2014 Honda Civic Review and Prices
The 2014 Honda Civic is the best car for you if you want a compact that’s more desirable than ever thanks to an emergency makeover.
The 2014 Honda Civic should be little-changed after Honda updated the 2013 Civic sedan with improved styling and more features. That reboot came just one year after the all-new 2012 Civic debuted to tepid critical reviews but nonetheless sold well. Honda felt it couldn’t delay until the traditional midcycle freshening until 2015. So the 2014 Civic sedan benefits from that rapid response. The 2014 Civic Coupe, which sells in far lower volume than the sedan, may begin to absorb some of the makeover’s updates.
Should you wait for the 2014 Honda Civic or buy a 2013 Honda Civic? Buy a 2013 Civic. The 2014 won’t change beyond perhaps a new color choice or two or maybe some juggled features. No move would be worth waiting for. And fuel economy is unlikely to get much better unless Honda goes radical and introduces a new automatic transmission. Finally, the almost-inevitable model-year price escalation is another incentive to begin enjoying this ninth-generation Civic with a 2013 edition.
2014 Honda Civic Changes back to top
Styling: No styling changes are in the cards for the 2014 Honda Civic. The four-door sedan will continue with tweaks that successfully updated the 2013 model. A reshaped nose and tail and added chrome delivered a more premium look. New sound insulation improved refinement. And structural stiffening boosted occupant protection.
The Civic coupe already looks racier than the sedan and evidently didn’t require an early facelift. But Honda may share some of the sedan’s makeover tricks with the 2014 Civic Coupe for visual continuity. More vital would be a cross-migration of the upgraded cabin materials that turned the 2013 Civic sedan’s passenger compartment from plastic-coated also-ran in this class to a padded-surfaced front-runner.
Either way, the 2014 Civic sedan will remain among the roomiest and most comfortable compacts. The 2014 Civic Coupe will continue to appeal to sporty types willing to sacrifice cabin space for sleeker styling. The two body styles will again share an instrument panel whose two-tier layout isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Expect the 2014 Civic lineup to mirror the model-year 2013 roster, with sedans and coupes in volume-selling LX trim, better-equipped EX and leather-upholstered EX-L form, and sporty Si guise. In addition, sedans will return the high-fuel-economy Civic HF model, the Civic Hybrid, and the natural-gas-fueled Civic Natural Gas model.
Mechanical: The 2014 Honda Civic almost certainly will carry over mechanically unchanged -- unless Honda surprises and brings its compact abreast of the competition by dumping the five-speed automatic transmission in favor of one with a contemporary six speeds.
All 2014 Civics will again have front-wheel drive and four-cylinder engines. LX, HF, EX, and EX-L Civics will repeat with a 1.8-liter that should remain at 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (think of torque as the force that gets a car moving, horsepower as the energy that keeps it cruising. Most rivals have more power. But Civic’s relatively light weight and sound overall engineering should keep its performance perfectly respectable.
Expect the 2014 Honda Civic Si sedan and coupe to continue as the line’s sporty choices. Their 2.4-liter should again rate 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Performance versions of most rivals have more power, but Si Civics parlay their balanced approach into an engaging driving experience.
The 2014 Civic Hybrid sedan will combine a gas engine and an electric motor for an anticipated 110 net horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. The Civic Hybrid uses its electric motor primarily to take some burden off the gas engine during acceleration. It’s not a plug-in hybrid and can’t accelerate on electric power alone.
The Honda Civic Natural Gas model is a sedan that runs on natural gas. It’s aimed principally at government- and commercial-fleet users
Barring an update, the 2014 Civic’s transmission choices will appear dated. Most compact-car buyers get an automatic transmission. Most Civic rivals furnish one with six speeds. Hidebound Honda saddles Civics with a five-speed automatic. It reasons that the additional cost of furnishing a six-speed would not justify the incremental increase in fuel economy. In Honda’s defense, automatic-transmission Civics perform satisfactorily and get impressive gas mileage.
Expect automatic transmission to again be available on 2014 Civic LX models and standard on other gas-only Civics except Si versions. The LX would again come standard with a five-speed manual (most rival manuals are six-speeds). And 2014 Civic Si versions will likely repeat with a six-speed manual as their only transmission.
The 2014 Civic Hybrid will return with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which acts like an automatic but employs a rheostat-like delivery of power rather than set gear ratios
Don’t anticipate a retreat on the ride and handling front. Bolstered by model-year 2013 steering and suspension upgrades, the 2014 Civic’s road manners should remain among the best in the compact class with outstanding isolation from bumps and confident control through turns.
Features: Honda does not offer options in the traditional sense. It creates trim levels by specifying a suite of features. Want additional equipment? Move to the next expensive trim level.
Thankfully, the model-year 2013 revamp restructured Civic’s equipment roster. Honda dropped the slow-selling stripper DX model and equipped the new entry-level trim, the LX, with features appropriate to Civic’s newfound premium airs.
Thus, you can anticipate that every 2014 Civic will again come with a rearview camera, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and SMS text readout. That’s in addition to power windows, tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, front center console, and cruise control.
Also returning as standard will be Honda’s intelligent Multi-Information Display, or i-MID, a 5-inch dashboard screen for various audio, trip, and fuel-economy readouts. It also furnishes performance data on Si models and electric-power and fuel-economy details on Hybrids.
Moving up to the 2014 Civic EX model should again net features such as a power moonroof, while the EX-L will again count among its upgrades leather upholstery and heated front seats and mirrors.
Si versions will repeat with bolstered front buckets and a sport-tuned suspension and exhaust system. Expect “Navi” versions of the 2014 Civic EX, EX-L, Si, and Hybird to again feature a voice-activated navigation system with a 6.5-inch screen in place of the 5-inch iMID display.
Honda introduced Civic’s first forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems as standard features exclusive to the 2013 Civic Hybrid. That useful safety technology alerts to possible dangers ahead and to unintended lane drift. Honda would do well to make them available on additional Civic grades for model-year 2014.
2014 Honda Civic Prices back to top
Prices for the 2014 Honda Civic were not announced in time for this review but probably won’t increase significantly over 2013 Civic prices.
That suggests an estimated 2014 Civic price range of $19,200-$28,100. (All estimated base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2013 Civic was $790.)
Discontinuation of the DX rid the 2013 Civic of its only sub-$17,000 trim level and left the least-expensive Civic priced as much as $2,000 above entry-level Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, and Dodge Dart models.
In practice, optioning most competitors to equivalent equipment levels cuts Civic’s apparent price premium. And few rivals can match the value-added advantage of Honda’s high ratings for quality and resale.
Overall, expect the 2014 Civic LX to be priced at $19,200 with manual transmission and around $20,200 with automatic. Figure 2013 Civic HF versions to be priced around $20,700, EXs around $21,800, EX-Ls around $23,300 and Si models around $23,700.
Look for the 2013 Civic Hybrid to be priced around $25,300. And expect to add around $1,500 to equip an eligible 2014 Civic with the navigation system.
2014 Honda Civic Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2014 Honda Civic were not released in time for this review. Barring changes in transmission choices, expect 2014 Civic mileage ratings to repeat the 2013 numbers.
That would have the 2014 Civic and LX sedans and coupes at 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined with manual transmission. With the automatic transmission, those models, along with the EX and EX-L sedans and coupes, would repeat at 28/39/32 mpg city/highway/combined.
The 2014 Honda Civic HF sedan would remain rated 29/41/33 mpg.
Expect all 2014 Honda Civic Si models to again rate 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined. They should continue as the only Civics for which Honda requires 91-octane instead of 87-octane gas.
The 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid should remain among the most fuel-efficient cars available in the U.S., with EPA ratings of 44/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined.
All 2014 Civics except Si models will again come with two mileage-enhancing features: Honda’s Eco Assist readout signals fuel-efficient driving; and the driver-selected ECON mode remaps throttle, transmission, and air conditioning functions.
2014 Honda Civic Release Date back to top
Expect 2014 Honda Civics to go on sale by late summer 2013.
What's next for the 2014 Honda Civic back to top
Honda still could grace this ninth-generation Civic with a second freshening before the conclusion of its design cycle. The most significant change would be a six-speed automatic transmission. But a persuasive school of thought holds that Honda will stay with the five-speed automatic until the model-year 2017 redesign.
Another question involves body types. Honda doesn’t seem eager to expand Civic’s lineup beyond coupes and sedans. It appears quite willing to rely on the subcompact Fit four-door hatchback and on Civic-platform offshoots like the CR-V compact crossover SUV to appeal to buyers seeking packaging versatility in a small Honda.
Today’s Civic cargo volume is about par for sedans and coupes in the class, at 12.5 cubic feet of trunk space for the sedan and 11.7 for the coupe. Still, Civic rivals such as the Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3 offer hatchback body styles that provide far more carrying capacity and versatility.
2014 Honda Civic Competition back to top
Toyota Corolla: Due for a model-year 2014 redesign, look for this perennially popular compact to shed its geriatric styling for a drastically sleeker form. It should grow enough to provide Civic-grade rear-seat room. And optimists hope Toyota will enliven road manners. Pessimists bet Corolla will continue to suffer indifferent handling. Look for an upgrade from the embarrassingly anachronistic four-speed automatic transmission but not much change to the choice of one merely serviceable but highly reliable four-cylinder engine.
Ford Focus: Based on Ford’s European engineering, these four-door sedans and four-door hatchbacks lead the class for ride and handling and arguably for interior-materials quality. Tight rear-seat room may be a deal-breaker if you have a family. The dashboard design is busy. And the available MyFord Touch telematics system is problematic. So is the type of transmission Ford uses in place of a conventional automatic. But engine choices are attractive and include a turbocharged screamer in the ST model and a pure-electric powertrain in the Focus EV (rated at 76 miles on a single plug-in charge). Focus gets pricey with options, but has genuine enthusiast appeal. Revised styling is due for model-year 2015.
Chevrolet Cruze: A freshening in store for model-year 2014 could enliven the conservative looks and upgrade cabin materials. But Cruze will remain a sedan only and challenged for rear-seat room. Ride and handling probably will stay very competent rather than very sporty. But Chevy needs to tweak engines for a bit more power. Cruze’s design cousin, the Buick Verano, is fluffed enough to sneak into the premium-compact class, where it’s a credible alternative to underachievers like the Acura ILX.