The Honda Civic may not be as automatic a choice as it once was due to improved competition, but its variety of configurations, high fuel economy and ease of ownership keep it among the best compact sedans and coupes.
Trying to stay at the head of the compact car segment is like trying to remain a top seed in professional tennis: Fresher and newer rivals are always putting a target on your back. Yet just like Roger Federer or Serena Williams, Honda's Civic has remained near or at the top of the rankings for years. True, Honda took its eye off the ball a few years ago and let this stalwart slip in terms of cabin quality and features. But the company quickly took care of those weak areas the following year. For 2015, the Honda Civic continues to be one of the top picks in a field packed with talented entries.
Any No. 1 in the world will have a lot of key strengths, and the Civic is no different. Smooth and fuel-efficient performance is near the top of the list. Most Civics come with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that provides solid fuel economy -- up to 35 mpg in combined driving if you pick the HF trim level. Alternatively, you can get the Civic Hybrid for even better fuel economy (45 mpg), the Natural Gas model (the only car in its class to run on CNG) or the Civic Si and its 205-horsepower engine for sportier performance.
A comfortable ride, a spacious interior
Still, there are some very worthy rivals. The 2015 Ford Focus, 2015 Kia Forte and 2015 Mazda 3 are three of our favorites. In comparison with the Civic, the Ford and Mazda stand out for their sporty performance and style, and the Forte for its features and value. Civic Hybrid shoppers will find that the Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Golf or Jetta TDI are strong alternatives, while performance enthusiasts considering the Civic Si should also test-drive the rowdy Ford Focus ST and refined Volkswagen GTI. Overall, though, we're very impressed with Honda's player in the competitive compact car game and have given it an Edmunds.com "A" rating and included it as a top recommended