The Honda Civic is the best selling small car in the land. It’s popular with everyone from economy-minded commuters, to growing families, to the new generation of hot rodders. And Honda designers expect this all-new 2006 Civic to easily maintain and even expand that popularity. Let’s see if we agree.
Year after year, the front drive Honda Civic is America’s best selling compact car. Reasons include price, performance, interior room, quality, having both sedan and coupe body styles, and offering advanced powertrains, including natural gas and hybrid.
For 2006 Honda continues the something for everyone approach with an all-new Civic lineup. Volume leader will continue to be the Civic 4-door sedan. Wheelbase has been stretched 3.2 inches to 106.3. That’s just shy of the mid-size Accord. The longer, broader, and stiffer chassis is wrapped in almost futuristic sheet metal. The interior is also totally redesigned, with a unique split-level analog-digital gauge cluster that would look right at home in an experimental aircraft. Familiar trim grades are entry DX, popular LX, and fully loaded EX. All but the DX include cruise control, A/C, power windows, and CD/MP3 audio systems. Satellite radio and navigation are options.
While looking bigger inside and feeling more spacious, we were surprised to find that overall interior space is actually down slightly for 2006. In fact we’re not sure where the extra wheelbase went since front leg room is unchanged, and in the back it drops an inch and a half. The rear seat does fold but the cushions are split 60/40 only on the EX. Trunk space is also down, by 9/10th of a cubic foot, to a modest total of 12 even.
All Civic sedans ride on a MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension. Most 4-door Civics use a larger 1.8-liter single-cam 4-cylinder with variable valve timing. It makes 140 horsepower, up 25 from last year’s 1.7, and 128 pound-feet of torque. The 1.8 with the standard 5-speed manual has an EPA fuel economy rating of 30 city/38 highway. We extracted a fine 34 miles-per-gallon in mixed driving. The optional 5-speed automatic is actually rated a bit higher.
Have a higher quest for miles per gallon? Then try the new Civic Hybrid. It mates a 1.3-liter 4 with Honda’s latest Integrated Motor Assist, for a total output of 110 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. Now capable of running at low speeds on electric power alone, EPA estimates for the Hybrid with its CVT tranny are 50 city/50 highway, which should make it very popular in the year of $3.00-per-gallon gasoline.
Get behind the wheel, and you find a much more solid and sophisticated Civic sedan. The ride is almost luxury car smooth, though a soft front end does produce some push and roll in tight corners. The 1.8-liter engine pulls strongly, especially from 3,000 rpm, and the 5-speed manual shift effort is light if a little notchy. Overall, a much more refined, more advanced, and more powerful Civic. It’s now more than just a compact Accord. But still with compact prices, ranging from $15,110 for the DX manual, to $21,110 for an EX automatic with navigation. Hybrid prices start at $22,400.
The sportier half of the new Civic lineup is various grades of 2-door coupes, including the high performance Si. All coupes ride on their own 104.3 inch wheelbase, up 1.2-inches from last year. Coupe styling is decidedly racier than the 4-door, and makes the appealing Accord Coupe look positively tame.
The interior sports the same two-tier dash as the sedan, but features spiffier trim. As expected the rear seat is child small, while cargo space is 11.5 cubic-feet, almost the same as the sedan. Power comes from either the 4-doors 140 horse 1.8-liter, or in high-performance Si trim, a more than willing 2.0-liter dual-cam variable-timing 4 with 197 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. The Si drivetrain also dons a new 6-speed manual gearbox, with a limited slip differential. And it yields EPA mileage estimates of 22 city/31 highway. We saw 26 miles-per-gallon in our mixed and spirited test loop.
Si track testing produced a 0-60 run of 7.2 seconds, with the quarter mile clocked at 15.6 seconds at 93 miles-per-hour. It revs quicker, pulls harder, and sounds better. Add in the firmer clutch and sharper gearbox, and this is one snappy Si. The same goes for handling, as the Si, with its standard 17-inch rims, precisely carves up corners with excellent balance. Even before tuners get their hands on it, the Si has best in class handling.
If you would like to get your hands on a Civic Coupe, prices start at $14,910 for the basic DX. Si prices are not yet released, but expect them to start around $20,000. Interior measurements aside, the 8th generation 2006 Honda Civic lineup has the variety, style, performance, economy, and prices to easily maintain and, yes, expand its popularity to new heights.
- Engine: 1.8-Liter Single-cam 4-Cylinder
- Horsepower: 140
- Torque: 128 Lb Feet
- EPA: 30 City/38 Highway MPG
- Mixed Loop: 34 MPG
- 0-60 MPH (si): 7.2 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile (si): 15.6 Seconds @ 93 MPH
Long Term Updates
No car has received a more favorable reception from the press and public alike than the 2006 Honda Civic. Indeed the Civic is our Drivers’ Choice Best Small Car and Best Of The Year winner. A big reason for the accolades is that the latest Civic lineup is so comprehensive. From commuter sedan, to performance coupe, to hybrid four-door, there is a Civic for every desire. Plus, it has more style, inside and out, than any Civic before it.
So far our Civic is treating us very well. We’ve racked up over 2,200 mixed miles in about 6 weeks, and enjoyed fuel economy of 34.6 miles per gallon while doing it. And our Civic LX is an automatic! And it still moves smartly with its 140 horsepower 1.8-liter 4.
The interior is spacious and trendy, with its most prominent feature, the high set digital speedometer, the only aspect that gets mixed reviews.
So who says you need a tiny car or even a hybrid for impressive economy and style? The Honda Civic manages both with ease.
Timing of the all-new 2006 Honda Civic compact was just about perfect. The 8th generation Civic arrived last fall, just as gas prices went through the roof. It was an instant hit. Indeed the Civic is our Drivers’ Choice Best Small Car, and Best Of The Year winner.
Or should we say winners! From commuter sedan, to performance coupe, to hybrid four-door, there is Civic for everyone. And everyone will be pleased with our Civic’s fuel economy. At the 3 month mark we’ve driven over 5,200 miles, and enjoyed fuel economy of 32.5 miles per gallon while doing it. Yet it still moves smartly with a 140 horsepower 1.8-liter 4 and smooth shifting 5-speed automatic.
We find the interior trendy, fairly quiet, and surprisingly comfortable for long trips. But staffers complain about the lack of an auxiliary stereo input for their iPods. And the rear view mirror shakes too much on ordinary roads.
So far that’s the only nit picks about our Honda Civic, an impressive effort that arrived none too soon.
The Honda Civic is one of the best-selling small cars in America. In fact, the all-new 2006 Civic is on course for a new calendar year sales record. While such honors are nothing new to Civic, the introduction of the 8th generation Civic compact just as gas prices ballooned was the luckiest of timing. And, from commuter sedan to performance coupe to hybrid four-door, there is a Civic for everyone.
But you don’t need to go hybrid for great Civic fuel economy. After 6 months and 12,000 very mixed miles, fuel use stands at 32.7 miles-per-gallon of regular grade for our LX.
Our staff praises the interior room which rivals many mid-size cars. Plus, one of our beefs, no auxiliary input for iPods and alike, has been cured in the LX for ’07.
The standard 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter four moves us smartly and the 5-speed automatic shifts smoothly. It has also been completely trouble free. The 2006 Honda Civic is a smart small-car choice. And, picking the 2006 Honda Civic as MotorWeek‘s “Best of the Year” makes us look smarter every day.
With so many choices in compact cars, what is it that makes the Honda Civic such a standout?
Maybe it’s the low, sporty styling that appeals to the speed freak in us. Or the roomy, almost show-car like interior with its controversial split-level, analog-digital gauge cluster.
We know it’s the competent driving experience that this 2006 Civic LX delivers. Nothing spectacular but never disappointing. The standard 140 horsepower 1.8-liter 4 moves us confidently while the 5-speed automatic shifts smoothly. And then there is the great fuel economy. After 16,000 miles it’s a rock steady 32.6 miles-per-gallon on regular fuel.
Problems have been limited to annoyances like a vibrating rear view mirror, and we would like a trunk release button on the remote key fob. We really don’t have a lot of suggestions on how to improve the Honda Civic. It’s pretty terrific just as it is.
With the 2006 Honda Civic, the most award-winning small car of our time, you have to admit its low, lean sporty styling really makes it a standout, along with the fact that the interior is still a marvel in room and packaging, even if its two-level digital gauge cluster is not everyone’s ideal.
And, let’s not forget the Civic is oh-so-easy on gas. Our test LX sedan is returning a stellar 33.1 miles-per-gallon after 11 months and 17,000 mostly commuter-car miles. The standard 140 horsepower 1.8-liter 4 is smooth and reasonably quiet, while the 5-speed automatic shifts with confidence.
While nothing has broken, annoyances include a vibrating rear view mirror, and we miss a trunk release button on the remote key fob. Regardless, this eighth generation Honda Civic deserves to be the best selling small car in the land.