- The 2020 Honda Civic starts at $18,390 before freight and delivery charges.
- No big changes for the coupe and sedan, while the hatchback and the Type R get some updates.
- Honda Sensing suite of advanced electronic safety aids now standard across the board.
The Honda Civic has been Canada’s best-selling car since 1998, and has become a household name for consumers seeking to buy an affordable, reliable and comfortable vehicle. However, because of the ever-growing preference for compact crossovers and pickup trucks, the Civic is now the fourth best-selling vehicle overall in the country. The 2020 Honda Civic gets a few changes, mostly reserved to the hatchback variants.
The Civic is available once again in coupe, sedan and hatchback body styles. While the coupe has one remaining rival—the Hyundai Veloster—the sedan and hatchback must confront some pretty stout competition, which includes the Toyota Corolla, the Hyundai Elantra, the Kia Forte, the Nissan Sentra, the Mazda3, the Subaru Impreza as well as the Volkswagen Golf and Jetta.
Most Civic variants use the tried-and-true 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that develops 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, which can be matched to a six-speed manual transmission in base trim levels, or a continuously variable automatic transmission in the rest. The Touring edition of the coupe and sedan move up to a turbocharged, 1.5-litre four with 174 hp and 162 lb-ft, while the LX hatchback includes it as standard. The Sport and Sport Touring hatchbacks get a 180-hp version of the same engine.
In the Si versions of the 2020 Honda Civic coupe and sedan, the turbo four belts out 205 hp and 192 lb-ft, and can only be paired up with the manual gearbox. Last but not least, the furious Civic Type R is blessed with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four that unleashes 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual.
The coupe and sedan were refreshed for the 2019 model year, so they received virtually no changes for 2020. Meanwhile, the Civic hatchback received some cosmetic tweaks, new interior trim and an updated infotainment system this year. As for the 2020 Honda Civic Type R, it boasts revised suspension, steering and brakes along with a redesigned front fascia, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, new active safety gear and a new paint color called Boost Blue.
What the 2020 Honda Civic Does Well
- Since the Civic is a very desirable car on the pre-owned market, it has strong resale value. That also means low lease payments for those who prefer keeping their cars for a shorter term.
- The Civic also has an enviable reputation for reliability, which also contributes to its popularity. In recent years, the turbo 1.5-litre engine has had issues, but Honda swears they have been fixed, and reduced the number of trim levels that was equipped with it. Consumers who keep their cars for the long run should stick to the base 2.0-litre four.
- Although it’s not the most fuel-efficient compact car on the market, the 2020 Honda Civic is still one of the best, with a combined city/highway average as low as 7.1 L/100 km with the 2.0-litre engine and automatic transmission.
- As always, the Civic serves up a spacious and comfortable cockpit, with a good driving position and a well thought-out control layout.
- Aside from the sportier Si and Type R variants, the Honda Civic proposes a good balance of ride comfort and handling, which will please any type of customer.
- Every 2020 Honda Civic now comes with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced electronic safety aids, such as collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control.
What the 2020 Honda Civic Doesn’t Do Well
While still affordable, the Civic’s base price is misleading. The $18,390 MSRP—on which we must add the $1,670 freight and delivery charge—applies to a DX sedan with a six-speed manual, no air conditioning and a black paint job, or white with a $300 extra charge. Most customers will want automatic and A/C, which means spending at least $22,990.
The current-generation Civic’s infotainment system has improved over the years, notably adding a physical volume knob that many owners (and journalists) have complained about. However, the on-screen layout is complicated to use while driving, with dim colours and small button zones. Changing the climate control system fan settings is always a two-step process and involves using the touchscreen, which is also uselessly fussy. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the saviours here.
The 2020 Honda Civic Si variants are indeed sportier, but their turbo 1.5-litre engine still has to prove its long-term durability, and many owners have complained about suspension problems. In addition, the Si’s engine as well as the 180-hp mill in the Sport and Sport Touring hatchbacks require super unleaded, which means extra spending at every fill-up.
What We Tell Our Friends
The 2020 Honda Civic is a value-packed car, because it’s very fuel-efficient and likely won’t break anytime soon. It also boasts a comfortable and relatively quiet cockpit and is fun to drive. However, a sub-$20K Civic doesn’t exist anymore and for long-term ownership, we’d skip the uplevel trims—and every hatchback trim—with the turbocharged engine. The sweet spot is the Civic sedan in LX, EX and Sport trims.
As for the Civic Type R, it’s a beast of a car with excellent performance and surprisingly exceptional handling characteristics given its front-wheel drivetrain. However, be prepared for a stiff ride and an always-on rage for speed, which can get tiresome on the daily drive. Simply put, it’s exhilarating, but doesn’t have the poise of a Volkswagen Golf R.