No matter how people are buying crossovers, we’re not going to see the end of small cars anytime soon. With better fuel economy, nimbler performance, and ability to park downtown, there will always be a use for compact sedans and coupes.
The Honda Civic continues to be at or near the top of that class. In terms of sales, no small car (not even Toyota Corolla) sells better, and Civic still commands a place in the top 10 on the U.S. market. Meanwhile, its edge in performance has only grown in recent years with the release of the Type-R and Sport hatchback.
For the 2019 model year, Honda kept the changes coming with a refreshed Civic. Here’s everything you’ll find new in this model.
1. Standard Honda Sensing safety tech
We’ve seen Honda make its advanced safety suite standard in the new Pilot SUV, and the automaker said it will have the technology in every base model by 2022. In the 2019 Civic, you’ll find the promise fulfilled early: All trims get Honda Sensing standard.
This suite includes collision-mitigation braking, forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, and adaptive-cruise control. Road Departure Mitigation, which includes lane-departure alerts, also comes in the Honda Sensing package.
2. Exterior design changes
While introducing the 2019 Civic, Honda emphasized its sporty character and enduring popularity among the under-35 crowd. The message here is clear: It’s not the boring (though utterly reliable) Corolla. This Civic will keep pushing that advantage.
In the standard coupe and sedan, you’ll see more black in the upper fascia, a revamped bumper and grille, plus a restyled lower fascia. Compared to the current model, we noticed less chrome up front. Meanwhile, new LED headlights change the first impression more than you might expect.
Chrome side and rear-bumper accents further differentiate the new Civic. Finally, new wheels, with 18-inch rims for the Touring trim, continue the updating of this car’s look.
3. 2019 Civic Sport Coupe and Sedan
With the current Civic lineup, buyers will only find a Sport trim in the five-door hatch. This model features a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbo engine (180 horsepower) with either a manual transmission or CVT. There are two trims, one that comes in just above the base model and a range-topping Sport Touring model.
The new 2019 Civic Sport Coupe and Sedan will also fall in between the first two trims (EX and LX), but this one will get a 2.0-liter engine with the six-speed manual or CVT. On the exterior, you find a black lower fascia and 10-spoke, 18-inch wheels also getting a black finish.
Out back, the sedan will get a rear decklid spoiler and splitter-style bumper over an exhaust pipe much like Civic Si’s. Rounding out this slick new trim is a 7-inch Display Audio (with volume knob) set up for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
4. Fuel economy, safety ratings, release date
Without major mechanical changes, we expect the refreshed Civic Coupe to hold the line on fuel economy for most engines. The lineup peaks at an EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined for the 1.5-liter engine with automatic transmission.
From there, manual and coupe 1.5-liter models get 35 mpg combined. Hatchback models rank at the bottom of the Civic’s impressive lineup at 34 mpg for the 1.5 and 32 mpg for the Sport edition. (We’ll have to wait on the new Sport trim’s rating.)
The 2018 Civic aced its crash tests and scored at the top of the class for advanced safety tech but missed getting any safety awards due to its headlights. We’ll see if these updates change that.
Honda has not announced when the 2019 Civic will appear in dealerships, but given the timing we can take a guess. Since pricing and other elements have yet to be confirmed, we’d expect it in dealerships in November at the earliest.