The 2021 Honda Civic Didn’t Have to Be the Best to Still Get a Consumer Reports Recommendation

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The Honda Civic has long been an American favorite. But the latest model has pulled off something extraordinary. It earned a Consumer Reports recommendation despite ranking sixth in its class. Here’s how and more about the 2021 Honda Civic.

The 2021 Honda Civic

The 2021 Honda Civic is a much-loved compact car. Its base model has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and a turbocharged 1.5-liter is available. Both get good gas mileage. Its continuously variable transmission works better with the turbo and is loud either way.

The Civic offers a comfortable ride with nimble handling. There’s plenty of cargo and passenger space, but because the car sits low, getting in and out isn’t so easy. Plus, the infotainment system in the latest Civic isn’t the most user-friendly, Consumer Reports says.

The high-performance Civic Type R is ready for the track with a 306-hp output. But the coupe body style retired for the 2021 model year. All trims also come equipped with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and forward-collision warning. 

And the Touring hatchback models now have an available six-speed manual transmission available. 

Honda Civic pros and cons

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Today’s Honda Civic is upscale and elegant, giving drivers a real sense of getting what they paid for and more. The base engine offers adequate power that gets good fuel economy with the CVT, but it’s loud. When climbing uphill or navigating busy highway traffic, it gets even louder.

The CVT works well with the available turbo engine and handles highway traffic easily. The turbo engine offers good power and still gets good gas mileage. And the latest Civic handles confidently with responsive steering, competent braking, and minimal body lean.

Si models pack a turbocharged 205-hp 1.5-liter engine and a manual transmission. It has a satisfying engine growl and precise handling. It’s an improvement on previous Si models in that it’s turbocharged with more robust power delivery.

The 2021 Honda Civic‘s interior boasts an upscale vibe with quality materials. A quiet cabin includes lots of innovative storage spaces for belongings.

Riders getting into the low-slung Civic almost have to drop into the car, which won’t work well for people with mobility challenges or long legs. Another drawback: There are no lumbar support adjustments for the front seat. Consumer Reports points out the bottom cushions are short, making them a little less comfortable. But there’s plenty of room in the back seat.

However, the base model’s audio system has user-friendly controls. Unfortunately, higher trims replace those controls with a fussier touchscreen system that’s not as easy to navigate. But those systems include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

Consumer Reports’ recommendation

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The 2021 Honda Civic earned an overall 74 out of 100 from Consumer Reports. It received a predicted reliability rating of 3 out of 5 and a predicted owner satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5. Thanks to those scores, Consumer Reports recommends the 2021 Civic. 

Though it’s ranked sixth in its class, it’s a great car with a polished exterior and interior and good road manners. It also offers many thoughtful, innovative features uncommon in the compact segment.

CR’s testers recommend sticking to the base model if you want the sedan. For them, it had a good combination of enough power and good gas mileage. They consider it a great car for the price.

If the manual transmission is a must, the muscly Si model provides that. But you also get stuck with its distinct 18-inch wheels and summer tires. However, the Si also provides adjustable suspension settings, a 10-speaker audio system, and a sunroof.

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