By on August 13, 2018

Image: Honda

It was possible to get into a Sport-trimmed Honda Civic before the 2019 model year, but you’d have to agree to the hatchback bodystyle first. Not everyone gazed upon that particular Civic’s styling with admiration and desire.

Not a problem. If buyers don’t want a five-door Sport, we’ll give it to ’em in coupe and sedan form, Honda figured. And so it is for 2019. However, checking the box for this slightly more aggressive treatment fails to bring aboard one of the hatchback version’s best attributes.

That, of course, would be the turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder found in the hatchback Civic — and more specifically, the added power found under the Sport model’s hood. Sport-trimmed hatch models generate 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque (in manual transmission guise), a 6 hp and 10 lb-ft improvement over the base LX.

The hatch is still the go-to for those wanting more power but unwilling to spend what it takes to get into an Si. In sedan and coupe form, the Sport keeps its 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, though opting for Honda’s typically excellent six-speed manual over the CVT makes the most of that 158 hp and 138 lb-ft.

Image: Honda

It looks like there’s extra power on tap, and that’s really the main appeal of any model’s Sport trim. On this one, a thin, geometric center exhaust mimics the Si, while blacked-out chrome trim up front adds an extra level of menace. A decklid spoiler makes its appearance, but only on the sedan. As well, the lower front fascia and rear bumpers of both bodystyles see trim-specific design changes. Ten-spoke, 18-inch alloys come standard and carry over the murdered-out nighttime motif, while foglights help guide the way forward.

In terms of tech, Sport models gain 7-inch Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Honda’s quick to mention the presence of a volume knob. For all 2019 models, the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features comes standard, bringing lane-keeping, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control to the safety mix.

What does it cost to leapfrog the LX? The automaker’s keeping mum until closer to the on-sale date, though it’s worth noting the 2018 hatchback Sport model adds $1,600 to the LX’s MSRP. The added tech surely portends a modest increase in base sticker price.

[Images: Honda]

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46 Comments on “Rollin’ in My 2.0: Honda Debuts 2019 Civic Sport in Sedan and Coupe Form...”


  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Meh, the Si is still the one to get, IMO. This seems like a sporty alternative to the Si for those who want an automatic (the Si is 6MT only). Yes, I know this can be had with a manual, but why not just go for the Si if you are concerned about the driving experience enough to get a manual? Just to get a naturally aspirated engine and save a few bucks in the process?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I’d rather be able to get the big engine with no external cues as to what lurks beneath.

    Speak softly and carry a big stick.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    It’s a nice way to get a non-chrome front end which is what the Civic really needs. If going manual, the Si seems like the better move. Can’t argue with having more choice though, so good on Honda.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Any Honda press days coming up? I’d love to see a real-world comparison of the turbo and 2.0 from someone who’s driven them back-to-back. And Honda, leave the CVTs at home.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      There is no reason not to get the 1.5T.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Well, gtem doesn’t seem to be a fan of the 1.5. See his comment below.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        “There is no reason not to get the 1.5T.”

        Yes as long as it doesn’t come with Gas in Oil problems.
        Honda has not come up with a fix for those with rising oil filed with gas

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        sportyaccordy,

        “There is no reason not to get the 1.5T.”
        Yes, there is. 1 – did you see how many parts are there under the hood? It is so packed that windshield washer got stacked between fender and body. Under the hood it is a mess. I think, any small accident will bring a lot of damage to internal components. 2 – 1.5 had issue from get go, even stop sell on it.

        For me, Civic is no go until they normalize the instrumentation. electronic speedo must go. And BTW, so cheap, it may have all the safety nannies but Sport Hatch doesn’t even have variable intermittent wipers. Only intermittent but not variable.

        Steph claims “typically excellent six-speed manual”. But what about clutch and brakes? I found brakes in Si being numb and not assuring and clutch is not of highest grade. Steering feel also not quite Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      The 2.0 would have been a revelation in a non-Si Civic 10 years ago. Right now, it’s just a really good base engine.

      Unless you have some hang up for an NA engine, the 1.5T is the better performer in every regard.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I don’t even know that I’d say that. I had the 8th gen 1.8 5MT. It was about 200lb lighter than this Civic, and its fun factor was inversely proportional to the outside air temperature, with a steep dropoff once you needed to run A/C. That poor engine was overworked. I don’t know that another 200cc would help (and for whatever reason I considered swapping in the 2.0 from the ILX)

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    A “sport” trim with the base engine is a bit goofy, but this base engine sounds like a nice unit when paired with the stick shift. Given the carbon discussion last week from the Fit’s DI 1.5L, this port-injected 2.0 looks like a better long-term bet.

    Curious why the 1.5 isn’t on offer for the sport sedan and coupe when you can get it in the non-sport sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      SixspeedSi

      It is a kind of odd trim mix, but my thinking is the Hatch is built in England and all trims, even the base LX come with the 1.5, wherein the sedan/coupe line it would mix too much with the Si. Would make sense just to have 1.5 across the Sport range.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I also think, if they put 1.5 into Sport, it will get too close to Si

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’ve been driving a friend’s EX-T automatic a bit while he’s out of country, and I’m sad to say I’m rather underwhelmed by the whole thing. Yes the CVT+1.5T works well in providing fantastic fuel economy and rather impressive acceleration, but the whole experience of acceleration in that car is just unpleasant. The motor sounds unrefined, and it all just feels disconnected. At this point, just stick an electric motor in it and call it a day. It rides better than any Civic before has, but it still on the noisy side over various paved surfaces even at 45mph. I personally don’t care for the interior. I had one of the maligned 2012 MY Civics and the seat cloth and some of the panel gaps/fitment in this 2017 are notably worse than that car IMO. I personally would pick my old 2012 over this 2017 despite the 2017 winning hugely in the objective sense on paper in performance and economy. If nothing else, my 2012 had a super smooth and nice sounding 140hp R18 that loved to rev, and a really nice feeling shifter.

    • 0 avatar
      SixspeedSi

      I can’t disagree with this. I’ve driven both and would argue the 2.0 is a smoother more typical, rev loving Honda motor. I’d probably still pick the 1.5 for torque and performance, but man it doesn’t sound great and the CVT doesn’t help in that regard. Ha now try hearing it in the CRV!

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      No one will ever accuse me of being a VW/Audi fan, but they seem to be the only brand that has the turbo-4 driving experience figured out.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I was watching a savagegeese review of an Audi A5 2.0T and he was raving about the latest implementation of the VAG 2.0T, despite being a self-professed hater of the “turbo-piles” as he calls them. Now, I don’t trust a VAG turbo as far as I can throw one, but they’ve certainly been in the game of pressurized 4cyls longer than most and have figured out the tuning/refinement aspect.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Another SavageGeese fan here.

          I love how they get under the cars and talk about the foundation – plus how they were given a G80 Sport with 2 different tread pattern rear tires!

          Someone was asleep at the wheel in managing Genesis’ press loaner fleet!

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I like Turbowski’s generally very ambivalent and cynical takes on most new things, because frankly that’s about where my head is at with a lot of new cars, and the opinions of my (admittedly small) sampling of mechanics is right there as well.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          I’m on my second in a row A5 2.0T. Both cars are/were fantastic and completely problem-free. These cars have what s probably the most refined turbo four in the car business.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I drove the A5 and 3 series back to back and, if anything, thought the BMW power train was preferable. I remember being less underwhelmed than I expected to be by a GTI some years ago, though.

        As for Turbo 4s, far and away the most entertaining “normal” (as in non 300hp, 40+k rally special) one, is the one in the FiST. Ford needs to just Miata’ize, as in just keep producing it with minimal changes for decade after decade, that car.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I rode in an inlaw’s LX sedan and I agree about the interior. It photographs well and the dash architecture looks modern, but in person it’s an economy car. The scratchy fabric on the thinly padded armrests is gross to touch, the seat fabrics are the typical junk nowadays, the door cards are unpleasant, and there was a big gap between the A-pillar trim and headliner. Nothing inappropriate for the price, but initial reviews didn’t care to address this aspect. It did show up in C&D’s comparison of the Si and GTI, along with apparently poor body panel fitment.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        For the price premium that Civics seem to sell for (high teens-$20k-ish real world prices?) almost any midsizer feels better to drive IMO. I would entirely unironically pick a Kia Optima LX 2.4/6A over a turbo-mill CVT Civic for the same price, I might even be able to save money by picking the Kia.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          gtem,

          You are so correct. This is why I am driving Mazda6 today. Civic Sport would cost me more than 18.5K I paid for Mazda. And Mazda6 is better all around, fit and finish, controls, everything.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Slavuta the Civic replaced a well worn ’09 Mazda3 and if I’m honest the old 3 was a much more satisfying and more engaging car to drive, even with the old base 2.0L+4spd auto.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          gtem,

          many people simply dismissing some facts. When I was shopping my ’11 Mazda3, I test drove same year Civic. Mazda3 felt like upscale car vs Civic. Where civic was 5 shades of gray plastics, Mazda had soft materials. Civic’s switchgear was horrible, all Mazda switches felt top-notch. They did feel very similar in size and on the road. Only Civic felt cheap and rental.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      These are the exact reasons I spent the extra money on the K20C1 equipped Accord Sport 2.0T. It addresses all these concerns – interior is a big step up and the engine sounds/feels an order of magnitude more refined. Very similar to VW EA888, but with a little more top end growl. The 1.5T is certainly a good engine, but it doesn’t feel like anything special, even in Si trim.

      I really really wanted an Si, the value quotient is outstanding, but after experiencing the Accord drivetrain it doesn’t compare. I just wish I had the LSD.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        chrishs2000,

        I drove Si. I would pick it for the seats. But, I would rather buy Elantra Sport – save $5-6K, And those brakes and the sound! Seriously, only thing i liked in Si over Sport – seats and door trim.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I guess it depends on what you’re looking for. Someone who wants driving thrills and engagement is not going to get anything with a CVT, so I think your expectations needed some recalibration.

      I had an old 1.8L 5MT Civic. It kind of sucked. The chassis was brilliant, but the engine was no good. Gutless, loud and asthmatic once the weak A/C was on- which was often in the South. For someone looking for a quick, comfy and economical commuter a Civic 1.5T is a no brainer. The chassis is still brilliant, but now it finally has some balls behind it that you don’t have to wring out all the time to access.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        To me that gruff 1.5T slowly moaning up to speed with the CVT is just an entirely offputting experience. Of all of the “Honda-ness” that my 2012 Civic had lost from the old ones, at least I still had a really smooth and revvy NA motor that I could manipulate using the very slick manual transmission. And I agree, the A/C turned it into an absolute dog.

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I’m glad people still buy enough of Civics in order for Honda to make variations like these.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree. There are so few compact coupes out there now. Can’t even think of any others off the top of my head that aren’t hatchbacks.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Only honda packaging is really sucks. for example, some base models have alloy wheels but only single-piece folding back seat. Why even make single-piece folding seat? I can drive on steel wheels (alloys are only good for presentations, there is no real functionality in them), but Honda thinks that if I buy base, I don’t need to configure for 3 passengers and some cargo. bleh. Honda packaging is really the one single reason I have not purchased one by now.

  • avatar
    Fred

    For awhile I thought a ILX hatch version of this car would be a more adult version. But, with Acura’s silence on the ILX, and generally low car sales, I’m now of the opinion the ILX is a dead model.

    • 0 avatar
      chrishs2000

      It’s a shame. The current ILX is incredibly lackluster and boring because it’s based on a very lackluster and boring 9th gen Civic. It’s been a total cluster since Day One. It has all the horrible NVH and interior characteristics of the 9g Civic. The 2.4/6MT combo was interesting but the interior has always been very low rent. An Acura based 10g Civic could be Integra/RSX level good – but for whatever reason, they seem to be doing nothing with it.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      The Civic + Accord are good enough now that the Acura sedan lineup can be consolidated to 2 models. Acura badged Civics/Accords would be cheap and substantial improvements over the current ILX/TLX/RLX. Unfortunately, the best of the 3 (TLX) has been in sales decline since release. It’s a real chicken and egg situation.

      Personally, all I want is a Civic with the 1.5T in a hybrid config, maybe with rear wheel motors. And a panoramic sunroof. Don’t care what it’s called. Probably never going to happen.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    If you gave me the type R drivetrain on this body I’d write a check. Bonus if it’s electron blue with some old school graphics

  • avatar

    In defense of the 2.0, as I chose one over an EX-T or a Sport Hatch

    – It sounds really sweet from 3k-6k.
    – The engine/clutch/shifter pairs very well, and heel/toe downshifts are easy
    – You can get an LX for a song, and (until they fix it in 2019) the 2016-2018 EX speedo and infotainment are annoying as hell

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I like the current Si Civic 2 door…am considering trading my Focus ST for one. Focus ST is a fun car, but on a national level, the Civic Si coupe is killing the Focus ST in Autocrosss competition. That real limited slip diff in the Civic Si is the big reason. The ST has an electronic diff that has issues under hard cornering and acceleration off a corner. The Civic simply digs out, and goes to the next element without drama. The power difference between the two is more than 50 hp, advantage going to Focus ST. But, if you can’t put the power down when you need it, it’s a moot point…


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