Following a subdued reception for the 2012 Civic, Honda has returned to the drawing board, and the reborn 2013 Civic reflects the company's pursuit of engineering excellence.
As in previous years, the Civic is offered in sedan and coupe versions. With three trim levels (LX, EX and EX-L) there's a Civic to suit any need, ranging from basic commuter car to compact family tourer. The high-performance Civic Si provides sporty and practical city driving.
Meanwhile, those looking for a greener car have plenty of options: the Civic HF, which has the same engine as the base model but adds a host of fuel-saving measures; the Civic Hybrid, which carries Honda's mild-hybrid system; and the Civic Natural Gas, a special version powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
The 140-horsepower, 1.8L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that powers most of the Civic lineup provides perky performance with either the standard 5-speed manual gearbox or 5-speed automatic. All models have electric power steering that is responsive in feel yet saves fuel.
Hybrid models come with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, which pairs a somewhat larger 1.5L 4-cylinder engine with a 23-hp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Civic Natural Gas models come with a 110-hp version of the 1.8L.
Civic Si models appeal to performance enthusiasts with a strong, 2.4L 4-cylinder engine making 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The engine revs high, with a 7,000 rpm redline, but also makes more torque and accessible power at lower revs. The Si is offered exclusively with a 6-speed manual gearbox and comes with a limited-slip front differential and sport-tuned suspension, among many appearance and feature extras.
Front side airbags, full-length side-curtain bags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are included on all 2013 Civic models, as is a standard rear backup camera and Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering, which helps nudge the driver back toward stability if the computer finds the vehicle on the verge of a skid.
The new Civic interior features excellent soft-touch surfaces, and high-quality cloth upholstery is featured throughout. Front seats offer great support, especially the side bolsters. Sedans come with a trunk that's more than ample for a long weekend for two or a large load of groceries, while Civic coupes sacrifice some trunk and rear-seat space for their sportier profile. In most Civic models, the rear seatbacks fold forward for expanded trunk capacity. Both the Hybrid and Natural Gas models have a fixed rear seatback, due to their unique powertrains.
Most Civic models feature an ECON mode that changes powertrain parameters and is more sparing with the air-conditioning compressor to maximize fuel economy. The Civic Si models come with a Power Monitor, which provides real-time information about engine output. Hybrids include a more sophisticated i-MID display that helps coach the driver toward more fuel-efficient driving.
All Civic models include power windows and an auto up/down driver's window. A key fob-based remote entry system is also included. The EX, EX-L and Si models also include a power moonroof with sliding sunshade. Audio systems include USB interfaces, and Bluetooth is now standard in all models. Finally, the available navigation system in the Civic includes a flash-memory-based system with turn-by-turn directions and improved voice recognition.
The new Civic also gets extensively updated infotainment systems--including a revised navigation system with voice recognition and live traffic updates, as well as available Bluetooth hands-free interface and a new Multi-Information Display system.
With four doors, you might think the 2007 Honda Civic Si Sedan is more grown up than its coupe sibling. The fact that you can strap a baby seat in back doesn't detract from the Civic Si Sedan's wheel-spinning glory and general penchant for being pushed hard around corners. And its tech apparel comes with one of Honda's better audio systems, complete with bass-thumping subwoofer, which doesn't suggest a diet of adult contemporary or light jazz.
Last year, we reviewed the coupe version of the Civic Si, and found it one of the best car tech values around. Adding two doors for the sedan version raises the price just a little, but not enough to detract from the value. For a little over $23,000, you get an excellent navigation system complemented by one of the best voice command systems available. Combined with the fun and efficient power train, you'll want to spend a lot of time in this car.
The Good The 2007 Honda Civic Si Sedan has a well-integrated navigation and voice command system. Its power train makes it fun to drive, whether you're practicing fast launches or simply commuting.
The Bad Bluetooth cell phone integration isn't an option on the Civic Si, nor is a real iPod adapter. The optional CD changer mounts in the trunk.
The Bottom Line Beyond a couple of missing options in the cabin, the 2007 Honda Civic Si Sedan is as functional as it is fun. Its cabin tech is both useful and entertaining, while it offers an enjoyable driving experience.
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