Day 1: I wasn’t sold on the tenth generation styling at first. I distinctly remember commenting that it looks like it was designed by an angle fetishist. I’ve mellowed a bit on that and still think the front is really rather handsome. Personally, I’m still not entirely sold on the rear light clusters inverted C shape for the brake lights, but that’s just personal preference. In the overall scheme of things the design is cohesive and sharp.
I like the color of the test car lot, and so did a hip young man in a suit outside the nearest coffee shop to where I picked the car up. He was wearing three haircuts at once, so he must know these things.
I got bored learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone.
I was at the coffee shop so I could figure out if I had time to go to Mulholland Drive and see what all the fuss is about. It was 50 minutes away, so I spent an hour and a half in LA traffic getting there. Normally when you’re in a new car and sitting stationary in traffic it’s a good time to press buttons and see what they do, however this is a base model with no options so there’s not much opportunity to end up wondering why your backside is hot, what the new readout on the dash means and why the radio display is flashing, beeping and stuck at full volume playing polka music.
Day 2: After being on the road for over eight hours yesterday I needed a break from driving, so I popped the hood instead and had a poke around. It is a turbo engine so I was expecting some added complexity compared to the EarthDreams NA engines, but I wasn’t expecting the engine compartment to be filled to the brim. Time will tell how that works out once it’s past the warranty period, but it’s a Honda so I would take that bet. Everything you need for regular maintenance is obvious and easily accessible, along with the now ubiquitous Earth Dreams engine badge. I know that name gets mocked a bit, but in this current world of alphanumeric soup it’s nice to see an actual name.
Nerdy fun to be had sticking your head in there to see how everything is packaged together. Everything is in its right place. The leather wrapped steering wheel and gear stick are included in the Sport trim package.
Day 3: Running around town the car is getting a lot of looks and even a thumbs up. Not bad at all for a sub $22,000 car. My better half loved the color and thinks the whole thing is pretty. The wife also loved the seats and how comfortable they are. On day one I drove for six hours solid with no real discomfort so I have no argument there. In fact I haven’t yet met a Honda sport seat I didn’t like. The only thing that could improve these ones would be some basic lumbar adjustment.
The teenager, who ignored the BMW I had recently, came out and immediately jumped in the passenger seat and hooked up her phone before asking if we could go for a drive. This car is appealing across generations.
My favoite sign in this part of the world.
Day 4: 18 year old me would have loved this car. My inner teenager has been itching to get this onto the roads around Idyllwild, and a cancelled podcast gave me a couple of hours to go roam around and see what the car really feels like.
It makes plenty of fun noise as you go up and down the rev range, and into the corners you can feel how light and nimble the chassis is. The steering is a little lighter than I want but the agility makes up for it. The blend of the car is definitely more on the side of practical and comfort – it’s definitely more sporty than sports. Saying that though, the suspension and firm sway bars keep it nicely planted and the gear shift is satisfyingly Honda. Driven briskly it’s satisfying front wheel drive smiles.
I went to bed with my inner boy racer satiated and dreamed of McDonalds car parks, Magic Trees, and pulling away from girlfriends houses at night as quietly as possible.
Day 5: A trip had been arranged to the big Renascence Fair and requiring transport for three adults and two teenagers. The Civic has enough room for a family outing if the middle person in the back is small, but bumpy and stony roads were a good reason to take something with more ground clearance – and we have a crossover SUV for that. I did dress up (under protest) and it was surreal being amongst so many Americans, in what’s still technically the desert, pretending to be in 16th Century England. I’m sure there’s a joke to be had, but as we were heading to the exit I looked up to see a man in a kilt travelling overhead on a zip line and I need to go rub my eyes with a scouring pad before going to bed.
Day 6 – I had a load of errands around town and the light clutch and steering just makes easy work of nipping in and out of car parks. The regular barista at my local coffee shop gave me his one sentence review as: “That’s freakin’ sweet dude!”.
After some light shopping I stood in the car park and marvelled at the amount of space in the back. It’s impressive for the car size, and with the seats down I reckon 20 year old me would have been carefully fitting his drum kit in and out quite happily.
Day 7. I had to hand back the keys. After having a lot more fun with the Civic Sport than the price tag suggests, it was a great reminder that a cars real value is in the sum of it’s parts relative to its intended use and market. The road noise and NVH is lower than previous generation Hondas I’ve driven, and the build quality looks good with solid materials. The car is very practical, very economical and most importantly has fun written into it’s DNA. I would go as far as suggesting it for anyone looking to get their enthusiast kid a first car that’s going to be easy to drive but not fast enough to encourage getting into big trouble. Or, frankly, anyone that simply wants a bold looking economical daily that makes sense throughout and prefers coming home the long way.
This review car has no options added at all, and Honda is justified in it’s confidence putting it out there like that as a press car. I tried to find real faults, but the package is complete and nothing annoyed me. It’s a lot of car for the money.
The Honda Civic Sport gets 9.7 Magic Trees out of 10.