Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A close-up of the wheel of a 2023 Honda Civic is shown from the front.

Remember the Honda Civic?

Recently, the Honda Civic Type R and Honda Civic Si have been getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. These two models have changed the way we perceive the Civic marque. But what about the mild-mannered, plain old Honda Civic, the small but spacious, enjoyable yet economical, smart but…well, just smart investment for drivers of all ages and experience levels? Since its debut in 1973, the Honda Civic has ushered generations of drivers across the United States. While getting stoked about the latest and greatest iterations of the Civic is understandable, what about the regular 2023 Honda Civic?

We might be starting to take vehicles like the Honda Civic for granted. They’ve been around so long, we can’t imagine a world without them. Yet as sedans fall more and more out of favor while SUVs and crossovers dominate the market, it’s possible that even these standbys might become extinct. The idea of a world without a Civic may be unfathomable for all the right reasons––year after year, Honda delivers a fun, economical sedan that not only captivates the hearts of all types of drivers but manages to woo experts as well.

A red 2023 Honda Civic Type R is shown from the front on a racetrack.

A Brief Reintroduction to the Honda Civic

The Civic received a full redesign for 2022, so there aren’t too many major changes to the 2023 Honda Civic, except to tweak the dynamic exterior and user-friendly interior a bit. One of the most significant updates to the Civic family is the retirement of the base LX trim. The lineup of available options now includes the Sport, EX, and Touring trims for the sedan model, and the Sport, EX-L, and Sport Touring trims for the hatchback model. However, there are only a few differences between the two body styles.

All told, the Civic doesn’t deviate much from the formula that has made it an enduring success. The standard offerings are abundant without being overwhelming, starting with a well-proportioned cabin that offers rear seat passengers 37.4 inches of legroom. Those rear seats can also be folded, extending the 14.8 cu.ft. of trunk space. The EX and Touring trims allow for multiple passenger/cargo configurations with a 60/40 split version of the folding rear seat. None of these features are new, but they’re more than acceptable for many drivers.

Standard technology includes an intuitive infotainment system, operated by a seven-inch touchscreen in the Sport and EX trim and a nine-inch deluxe version in the Touring trim. Bluetooth, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay connectivity are included. The Touring trim includes plenty of other pleasant surprises as well, such as a wireless smartphone app connection, a 12-speaker premium Bose audio system, navigation with real-time traffic updates, and an automatic dimming rearview mirror.

The 2023 Honda Civic may seem a bit simpler than some of its rivals, but that’s the point. One of the many reasons drivers become repeat Civic customers is the distinct usability of the brand. A 2003, 2013, and 2023 Civic may all have very different technology on board, but the operational flow remains the same, allowing long-time drivers a very short learning curve to necessary activities, such as turning down the audio volume, setting a comfortable temperature in the cabin, and activating the windshield wipers.

Sense and Sensibility: Doing Your Civic Duty

One of the most attractive aspects of the Honda Civic––dating back to its first generation––is how economical the model is while still providing enough zip to bring joy to the act of driving. Granted, the Si and Type R models have the bragging rights when it comes to vim and vigor, but the regular Civic sedan and hatchback are no puttering golf carts. In fact, they stand out for offering a remarkable blend of power and efficiency.

The Sport trim comes equipped with a 2.0L four-cylinder that provides an ample 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. For sedan drivers, that translates to 30 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. These figures drop slightly for those who choose the Civic hatchback, but the Sport hatchback is offered with a manual transmission for those who appreciate the full hands-on experience.

The EX and Touring models include a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that takes things up a notch with 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Despite its extra power, this engine is actually more efficient, rated for up to 33 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. This engine can also be paired with a six-speed manual transmission if you opt for the hatchback Sport Touring trim.

The Sport and Touring trims also include a three-mode selectable driving system that allows drivers to tailor their drive to their day. ECON mode helps save the most money at the gas pump, while Sport tightens up response times to make the commute home from work even more enjoyable. Normal is, as the name implies, the mode to choose for most driving situations.

A grey 2023 Honda Civic Sport is shown from the rear at an angle.

Award-Winning Safety in the 2023 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic has a reputation as a safe vehicle, which it has more than earned. The Civic was an early adopter of anti-lock brake and airbag technology, so it’s appropriate that today’s Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technology is one of the most robust packages in its segment. Every 2023 Civic includes the full Honda Sensing suite, which consists of:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Road Departure Mitigation System
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow
  • Lane Keeping Assist System
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Traffic Jam Assist
  • Traffic Sign Recognition System

The 2023 Civic is also engineered for safety, with a rigid body construction, front, rear, and side curtain airbags, a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with directional dynamic guidelines, and Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control. Moving up the trims unlocks additional technology. The EX trim gains a Blind Spot Information System, while the Touring trim includes a Cross Traffic Monitor, Low-Speed Braking Control, and front and rear parking sensors.

The 2023 Honda Civic: Still a Good Option

Since its earliest days, the Civic has boldly stood on the line between “budget” and “economical.” It’s not a car you buy because you have no other choice, but a car you buy because it makes the most sense. Between its long-term value, reliability, and overall cost to own, the Civic tops many “best of” lists for new sedans. Wonderfully enough, that tradition continues for 2023. In a day when many sedans are being neglected by manufacturers or, worse, discontinued, it’s refreshing to see the Honda Civic sedan continue to thrive.

It’s easy to lose focus on a smart choice sedan like the Civic, especially when its direct relatives are making a splash with sporty performance and exotic good looks. But the 2023 Honda Civic is an attractive, timeless, economical choice that has helped generations of drivers get from Point A to Point B. Is it a performance-oriented vehicle? Yes, in that it performs day after day with little more than regular maintenance. Is it exotic? No, but it is a very good-looking vehicle following its 2022 makeover. Simplicity is often the answer, and the 2023 Honda Civic is, like all Civics before it, quite simply a great car.