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Honda's Civic has been saving people money for decades, even as it has grown in size. It has made a name for itself as the epitome of budget quality. The recent generation of Civics can be had with navigation and even a hybrid powertrain.
Both inside and out, the Civic's styling mostly basks in its inoffensiveness, with no bold strokes to be found anywhere on the body, and lens shapes mimicking those on more upscale sedans.
Honda gets 140 horsepower out of its 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine, while keeping mileage up at 25 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway.
The Civic's small sedan body style works well for carting a few people around. This version is the EX-L, the top trim with leather.
The car's ride can be a little rough, fitting its price range. And the handling isn't particularly sporty. We weren't impressed with its electronic throttle.
In many ways, the Civic sets the standard for an economy sedan, complete with an average sized trunk for this segment.
The interior has a few elements that stray from the mainstream, such as the available navigation system and the bi-level instrument cluster.
At the EX level, the Civic gets this two-spoke multifunction steering wheel, with buttons for the audio system, voice command, and cruise control.
With the bi-level instrument cluster, a big analog tachometer sits on the bottom shelf.
The speedometer is a digital display on the upper shelf, bracketed by temp and fuel gauges.
We had the five speed automatic transmission in our Civic. This transmission isn't particularly inspiring, but is suitable for the commuter nature of this car.
Honda has been using this navigation system for a few years, and it is starting to show its age. The maps look a little blocky compared to more recent systems.
We like the touchscreen destination entry, although searching through the large points-of-interest database can be difficult.
XM satellite radio, which uses the LCD for its interface, is an option on the Civic.
Audio sources are limited. You get a single CD slot behind the LCD and a PC Card slot.
The MP3 CD interface is good, letting you browse folders and choose tracks.