2015 Honda Civic Review and Prices
The 2015 Honda Civic is the best car for you if you’d like to discover why this compact deserves to be America’s best-selling small car.
The 2015 Honda Civic could be in line for an underhood upgrade, but we think the switch to more powerful yet more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions is more likely for model-year 2016. That’s when the next fully redesigned Civic sedan and coupe is due. Meanwhile, the 2015 Civic sedan – easily the better selling of the two body styles -- will continue to benefit from an emergency model-year 2013 makeover to its styling and interior décor. That reboot came just one year after an all-new Civic bowed to tepid reviews. It may have originally been intended as part of a model-year 2015 midcycle freshening. So there’s an outside chance Honda has other, previously scheduled tweaks that’ll surface for 2015. But we’re betting this ninth-generation Civic largely stands pat until its full-scale 2016 redo.
Should you wait for the 2015 Honda Civic or buy a 2014 Honda Civic? Buy a 2014 Civic. The 2015 isn’t apt to change beyond a new color choice or two and maybe some realigned features. Roomy, solid, and a terrific long-term value, the 2014 Civic should still have the goods to hold off redesigned 2014 versions of the Mazda 3 and Toyota Corolla and even the restyled 2015 Ford Focus. Buying a 2014 Civic helps you avoid the almost-inevitable 2015 model-year price escalation -- and the mixed emotions of owning a car in the final year of its design cycle.
2015 Honda Civic Changes back to top
Styling: The 2015 Honda Civic should be a visual rerun, continuing with the reshaped nose and tail and extra chrome that successfully updated the 2013 model. That do-over included additional sound insulation as well as structural stiffening that improved crash protection.
The Civic coupe wasn’t included in the 2013 makeover. Its styling was racier than the sedan’s from the start, and sales numbers didn’t justify the investment. Still, Honda could migrate some of the four-door’s tweaks to the 2015 Coupe for visual continuity. More important would be cross-pollination of the cabin improvements that transformed the 2013 Civic sedan’s interior from awfully plasticky to appropriately padded.
What’s sure is that the 2015 Civic Coupe will continue to appeal to sporty types who value styling above rear-passenger accommodations. And the 2015 Civic sedan will remain among the roomiest and most comfortable compacts. The two body styles will again share a dashboard with a double-deck layout that aims for futuristic but lands near fussy.
Expect Honda to reprise a 2015 Civic lineup consisting of sedans and coupes in volume-selling LX trim, better-equipped EX form, leather-upholstered EX-L grade, and sporty Si guise. In addition, expect the 2015 Civic sedan to return the high-fuel-economy Civic HF, the Civic Hybrid, and the natural-gas-fueled Civic Natural Gas model.
Mechanical: A mechanically unchanged 2015 Honda Civic would continue to rely on an engine and transmission that are behind the times by competitive standards, but deliver good performance, economy, and affordability.
We’re referring to the powertrain that’s in all but the Si, Hybrid, and Natural Gas Civics, models that account for a fraction of the volume that puts Civic atop America’s compact-car sales charts.
The lion’s share of 2015 Civic volume will again be the LX, HF, EX, and EX-L models, and they’ll almost certainly return with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder of 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (think of torque as acceleration’s magic ingredient).
A small percentage of 2015 Civic LX buyers will stick with standard five-speed manual transmission. But most will opt for the five-speed automatic that’s the standard transmission for the HF, EX, and EX-L.
To put this in perspective, virtually every Civic rival relies on a powertrain that’s more technically sophisticated.
Honda’s 1.8-liter is a single-overhead-cam design rather than the newer-tech, dual-overhead-cam type. It does not have direct fuel injection, the latest advance in engine induction. And top competitors employ automatic transmissions (and manuals) with six speeds. In the role of a conventional automatic, some use a continuously variable transmission. Called a CVT, this type of transmission employs a rheostat-like delivery of power rather than set gear ratios.
In Honda’s defense, Civics with the 1.8-liter and automatic transmission furnish performance well-matched to the car’s mission as pleasant everyday transportation. Gas mileage is admirable (see details in the “2015 Honda Civic Fuel Economy” section below). And the five-speed automatic is a smooth operator. Aiding the cause is top-notch engineering that delivers a balance of handling agility and ride comfort tough to beat in this class.
Moreover, Honda’s probably correct when it argues that most Civic buyers would chafe at paying for technology that promises only incremental real-world improvements.
That said, Civic is unquestionably in line for fully contemporary powertrains promoted under Honda’s “Earth Dreams” banner. Dual overhead cams, direct fuel injection, and continuously variable transmissions are all part of the program. An Earth Dreams four-cylinder with a CVT was introduced to acclaim as part of the Honda Accord’s model-year 2013 redesign. The only issue for the Civic is when and our guess is with introduction of the next-generation, 2016 model.
The 2015 Si sedan and coupe will continue as Civic’s sporty choices. They’ll again use a dual-overhead-cam 2.4-liter four-cylinder that should remain at 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Tempering their popularity, they offer just one transmission choice, a six-speed manual. And sport versions of most rivals have more power (the turbocharged 252-horse Focus Si, for example). Still, 2015 Civic Si sedans and coupes should continue to parlay Honda’s balanced approach to performance into an engaging driving experience.
The 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid will again combine a gas four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Expect it to return with 110 net horsepower, 127 pound-feet of torque, and a CVT. 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 2015 Honda Civic Natural Gas model will be back as a sedan that runs on natural gas and will target mainly government- and commercial-fleet users.
Features: The 2015 Honda Civic will follow the automaker’s no-separate-options policy. That in effect locks each trim level into a specified suite of equipment. Want additional features? Move to the next expensive trim level.
Civic’s strong sales and remarkable owner loyalty demonstrate the virtues of this policy. It simplifies the buying process, promotes build quality, and bolsters residual values. To stay competitive, the next-generation Civic may need to expand into gee-whiz features like self-parking, comfort items like heated rear seats, and safety aids like surround-view cameras. Such features and more are already available on some rivals.
As for the 2015 Civic, every trim level will come with a backup camera, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and SMS text readout. Also onboard: power windows, tilt/telescope steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, front center console, and cruise control.
The upper tier of the double-deck dashboard will house Honda’s intelligent Multi-Information Display, or i-MID. This 5-inch screen shows various audio, trip, and fuel-economy readouts. On Si models, it also delivers performance data and on the Hybrid, electric-power and fuel-economy details.
The 2015 EX will continue as the most popular Civic trim. Honda could blend some of its features into a bolstered entry-level LX. But we’re pretty certain you’ll still need to move up to the EX to get a power moonroof -- and to the EX-L for such features as leather upholstery and heated front seats and mirrors. The 2015 Civic Si versions will return with specially bolstered front buckets and a sport-tuned suspension and exhaust system.
Honda will again market navigation-equipped 2015 Civics as distinct models and likely will spread the feature rather liberally, making it available on the EX, EX-L, Si, and Hybrid. The voice-activated navigation system should again use a 6.5-inch screen in place of the 5-inch iMID display.
By model-year 2015, we’d hope Honda has expanded forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems beyond just the Civic Hybrid. This useful safety technology alerts to possible dangers ahead and to unintended lane drift.
2015 Honda Civic Prices back to top
Prices for the 2015 Honda Civic were not announced in time for this review but expect a range of roughly $20,200-$29,500. (Estimated prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Honda’s fee for the Civic was running around $790.)
Competitors will offer entry-level models in the $17,000 range. But optioning most rivals to equivalent equipment levels will shrink the 2015 Civic’s apparent price premium. And few if any will be able to match the value-added advantage of Honda’s high ratings for quality and resale.
Look for a 2015 Civic LX priced around $20,200 with manual transmission and around $21,000 with automatic.
Estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $21,700 for the 2015 Civic HF, $22,800 for the 2015 Civic EX, $24,300 for 2015 Civic EX-Ls, and $24,700 for 2015 Si models. Figure the 2015 Civic Hybrid at around $26,300.
Expect to add around $1,500 to equip an eligible 2015 Civic with the navigation system.
2015 Honda Civic Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2015 Honda Civic were not released in time for this review.
Barring changes in powertrains, however, expect 2015 Civic and LX sedans and coupes to rate 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined with manual transmission.
With the five-speed automatic transmission, 2015 editions of those models, along with the EX and EX-L sedans and coupes, should rate 28/39/32 mpg city/highway/combined.
With its low-rolling-resistance tires, aerodynamic trim, and other mileage-enhancing touches, expect the 2015 Honda Civic HF sedan to rate 29/41/33 mpg.
Project the 2015 Honda Civic Si models at 22/31/25 mpg. They should continue as the only Civics for which Honda requires 91-octane instead of 87-octane gas.
Despite new competition, the 2015 the Honda Civic Hybrid probably will again be among the more fuel-efficient cars available in the U.S., with EPA ratings of 44/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined.
Expect all 2015 Civics except Si models to again come with two mileage-enhancing features: the driver-selected ECON mode to remap throttle, transmission, and air conditioning functions; and Honda’s Eco Assist readout that signals fuel-efficient driving.
2015 Honda Civic Release Date back to top
Look for 2015 Honda Civics to go on sale by late summer 2014.
What's next for the 2015 Honda Civic back to top
Today’s Civic represents an evolution of the 2006-2011-generation design. Its replacement could be more of a revolution. No major change in interior or exterior dimensions is anticipated. But Honda could well reintroduce a hatchback body style after years without one.
Safety and convenience features will continue to expand. And the Earth Dreams powertrain rollout will modernize engines and transmissions. By the way, the Earth Dreams family includes a turbocharged diesel for overseas markets, as well as several hybrid variations. Whether Honda would consider any of these alternatives for American-market Civics, only it knows.
Driving enthusiasts would love to see the Civic Type R emigrate from its traditional territories of Europe and Japan. A step beyond today’s Si, the 2015 Type R would have some 230 horsepower or more and be a more intense high-performance compact, with special bodywork and a track-ready suspension.
2015 Honda Civic Competition back to top
Toyota Corolla: A model-year 2014 redesign shelved this sedan’s indifferent styling for a sleeker body and added some 4 inches to the wheelbase – creating enough rear-seat room to challenge the class leaders for interior comfort. Toyota hopes all that, plus enlivened road manners and updated powertrains, will help Corolla shed its dowdy image. If it does, this perennial runner-up to Civic in the compact-class sales derby could challenge for the top spot, at least until Civic’s own redesign.
Ford Focus: Ford taps its global design portfolio to bring these European-influenced sedans and four-door hatchbacks to the U.S. The result is class-leading ride and handling -- but subpar rear-seat room, a busy dashboard design, and sloppy shifts from the transmission Ford uses in place of a conventional automatic. A scheduled model-year 2015 facelift will complement a broad engine roster that includes the turbo ST and the pure-electric Focus EV (rated at 76 miles on a single plug-in charge).
Chevrolet Cruze: A model-year 2014 freshening also sought to add some luster to a sedan popular for its pricing but a bit short on power and pizzazz. Like Focus, Cruze has design roots in Europe; in this case, GM’s Opel brand. That helps explain its good road manners and tight rear seating but also availability of a gutsy turbodiesel four-cylinder with 264 pound-feet of torque and a 27/46/33-mpg city/highway/combined rating. Built from the same design, the Buick Verano qualifies as a premium compact and a credible alternative to the Acura ILX.