by Amy Lillard
What drives car buyers in today's society? Smart sizes, efficient fuel use, practical capability and of course, the hidden perks and guilty pleasures. In our continuing series, we examine the most popular cars in America.
May 10, 2007 - Among the increasingly popular economy cars, the Honda Civic is one of the best reviewed, and most impressive in performance and innovation.
Launched in 1972, the Civic has been one of the most popular compact cars during its life span. Recent figures place it as the 7th bestselling car in the country.
Some of the main attractions of the Civic Main include stellar fuel economy and surprisingly good performance. Honda developed the variable valve timing (VTEC) mechanism, which is responsible for the advanced engine performance of the car. Recent models have upped the power, including a 197-horsepower version. But with improved performance also comes better fuel economy. It's this combination that has many drivers helpless to resist.
The Civic is a smart choice for its long production run and wide range of models. The most recent iteration of the Civic, introduced in the 2006 model, is available in two body styles: coupe and four-door sedan. Both styles share four trim levels: a base DX, EX, LX and Si. All models except the Si are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 140 hp (the Si is the warhorse, with 197 horsepower). Five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic is optional.
The Civic is also available in two special trims, GX and Hybrid. The GX runs on clean-burning compressed natural gas, and is powered by a 113-hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. The Civic Hybrid features Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system. This consists of a 1.3-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a 20-hp electric motor. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 49/51 mpg.
All trims get a broad range of safety features, such as antilock brakes, front-seat side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags.
Reviewers have enjoyed the most Civics. The engine speed and performance do not blow car enthusiasts away, but for the purposes of comfortable and safe driving, the Civic delivers. In addition, the recent trims make the car feel sportier and sleeker than a typical sedan, resulting in an enjoyable driving experience. Drivers love the number of safety and other features, as well as reduced trips to expensive gas stations.
The Civic starts at around $15,000, and ranges to over $20,000.
For a complete one-stop look at current Civic features and specifications, visit
A frequent contributor to ERATE® since 2006, Amy Lillard is a freelance writer specializing in turning complex information into useful tips and tricks for readers. For questions or topic suggestions, contact Amy at [email protected].
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