Review: 2019 Honda Civic Touring

The venerable Honda Civic will be celebrating its 50th birthday in just a couple of years. It burst upon the world as a two-door subcompact car, and over the years has gradually grown in size.

It walks the tightrope now between compact and mid-size (with the couple in the former category). Through its evolution, however, one thing has remained the same:

This car keeps going and going, and it sells like crazy. Worldwide it’s around the 20 million mark.

Based on the ’19 Touring version that I drove, the numbers are only going to continue to climb.

The Basics

Personally, I’m happy to see the Civic get a little bigger. The first car my son drove was an old used Civic, and I remember that it was fairly small.

The car I drove for a week was certainly no monster, but it had just the right size to it. Sometimes driving tiny cars can make you a tad nervous — the Mini, for instance, is just plain hard for people to see.

The Civic, now in its tenth generation, is available in multiple trim levels of its three formats: sedan, coupe, and hatchback. I drove the Touring sedan version.

It’s powered by a 1.5-liter direct-injection turbo-charged engine, which puts out 174 horsepower. You can find Civics with standard transmission; my model had Honda’s continuously-variable transmission.

Appearances from the curb are quite favorable. I remember when the Civic was as bland was dried toast. Today it presents a nice profile, with a touch of spunkiness to it. No, it’s not the wild-and-crazy guy in the parking lot, but it’s attractive.

The Inside

Let’s start by pointing out the roominess. Those changes in size over the years have paid off handsomely for passengers, especially front seat folks.

But even the back seat is comfortable, and that includes taller folks.

Materials? Well, it depends on your trim level. Sure, at the lower end you’ll find a bit more plastic, but even then it’s not poorly-made at all. In fact, through the years Honda has learned how to package an inexpensive car in a way that feels pricier.

My Touring model was both roomy and comfortable. All the gauges and dash-gadgets are easy to see and understand.

Sight-lines are good, too.

Storage up front is about average. There’s a decent bin between the front seats, along with an additional cubby in front of the shifter. Door storage is also pretty good.

The trunk is fantastic. I think I may have actually pulled a double-take when I popped it open. It’s sizable, and you can also fold the rear seats. They won’t lie flat, but the extra room is still impressive.

The Drive

What’s the point of having an inexpensive, attractive car that doesn’t drive well?

That’s not an issue here. In my week behind the wheel I was not only comfortable with the power and acceleration, but the handling as well.

The turbo-charged engine provides plenty of oomph to your drive. The Civic will muscle its way from zero to 60 in less than 7 seconds. And this is a mid-size family sedan we’re talking about.

Give it high marks, as well, for steering, handling, and braking.

And, as an added bonus: The car may not have all-wheel drive, but during my test week the city of Denver experienced a somewhat-freakish October snow storm — and the Civic handled like a champ with its front-wheel drive.


The Tech

When you’ve been kicking butt for decades, it’s easy to coast and just shrug your shoulders at some of your minor defects. But the engineers at Honda must have some serious pride.

They understood that some people have criticized the tech aspects of some of their cars. So they rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

The ’19 Civic has improved considerably in some areas. The new infotainment system is quite good.

Honda used to have an overly-complicated way of controlling even simple functions, like volume. That’s been fixed. The screen itself is vivid and sharp, which is not a given in the automotive world.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard.

Safety applications are abundant, although you may found some of the alerts to be a bit annoying. That, unfortunately, is just a by-product of the way cars are made today.

The Bottom Line

When you think about the complete package — the comfortable ride, the peppy engine, the large storage capacity, and the solid tech advances — there are still two things that make the Civic even more impressive.

Very good gas mileage — my car had a combined 33 mpg — and a price tag that fits most budgets. Even with nice add-ons, my Touring edition clocked in barely over $28k.

As stated at the top, there’s a reason Honda sells so many Civics. It’s a well-made car that delivers every time.

The 2019 model is no exception.

The Details

2019 Honda Civic Touring
1.5-liter, 4-cylinder turbo-charged engine
174 horsepower
Continuously-Variable transmission
Front-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 30/38/33 combined
MSRP: $27,300
As tested: $28,220

Reviewed by Dom Testa
Vehicle provided by manufacturer

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