The Honda Civic Sport is setting the tone for the upcoming Civic Si, but it’s a great car in its own right.
Day 1: People that don’t want to commit an opinion about the styling of the tenth generation Civic tend to use the word bold. I remember saying it looks like the designer is an angle fetishist. I’ve mellowed a bit on that. I’m still not sold on the rear light clusters C shape, but ‘eye of the beholder’ and all that. In the overall scheme, the design is cohesive and sharp. It also suits the Civic Sport trim very well.
The color in this car is Sonic Pearl Grey. A hip young, man in a suit outside a coffee shop liked it enough to say so out loud. He was wearing three haircuts at once, so he must know these things.
I was at the coffee shop preparing to go to Mulholland Drive and see what all the fuss is about. According to Apple maps Mulholland is only 45 minutes away. So, of course, I spent the next hour and a half in LA traffic getting there.
When you’re in a new car and sitting stationary in traffic it’s usually a good time to press buttons and see what they do. However, the Civic Sport is actually a base model so there’s not much opportunity to end up wondering why your backside is hot and the radio display is flashing and beeping while stuck at full volume playing polka music.
Day 2: Curiosity had me pop the hood and take a look at the engine. The normally aspirated V-Tec is gone. Instead there’s now a turbo engine. That means added complexity when compared to the EarthDreams NA engines. What I wasn’t expecting was an engine compartment to filled to the brim. Time will tell how the added complexity works out past the warranty period. But, it’s a Honda so I would take that bet.
Everything neccesary for regular maintenance is obvious and accessible. Including the now ubiquitous Earth Dreams engine badge. That name gets mocked a bit, but in this current world of alphanumeric soup it’s nice to see an actual name on a thing.
Day 3: Today is all meetings around town. The Sport got a lot of looks and even a thumbs up. Not bad at all for a sub $22,000 car.
Arriving at home, our teenager came out and immediately jumped in the passenger seat. She immediately hooked up her phone and asked if we could go for a drive. Some anecdotal cross generational appeal right there.
Day 4: 18 year old me would have loved the Civic Sport. My inner teenager has been itching to get this onto the roads around Idyllwild. A cancelled podcast allowed a couple of hours to roam around and see how the car behaves.
There’s plenty of fun noise from the exhaust going up and down the rev range. Into the corners the chassis is light and nimble. The steering is a little lighter than ideal, but this is as much for around town as it is for rinsing out on a back road.
The blend of the car is more on the side of comfort. It’s definitely more sporty than sports. However, the suspension and firm sway bars keep it the car planted and the gear shift is satisfyingly Honda. Driven briskly it’s all about those front wheel drive smiles.
I went to bed with my inner boy racer satiated to dream of McDonalds car parks, Magic Trees, and pulling away from girlfriends houses at night as quietly as possible.
Day 5: A day out at the Renaissance Faire. Not my choice, but I was going and we needed transport for three adults and two teenagers. The Civic Sport does have 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. We have a crossover SUV for that. I will spare you the details of the Renn Fair, but know this: As we were heading to the exit I looked up to see a man in a kilt travelling overhead on a zip line. Now I need to go rub my eyes with a scouring pad before going to bed.
Day 6 – Errand day around town. The light clutch and steering make easy work of nipping in and out of car parks. The regular barista at my local coffee shop gave his one sentence review:
“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 genuinely impressive for the car size. With the seats down, 20 year old me would have been carefully putting his drum kit in and out quite comfortably
Day 7. It’s time for the Civic Sport to go back. It’s also time to reflect.
There’s definitely a lot more fun to be had with the Civic Sport than the price tag suggests. It’s 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. The build quality looks solid and it’s as practical and economical as a Civic should be. It’s ideal for anyone that wants a bold looking daily driver that makes sense throughout, and prefers going home the long way. I would even go as far as suggesting it for anyone looking to get their enthusiast kid a first car. It’s easy to drive but not fast enough to encourage getting into big trouble.
The Civic Sport is exactly as bare bones as you would want in a daily driving sporty hatchback. Just enough comfort to keep you happy around town, but not too much to feel like you’re being nannied by the car. You can buy a Honda Civic with all the driver aids, but this is for people that want stay sharp and deal with the road themselves.
I tried to find real faults. I really did. But for what the car aims to be, the package is pretty much perfect. As a result the Honda Civic Sport gets 9.7 Magic Trees out of 10.
You can read Both Hand Drive’s straight up review of the Civic Sport here.