2010 Honda Civic Si SedanEnlarge Photo
The Civic remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class in real-world driving. The EX-L came with EPA ratings of 25 mpg city, 36 highway, and we averaged nearly 29 mpg in a week's worth city stop-and-go and suburban errand running, with plenty of cold starts. If you're considering the Civic instead of a mid-size model like the Accord, that's a full 30 or 40 percent better than the 21 or 22 mpg figures we've grown accustomed to seeing in mid-size four-cylinder sedans.
There have to be some compromises, right? Well there are. Try to fit adults in the back seat and you'll notice the most pronounced difference between the Civic, or for that matter some other compact sedans with slightly less rakish rooflines. Even average-height adults will have to tuck their heads around the door line when entering, and taller adults simply won't have enough headroom. On the plus side, if you do fit, the cushions back there are nicely contoured and there's decent legroom.
In front there are also more than a few disappointments. Ever since this generation of the Honda Civic made its debut, this rather tall driver hasn't known what to do with his right leg as it rests just beside the hard, sharp handbrake lever. Anyone above six feet tall needs to watch out for this, as it could be a deal-breaker for long trips.
Don't expect anything close to luxury-car comfort in the Civic. The leather is very stiff, almost like vinyl, and the front seat heaters didn't appreciably heat the backrests, just the lower cushions—which seemed to be the case on both sides. And although there were soft-touch inserts for the doors, the rest of the door panels, center console, and instrument panel was covered in rather hard, thin-feeling gray plastic.
The 2010 Civic is near the end of its product cycle, and a few of its tech features proved frustrating. The nav-system's screen seems a bit dull and lower in resolution to a number of other systems we've seen recently in new models, with an odd, unintuitive menu structure and slow response, while this version of Honda's HandsFreeLink Bluetooth system completely struck out, failing to pair with two different phones we had on hand. The Bluetooth controls can't be accessed visually through the nav-system screen or the gauge cluster, and there's no significant instruction on pairing through the owner's manual or the so-called Technology Reference Guide, and didn't have a lot of success with it. An audio help menu starts when you hit the talk button, and we managed to pair one of the phones, then were later told the phone wasn't found, with the system locking up and muting the sound system (requiring us to turn on and off the ignition to again listen to the sound system).
The small-car market has changed a lot since the Civic's last full redesign in 2005 (for 2006). The Civic doesn't look nearly as cutting-edge in appearance as before, and the competition has heated up with the introduction of excellent, well-equipped and enjoyable offerings like the 2010 Mazda3 and the 2010 Kia Forte. But the Civic's longstanding reputation for reliability and resale value are hard to overlook and especially in the lower DX and LX trims, the Civic's level of value is tough to beat.
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