Updated for 2009, the changes to the Honda Civic's facade aren't immediately obvious unless viewed next to a 2008 or older model. Sci-fi good looks and fantastic fuel economy remain intact for this new generation.
Every Civic Sedan, with the exception of the high-performance Si model, is powered by a 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter iVTEC engine. Lacking much low-end torque, the Civic's engine has to be revved to the upper reaches of its powerband to benefit from its 128 pound-feet of torque.
In LX-S trim, you get a single, folding rear seatback. In EX trim, you get a 60/40 split. Even with the seats down, you don't approach the max storage volume of a Honda Fit with it's seats stowed (57.3 cubic feet).
The stereo system in the Civic is extremely integrated into the dashboard, which makes it difficult to replace with an aftermarket unit. Fortunately, the sound quality from this four-speaker system is pretty good, thanks to the well-crafted interior's lack of buzzing and rattling.
Our Civic LX-S was equipped with the five-speed manual transmission. During spirited driving, the gearbox had a bad habit of being in too high of a gear to make power, but for commuting it performed just fine.