This is not just the first time the Civic has had a turbocharged engine, it’s the first time a turbocharged engine has graced a model in the North American Honda lineup. Whether you choose the recently updated 2.0L 4-cylinder or the new turbocharged 1.5L 4-cylinder, you’ll have a powerful engine that leaves competing small cars playing catch-up.
Power: The entry-level Civic LX and the upgraded Civic EX both sport a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine with 158 hp, while EX-T, EX-L, and Touring trim levels have a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 174 hp.
Torque: The standard 2.0L engine is rated at 138 lb-ft of torque while the 1.5L turbocharged engine can deliver as much as 167 lb-ft of torque with its standard manual transmission (EX-T CVT models are capable of up to 162 lb-ft).
Transmission: It’s not as big of a first as “first turbocharged engine,” but 2017 is the first year drivers can have a Civic with the turbocharged engine and a manual transmission for that classic feeling of control. If fuel economy is your top priority, however, the CVT might be more up your alley; we encourage a test drive of both.
One last note on performance: If you like a vocal car, be sure to experience the Civic firsthand. The new turbocharged engine offers a rumble that’s felt more than heard thanks to advanced cabin sound isolation from Honda.
So, which of the engines is right for you? It’s not a decision we can make for you, but we have some thoughts on each:
2.0L 4-Cylinder: The standard engine is more powerful and more efficient than many small sedans on the market, and that means simply choosing the Civic brings an advantage. If you’re on a tighter budget, or a few hp or mpg aren’t enough motivation to upgrade, you may want to go with the base engine.
1.5L Turbo: For drivers willing to upgrade, the turbocharged engine brings more power and more efficiency, full stop. Now that there’s a manual transmission option available, stick-shift fans aren’t stuck with the smaller engine by default, either. Go with the turbo if you have the budget for a Civic that’s even more powerful and more efficient.
With four engine / transmission combinations available, don’t feel like you need to decide right now. You should feel free to test drive a couple of them to see the differences and feel which car is right for you.