Is A Honda Civic A Good First Car?

Honda is a popular vehicle manufacturer and the Civic is one of their most popular cars on the market.  The Honda Civic sedan comes in four trim levels with 4-cylinder engines and the EX and Touring are turbocharged.  The Civic also comes in a hatchback and Type R model.

Below we will discuss whether a Honda Civic is a good first car and discuss the positive and negative aspects of owning the vehicle as a new driver.

Is A Honda Civic A Good First Car?

A Honda Civic can be a great first car.  Civics are relatively inexpensive to acquire, have good fuel economy, good visibility, and have more horsepower than the other compact cars.   However, people who are larger in size or desire a more powerful vehicle, may not find the Civic to be as desirable.

Cons Of Driving A Honda Civic As A First Car

Honda has a good reputation for safety and reliability.  Although those factors are very important, those factors alone don’t make it a good option as a first car for all people.

Here are some of the downsides of having a Civic as a first car:

Size Of The Vehicle

Honda Civics are compact cars, so these cars may not be large enough for all individuals.  For people who are much larger than the average-sized person, the Civic may not be the most comfortable first car.

You should also consider your needs.  If you need to drive a lot of people around or need to lug larger items regularly you may want to consider a larger car.

No All-Wheel Drive

Another downside of the Civic for new drivers is that it doesn’t have the option for all-wheel drive.  All-wheel drive cars provide better handling and traction in inclement weather, which is safer for a first car. 

Honda Civics are front-wheel-drive cars.

Front-wheel drive vehicles can have a tendency to swerve right or left when quickly accelerating.  Accordingly, this can cause some handling issues, especially for a newer driver.

Engine Power

Although the Civic engine is powerful when compared to other compact sedans, when compared to other non-compact vehicles on the road today it can be considered underpowered.

The Honda Civic sedan comes in trim levels that have both 158 horsepower and 180 horsepower.  Even if you choose the 180-horsepower option, the Civic is still lacking in power when compared to other cars.

The main downside of having a vehicle without sufficient power is that it could prevent you from being able to accelerate fast enough to get out of the way of danger when necessary. 

CVT Transmission

Some Honda Civic models come equipped with a CVT transmission. While this transmission is becoming more popular among car manufacturers, it is not always the desired form of an automatic transmission for many car owners.

To learn more about CVT transmissions in-depth read our article here.

Lack Of Common Technology/Features

If you are looking for certain options in a car the Civic may disappoint.  Not all trim levels offer certain options if those options are even offered at all on the Civic.

For example, heated seats, power seat adjustments, parking assistance, and blind-spot monitoring are not common on all trim levels of the Civic.  To get all of these features you would need to purchase the Civic Touring. 

If you are looking for more premium options like ventilated seats, panoramic sunroof, or heads-up display the Civic won’t provide those options.

Benefits Of Driving A Honda Civic As A First Car

Just like there are some negatives to owning the Honda Civic as a first car, there are also many positive factors to consider.

Consider the following benefits of the Honda Civic for a new driver:

Affordable To Acquire New

One of the biggest pros of getting a Civic as a first car is that they priced attainably new.  Since many people looking to purchase their first car may be younger individuals without a large budget this is incredibly appealing. 

Both the Civic sedans and hatchbacks have starting prices under $30,000.  Even with the addition of options the LX, EX and Sport trim levels are easily attainable in the $20,000 price range. 

Considering the average price of a new car in the United States is currently at $41,000 according to Yahoo News, being able to acquire a new car at this price point is a huge plus.

Below is a chart listing the starting price points of the Honda Civic at each trim level:

ModelTrimStarting Price
Civic SedanLX$21,700
Civic SedanSport$23,100
Civic SedanEX$24,700
Civic SedanTouring$28,300
Civic HatchbackLX$22,200
Civic HatchbackSport$23,300
Civic HatchbackEX$24,700
Civic HatchbackSport Touring$28,600
Civic Type RType R$37,895
Civic Type RLimited Edition$43,995

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency is something that should be considered for a first car as well.  A car that is more fuel-efficient will have to fill up less, which makes the cost of driving cheaper.

The Honda Civic is great on gas!  For a new driver that has a long commute or just doesn’t want to be at the gas station every two days, this car is a wonderful option.

Below is a chart that outlines how many miles per gallon the Civic gets at each trim level:

ModelTrimMPG (city/highway)
Civic SedanLX31/40
Civic SedanSport30/37
Civic SedanEX33/42
Civic SedanTouring31/38
Civic HatchbackLX31/40 (CVT)
Civic HatchbackSport29/37 (6MT)
29/35 (CVT)
Civic HatchbackEX31/40 (CVT)
Civic HatchbackTouring29/37 (6MT)
29/35 (CVT)
Civic Type RType R22/28
Civic Type RLimited Edition22/28

Ease Of Parking

A benefit of having a smaller car is that it is easier to park than larger cars.  Newer drivers typically have to adjust to parking a car in a different types of parking spots with some being more difficult than others.

A Civic will be easier to parallel park and fit into tighter spaces than an SUV or larger sedan.  Accordingly, if you fit comfortably in the Civic, owning one can make parking as a new driver much easier.

Good Visibility

Another benefit of the Civic is that it has good visibility.  The driver can see clearly out of all of the windows and the car doesn’t have large blind spots. 

This is important as you will be able to more clearly see when making turns and changing lanes, which could help prevent an accident.

For someone who is just getting comfortable behind the wheel, greater visibility is better and safer.

Manual Transmission Option

Another pro is that some models of the Civic come with a manual transmission which is harder to find these days.  If you are a new driver set of getting a stick shift, then the Civic should definitely be a consideration.

The Civic Hatchback Sport, Hatchback Sport Touring, and the Civic Type R and Limited Edition all come with a manual transmission.

Safety Features And Reputation

Honda’s have a good reputation for their safety, which is especially important for a new driver looking to acquire their first car.

Below are some of the key safety features the Civic has to offer:

  • Front collision warning
  • Lane keeping assistance
  • Brake assistance
  • Stability assistance with traction control
  • Advanced front airbags
  • Rear view camera
  • Anti-lock braking
  • Road departure mitigation
  • Traffic sign recognition

Final Thoughts

The Honda Civic is a great option for a first car for those who aren’t looking for a lot of space inside their vehicle.  Civics are reasonably priced, have great safety features, good fuel economy, have good visibility, and are easy to park.

If you are looking for a larger car with all-wheel drive and more power consider the Subaru Legacy or Toyota Camry as your first car.

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