KBB’s Compact Car Best Buy of 2023
Does everything well
Some competitors offer a hybrid powertrain
Base LX trim dropped
Type R model returns
The Honda Civic is KBB’s highest-rated compact car of 2023 and a Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award winner. Pricing starts at $24,650.
The 2023 Honda
Civic is a well-rounded compact car that does just about everything right. It looks good, drives well, and has a proven track record of exceptional reliability and resale value. For these reasons and many more, it’s KBB’s Compact Car Best Buy of 2023. Available in traditional sedan and flexible hatchback body styles, the Honda Civic competes primarily with the Toyota
Forte, and Hyundai Elantra.
The 2023 Honda Civic
2023 Honda Civic pricing
The 2023 Honda Civic starts at $24,650. This is a higher starting price than most compact cars, but that’s because the entry-level Civic is better-equipped than most other base models. Honda dropped the Civic LX from the lineup for 2023, leaving the more popular, more recommendable Sport as the entry model. We applaud the move.
Still, Civic buyers can expect to pay a bit more than they would for a comparably equipped Toyota Corolla or Hyundai
Elantra, for instance, but we think the premium is well worth it for most.
Civic Sport sedan: $24,650 — Most popular
Civic EX sedan: $26,050
Civic Touring sedan: $29,650
These are the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices (MSRP) and don’t include the $1,095 factory-to-dealer delivery fee. Honda hasn’t announced pricing for the 2023 Civic hatchback lineup. The performance-oriented Civic Si starts at $28,100, and the race-ready Civic Type R will likely start at around $40,000.
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Class-leading resale value
The Honda Civic earns KBB’s Best Resale Value award for compact cars. When it comes time to sell, the Civic might fetch an extra $2,000 or more than some competitors. And who wouldn’t want an extra $2,000 toward their next down payment?
What’s new for 2023
Having just been redesigned for 2022, there aren’t many changes for 2023. The big news is that the Civic LX base trim has been dropped, leaving the Sport trim as the new entry Civic. The high-performance Civic Type R also returns for 2023, but that’s a different animal altogether.
Driving the 2023 Honda Civic
The 2023 Honda Civic is a pleasure to drive for several reasons. Most trims of the Civic come with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that strikes an excellent balance of performance and efficiency. This has always been a specialty of the Civic nameplate, and the 2023 model upholds that reputation. This is a fun car to drive with the turbo, and you’ll never feel guilty about wasting gas when enjoying the drive.
Ironically, the base Sport trim is the least sporty variant of the Civic. It comes with a naturally aspirated (non-turbo) 4-cylinder engine with less power, less torque, and slightly worse fuel economy than the available turbo engine. The base engine isn’t bad, but the turbo is worth the modest price bump because it’s more powerful and efficient.
As for driving comfort, there’s very little reason for complaint, regardless of the engine. In our testing, we enjoyed the smooth, comfortable, and reasonably quiet ride of the Civic.
The athletic driving character of the Honda Civic is comparable to the Mazda3, which is another practical compact car that’s fun to drive.
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The interior of the Honda Civic has a tasteful simplicity. The understated design uses clean lines and a handsome honeycomb metal mesh strip through the dash. We found the infotainment screen and climate controls to be well-placed and easy to reach from the driver’s seat.
The interior materials are impressive for a car in this price range. Everything we touch from the driver’s seat feels nice, and we love the loaded Touring trim. The Touring model treats the driver to premium features like leather-trimmed seats, a wireless phone charger, a 9-inch infotainment system, and a Bose audio system, while keeping the starting price under $30,000.
The front seats are plenty roomy, even for taller adults. We climbed into the back, and there’s plenty of room back there for children and adults alike.
The trunk of the Civic sedan is big for a car this size, and we love the wide opening making it easy to load and unload. The Civic hatchback has almost 10 extra cubic feet of cargo space compared to the sedan, and you get even more space if you fold down the back seats. For example, in our long-term hatchback test model, we can fit a mountain bike in the back without having to remove the front wheel.
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Like so many timeless designs, the newest Civic keeps getting more and more attractive. Its pleasing proportions and clean lines come together in a sophisticated design.
The Civic hatchback offers the flexibility to hold more and bigger cargo than the sedan, but with a sleeker, sloping roofline than a traditional, boxy hatchback.
The Civic’s dimensions are in line with other compact cars like the Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, and Nissan
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Our favorite features and tech
Two body stylesThe Honda Civic is available as a sensible sedan or a more adventurous hatchback with the cargo flexibility to swallow a bicycle, for instance.
Honda SensingEvery Honda Civic comes standard with the Honda Sensing safety tech suite. Honda Sensing bundles driver assistance features like automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.
Drive modesNormal, Sport, and Econ driving modes let you choose the driving character that suits your personality, or the moment.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlayAndroid Auto and Apple
CarPlay are handy smartphone connectivity features that let you bring your maps, music, and more to the screen in your car. They both come standard on every Civic, but if you get the available 9-inch infotainment system, you can connect your phone to the car wirelessly.
Bose audio systemThe Touring, Sport Touring, and Si trims come with an immersive Bose 12-speaker premium audio system that made us feel like we were in a more expensive car. It not only upgrades the sound with high-quality speakers, but Bose Centerpoint technology creates a surround-sound effect for a concert-like experience.
Multiple performance modelsEvery Honda Civic is enjoyable to drive, but the sporty Civic Si and ferocious Civic Type R turn up the adrenaline. The Civic Si is a blast to drive at any speed while retaining an affordable price tag, and the Type R is a track-ready beast.
Engine and transmission
The Civic Sport is the most popular trim, and it features an excellent 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 158 horsepower and up to 37 mpg on the highway. Higher trims are outfitted with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that’s both more powerful and more efficient. Most Civics are equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission, but a 6-speed manual remains available.
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2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine158 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm138 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/37 mpg (Sport sedan), 26/36 mpg (Sport hatchback manual), 29/37 mpg (Sport hatchback auto)
1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine180 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/42 mpg (EX sedan), 31/38 mpg (Touring sedan), 31/39 mpg (EX-L hatchback), 28/37 mpg (Sport hatchback manual), 30/37 mpg (Sport hatchback CVT)
More Civic fuel economy information is available on the EPA’s website.
The Civic Si features a version of the turbocharged engine above, but tuned to deliver about 10% more horsepower and torque (200 hp, 195 lb-ft). The all-new Civic Type R is the most powerful Civic of all time, boasting 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.
The 2023 Honda Civic is backed by a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. This warranty is pretty average for a compact car, but the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte have longer warranties.
KBB’s car review methodology.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.