2019 Honda Civic Underscores Commitment to Cars
- All 2019 Honda Civic sedans and coupes get Honda Sensing safety suite as standard
- Update includes physical volume knob and climate control buttons
- Lineup receives exterior freshening and new Sport trim
- With up to 42 mpg, the Civic is a well-positioned hedge against rising gas prices
- 2019 Civic is priced from $19,450 and on sale now
Honda’s venerable compact car – available as a sedan, hatchback and coupe – and available with powertrains that offer everything from 40 mpg-plus efficiency to a screaming 306 horsepower in the Type R, has long been a favorite among consumers and critics. By Honda’s count it is the best-selling car at the retail level in its segment, and it has won countless Kelley Blue Book awards, including the Compact Car Best Buy of 2019.
But even those at the top of their game have room for improvement, and for the 2019 Civic, Honda has rectified the two major nits against it. The bigger news, however, comes in the bigger picture, and that’s Honda’s overall commitment to selling compact cars.
Small but significant updates
For this mid-cycle refresh of the 2019 Civic, Honda is addressing two sticking points that have aggravated many a driver: the lack of a volume knob and physical fan speed controls.
Until this update, most Civic models required a touch-based swipe of a finger to adjust the volume, while simply changing the fan speed required a 2-step process of pressing the “climate” button, then using the touchscreen to select fan speed. Both issues have been rectified and now volume adjustment and climate settings are far easier to control with physical buttons.
The other big news for 2019 is that the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistance features is now standard on all Civic models except the performance-oriented Si and Type R. The system bundles adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and road-departure mitigation. Honda Sensing comes on five trims of the 2019 Honda Civic: LX, the new Sport trim, EX, EX-L, and Touring.
Other updates include additional sound deadening for a quieter ride, a freshened front fascia that gives the Civic a wider aesthetic, easier Bluetooth pairing, larger cupholders and redesigned steering wheel controls.
Committed to cars
During a media presentation of the new Civic, Honda officials emphasized that while other automakers are backing away from smaller cars, Honda is committed to the segment.
As more consumers flock to crossover SUVs, small sedans like the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 have been axed or are in the blade’s path. But the fact is, there’s still demand for small cars, and that’s good news for automakers like Honda that remain in the segment.
Honda says its sales mix is 47 percent cars and 53 percent light trucks, which includes crossover SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Pilot. That compares with an industry average sales mix of 30 percent cars and 70 percent light trucks. The brand has good reason for sticking with the traditional cars. Honda says that the Civic has been the No. 1 selling car among millennial buyers every year since 2011, remains the best-selling car in America on the retail level, and is a big seller among first-time buyers.
For 2018, the Civic also captured the overall sales crown in its segment, moving over 325,000 units. That’s a significant number, and one that Honda points out is more sales for a single model line than the entire lineups of 30 other brands.
The 2019 Honda Civic: A good deal now, and perhaps more so soon
Still, there’s no denying that Civic sales have softened. Last year, they were down nearly 14 percent.
While that may not be welcome news to Honda, it can be a positive for savvy shoppers. Even with the inclusion of Honda Sensing, the Honda Civic base price has risen only about $500 beyond the outgoing model. On sale now, the 2019 Honda Civic starts at $19,450, not including a $920 destination fee.
For those opting to lease, Honda is offering a deal of $189/month for a 2019 Civic Sedan LX trim with an automatic transmission. The terms are for 36 months with $2,199 due at signing.
Then there’s an even bigger picture to keep in mind: rising gasoline prices. At this writing, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline is around $2.88, according to AAA. That remains the highest we’ve seen this year, and is 63 cents higher than the start of 2019. In places like California, the price has again crossed the $4/gallon threshold, with the state averaging $4.09 per gallon, per AAA.
As we’ve seen time and time again, when gasoline prices rise, fuel-efficient cars like the Civic again look all the more tempting, and brands like Honda that are staying committed to them will appear wise for doing so. According to the EPA, the 2019 Honda Civic is good for up to 42 mpg, with other trims and models firmly in the high 30 mpg range.
If you’re currently shopping for a new car, keep this bigger picture in mind. If gasoline’s upward swing continues, we can pretty much guarantee that buying a Civic today will look like an even smarter choice tomorrow.