition of an outgoing design. Wait for the 2012 Civic if you hanker for the latest in styling, performance, and features. The 2012 will cost more, but it’ll look fresh well into the future.
2011 Honda Civic Changes back to top
Styling: The 2011 Honda Civic styling carries over unchanged from model-year 2010. This eighth-generation Civic continues with an artsy sense of design inside and out. No rival has quite matched it for forward-looking good taste, and Honda kept the look contemporary with revisions to the nose and tail model-year 2009.
The Civic four-door is notably roomy, with particularly generous rear-seat room for a compact car. Credit its 106.3-inch wheelbase, among the longest of any sedan in this class. Wheelbase is the distance between front and rear axles and key to how much space a car can devote to the passenger compartment. To promote more agile handling and sportier looks, the Civic coupe’s wheelbase is about two inches shorter than the sedan’s. It roofline is lower, too. The differences are most evident in tighter back-seat space, though of course rear-passenger ingress and egress suffers on the two-door model, as well.
Both body styles have severely raked-back windshields -- good for aerodynamics, a little disconcerting from the driver’s seat because you look out over a long, long dash top. The two body styles share an instrument-panel design that’s as avant-garde as the exterior styling. It’s no serious impediment to functionality -- at least after you’ve oriented to its double-tier layout. The feel of the various buttons and switches, even the finish on many of the cabin surfaces, benefits from the same exacting execution Honda lavishes on cars from its upscale Acura brand.
The 2011 Civic lineup mirrors the 2010 roster, starting with the DX range of sedans and moving up through LX, EX, EX-L, and Si versions of both the sedan and coupe.
Mechanical: The 2011 Civic powertrain lineup segues into 2011 intact except for a reduction in the model variations available with manual transmission. The 2011 Civic formula of four-cylinder engines and front-wheel drive is compact-car typical. The modestly sized engines balance power and fuel economy. And front-wheel drive carries the slippery-road traction advantage of placing the weight of the engine over the tires that propel the car. Some rivals offer more horsepower, some the added grip of all-wheel drive. Several have six-speed manual and automatic transmissions versus Civic’s less-efficient five-speed units. But this Honda’s powertrain is tough to beat for overall smoothness, and few are better matched to the task at hand.
The sole engine in the value DX, volume LX, and upscale EX lines is again a 1.8-liter rated at 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. These Civic models come with manual or automatic transmission and have good all-around acceleration. In a change from model-year 2010, the 2011 Civic EX-L sedans now come only with automatic transmission; same goes for the EX sedan and EX-L Coupe models equipped with a navigation system and satellite radio.
The sporty 2011 Civic Si coupe and sedan have a 2.0-liter that returns with 197 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0 links exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission, which helps drivers keep the engine in the higher rpm ranges, where it overcomes its paucity of torque to deliver snappy go accompanied by race-car sounds rarely heard at these prices.
The 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid returns as a sedan only and combines a 1.3-liter gas engine with an electric motor for a total of 110 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor can propel the Civic Hybrid for very short distances on battery power alone but mostly acts as an assist to the engine. This saves fuel and reduces emissions by allowing use of a smaller gas engine and by enabling the engine to shut off at stops and restart automatically as the driver presses the accelerator. The Civic Hybrid employs a continuously variable transmission, or CVT. A CVT acts like an automatic transmission but dispenses with set gear ratios in favor of a rheostat-like delivery of power. Honda also offers a near-zero-emissions model to retail customers in California, Utah, and New York. This Civic GX sedan has a 113-horspower 1.8-liter powered exclusively by natural gas.
All 2011 Civics have an all-independent suspension that balances ride and handling at a level difficult to beat in this price range, though the DX models, with their modestly sized 15-inch tires and the Hybrid, with its special low-rolling resistance 15s, are prone to some noseplow in fast turns. The LX and EX Civic families use 16-inch tires (on alloy wheels on EX models and the LX-S sedan) and furnish fine all-around grip. Civic Si models have 17-inch tires on alloy wheels, which itself is not notable in a class where rivals have adopted 18s and even 19s. But Honda matches them well with the taut but brilliantly tuned Si suspension and steering to provide road manners that can reward the most demanding drivers.
Features: As with all Hondas, the 2011 Civic doesn’t offer stand-alone options, instead grouping features to create individual trim levels. For example, to get such core items as air conditioning and a stereo, Civic buyers have had to ascend from the base DX sedan to the costlier DX-VP model. In that same vein, buyers who wanted a Civic with leather upholstery had to move up to the top-line EX-L model – and pay also for the heated front seats mandatory with that trim level. Still, it’s a system that works well for Honda by simplifying ordering and assembly. And it evidently hasn’t damaged Civic sales; this is constantly the best-selling compact car in the U.S.
The various 2011 Civic models continue with the familiar range of features. Every model comes with antilock brakes, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, and power windows. Antiskid control to stabilize the car in turns is standard on EX-L, Hybrid, and Si models.
Alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted auxiliary audio controls, rear disc brakes, and remote keyless entry are among available features, depending on model. So is a voice-activated navigation system that includes satellite radio, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, and a USB audio interface for iPods and other MP3 devices. The navigation system has been exclusive to the EX, EX-L, Si, and Hybrid models, where it added about $2,000 to their base price.
2011 Honda Civic Prices back to top
Prices for the 2011 Honda Civic increase a modest $150, though the destination fee rises to $750, from $710. Base price range for the 2011 Civic is $16,555-$27,900. As mentioned above, Honda’s no-options policy locks each Civic model to a single price, though dealers of course are free to charge what the market – and your negotiating skills – allow them. Note that the prices we list are for Civics with manual transmission; models available with automatic transmission cost $800 more than their manual-transmission counterparts. Also note that all prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee.
The 2011 Civic lineup starts with DX models priced at $16,555 for the sedan and $16,355 for the coupe. Moving up, the 2011 Civic DX-VP sedan has a price of $17,305.
The Civic LX model is priced at $18,505 for the sedan and $18,705 for the coupe, with the LX-S sedan priced at $19,105. To the DX and DX-VP range, the LX Civics add such items as cruise control, power mirrors, and remote keyless entry.
The better-equipped 2011 Civic EX modes are priced the same for both the sedan and coupe. They start at $20,355 and run to $23,155 when equipped with the navigation system and XM satellite radio. EX-L models come with leather upholstery and are priced at $22,705, running to $24,705 with nav and satellite radio. Previously, EX Civics of every equipment level were available with the five-speed manual transmission, but now only the basic EX sedan and coupe are.
The 2011 Civic Si models are priced at $23,155 for the sedan and $22,955 for the coupe and again include a sport suspension, traction control, low-profile tires, and specially bolstered front bucket seats. Add $200 to substitute performance tires with summer-only tread. With navigation and satellite radio, the 2011 Civic Si sedan is priced at $25,155 and the coupe at $24,955.
The 2011 Civic Hybrid is again be equipped much like the EX sedan but without the sunroof or split fold-down rear seats. The Civic Hybrid is priced at $24,700 and climbs to $27,900 for versions fitted with leather upholstery, navigation, and satellite radio.
2011 Honda Civic Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the gas-engine-only 2011 Honda Civic are unchanged, keeping these car among the most fuel efficient in the compact class. The 2011 Civic Hybrid loses 2 mpg from its EPA highway rating.
The 2011 Civic DX, LX, EX, and EX-L models rate 25/36 mpg city/highway with automatic transmission and 26/34 mpg for those available with manual transmission. The 2011 Honda Civic Si models rate 21/29 and again are the only Civics for which Honda requires premium-octane gas.
Fuel economy ratings for the 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid is rated at 40/43 mpg, down from 40/45 for model-year 2010.
2011 Honda Civic Release Date back to top
The 2011 Honda Civic went on sale in September 2010. Honda assembly plants in North America turn out about 90 percent of Civics sold in the U.S.
What's next for the 2011 Honda Civic back to top
The pressure is on for compact-car makers to deliver high style, roomy cabins, and advanced features. Lively performance and great fuel economy are on the agenda, too. The Honda Civic has been a pacesetter in all these areas, so part of Honda’s job with the all-new 2012 Civic is to raise a bar it’s already set pretty high.
For style, Honda can cast an eye toward the Civic variants it sells overseas, which boast shapes even more futuristic than those of American-market models. Most likely is a redesign that splits the difference between the relatively conservative look of U.S. Civics and their foreign-market cousins. Such a look is previewed by the Honda FCX Clarity and suggests evolutionary change in which the sleek roofline and general proportions are preserved on a slightly curvier body. (The FCX Clarity launched in July 2008 as a test bed for hydrogen-powered electric vehicles and is leased to about 200 U.S. drivers, many of them Hollywood celebrities identified with the environmental movement.)
Overseas Civics are available in hatchback form but expect the American-market 2012 Civic to return in traditional sedan and coupe body styles. A good bet, though, is that they’ll eventually spawn a compact crossover wagon based on their chassis and powertrains. Honda has already done something similar with the 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour midsize wagon. A “Civic Crosstour” would be smaller than the Honda CR-V compact crossover SUV, but it would have a taller roof than a conventional small station wagon, perhaps a bit more ground clearance, and almost certainly be available with all-wheel drive as a supplement to front-wheel drive.
As for powertrains, the 2012 Honda Civic will continue with front-wheel dive and four-cylinder engines. Expect mainstream and higher-performance versions, both with more horsepower than today’s Civics but with similar fuel-economy numbers. Don’t look for Honda to bring over the diesel powertrains it sells successfully in other markets. The high cost of diesel fuel and diesel engines, not to mention the marketing challenge of introducing a compact diesel car in the U.S., are among the impediments.
Honda also can be expected to offer a redesigned Honda Civic Hybrid model, probably using the automaker’s next-generation gas/electric technology already seen in the 2010 Honda Insight four-door hatchback and the sporty two-door 2011 Honda CR-Z. Insight and CR-Z are uniquely styled dedicated hybrids without counterparts in Honda’s lineup, though Insight looks something like the Toyota Prius, the world’s best-selling hybrid while CR-Z recalls the Civic-based CR-X fastback of the 1980s. Insight has been a sales disappointment, however, and the way in which Honda reconciles its hybrid strategy is one of the challenges it’ll address during the next Civic design cycle.
2011 Honda Civic Competition back to top
2012 Ford Focus: The most important compact car launch in years and a strong threat to Civic’s leadership in the class. The all-new Focus goes on sale early in 2011, leaving behind its dullard image for an aggressively styled global design that emphasizes European-quality driving manners, fuel economy, and cutting-edge infotainment technology. It’ll offer a four-door sedan and four-door hatchback and eventually could spin off a coupe and convertible, a small crossover SUV, even a tiny minivan. A four-cylinder of about 155 horsepower (projected 28/38 mpg) is the initial engine and should be followed by a turbo four of around 180 horsepower, plus an all-electric version. Intro base price range is an estimated $16,000-$22,000.
2011 Toyota Corolla: Civic’s historic rival for compact-car popularity but not for driving enjoyment. Much more conservatively styled, too, but obviously appealing to a broad target audience that values refinement, reliability, and residual values. Corolla comes only as a sedan with four-cylinder gas engines of 132 horsepower (27/35 mpg) or 158 horsepower (22/30). Base price range is roughly $16,500-$21,500. Corolla was redesigned for model-year 2009 and the next all-new version is due for model-year 2014.
2011 Mazda 3: Here’s a rival that does vie with Civic for young-minded buyers concerned with style and performance. Heavily revised for model-year 2010, the Mazda 3 offers four-door sedan and four-door hatchbacks, both with a controversial gaping-grin grille that taints their otherwise sleek looks. Very roomy and rewardingly agile, all have a four-cylinder engine in a choice of 148 or 167 horsepower or a turbocharged 263-horsepower edition in MazdaSpeed3. Base price range is around $16,000-$24,000. Fuel economy ratings span 21/29-25/33, with the MazdaSpeed3 at 18/25. The Mazda 3 is due a freshening for model-year 2013.