Two week review: 2018 Honda Civic LX 6MT
I've toyed with the idea of doing a video review of this car. If you'd like one, leave a comment
So, I've had a 10th Generation 2018 Honda Civic since April 24th. I had a little car trouble and found myself in need of a car.
Crap. Nothing like buying a car in the middle of Spring, when everyone else is buying a car thanks to Tax Refunds. Middle of the model year. No incentives. Yaaaaay.
My short list went like this:
- Ram 1500
- GM half-ton with the 5.3 V8
- Buick Lacrosse
- Lexus GS350
- Honda Accord
- Truck or car?
- Practical or practical or practical.
I needed something practical I could put my wife and girls in. I was driving around in a sweet full size Chevy Impala, so I was feeling a car again, hence the Lacrosse being on the list.
I 86'd the GM as it drove too big, and Whitney homed in on the Ram and the Buick as her top 2. On April 23rd I took off work and we went driving during the morning and early afternoon. The accord was too stiff, but we drove some Civics and....love.
See...the Civics came with a stick. We really forgot how much we loved manual transmissions.
So, for invoice price + 6.25% taxes I got a brand spanking new Honda Civic LX. Sharp-eyed readers will note this is the base model.
That was intentional. I wanted the simplest car I could get.
So...instead of the EX-T's 1.5L Turbo with its 192 horsepower, I got a 2.0L 158 hp K20C2 engine. Instead of HondaSense I got....er....cruise control. Instead of a touch screen + CarPlay + SirusXM I got an LCD display and bluetooth and....that's pretty much it.
So, after 2 weeks, how's it going?
In a word: Great.
The first day with the car was a baptism by fire. I hit an hour of Austin traffic down I-35 on the way in, then had a good slog on the way home. I was sore in places I didn't remember. I missed the ease I'd had in the Impala and the spacious, coddling feeling. I wondered if I'd made a big mistake.
After that, it got better. I continue to grow accustomed to the transmission and its dual throttle modes: In Regular mode, the engine zings to redline pretty easily (I mean it still has a heavy flywheel, but eh, street car.), making smooth shifts a challenge. In Eco Mode, the throttle is much more progressive, making it easy to seem like a star with the tranny.
Heel-and-toe and double-clutch downshifts are a real pleasure, making me feel like I'm downshifting into a turn at Road Atlanta or something.
- The engine is a sweetheart, particularly above 3k.
- The transmission is the reason I bought the car: Precise and light, but positive.
- The ride is a great compromise between comfort and sportiness. This is the reason we got the LX trim level
- Visibility is good
- Headroom is great, easily the same as my 2010 Fusion.
- Getting height-adjustable seats, bluetooth, power windows/doorlocks
- The 'Brake hold' feature really works, though I'd still rather have had a real handbrake.
- Still in love with the color. I really missed having a car with actual color instead of White, Silver, or Grey.
The car is a base model. There's no getting around it. Some downsides:
- Value. Even $20k out-the-door, one could get a Mazda or Hyundai/Kia for much less.
- No center armrest in the back for my kids. Crucially, this leaves only the 12oz can sized cupholders in the doors
- No Apple Carplay, which is a pain. The bluetooth is easily as good as my 2010 Ford Fusion's Sync system, though that's faint praise
- The voice recognition is truly dismal. It simply doesn't work. "Call Whitney Combs" has hilarious results.
- The Hankook tires are sturdy, but I likely won't be keeping them. Some Enkei wheels and better rubber call my name.
- A/C is okay thus far, but indications are it'll be pretty weak when the 100+ days of July and August come to bear.
- Ergonomics are taking some getting used to
- Not sure how to quantify this, but Honda's taken a real step backward in switchgear feel. Back in 2003 and earlier cars, you could depend on the ways the switches...well...switched. They had a certain tactile feel that helped you know every piece was engineered to the last detail.
- The headlights are just halogens and they're pretty weak when you're used to LEDs from your wife's van.
- Backseat is truly usable, but it's no Accord.
Given 95% of the time, I'm the only occupant, this car is great. It definitely fits my "simple" requirement, and I look forward to a decade of driving the wheels off it.
Also: Austin has Autocross events on Saturdays.