REVIEW: 2019 Honda Civic Coupe Touring CVT – Colorful Anti-Crossover

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The 2019 Civic Coupe Touring CVT continues its decades-long tradition of mixing compact dimensions with jaunty styling with roomy practicality.

What is it? 

The Civic Coupe is a mainstream compact two-door with trims that reflect thrift, luxury, or sportiness.

The current crossover craze has cleaved off many of the Civic Coupe Touring CVT’s’s competitors, and so the Hyundai Veloster looms large in its side view.

If you de-emphasized the Civic Coupe’s practicality, then maybe you’d also be comparing it to pre-owned muscle cars like the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang, and there are plenty of Toyota 86s and Subaru BRZs on dealer lots as well.

Pricing and trims

The Civic Coupe has four main trims which bracket into two groups: those with a turbocharger attached to its four-cylinder engine (boosting horsepower ratings from 158 to 174), and those without.

The latter is comprised by the LX and Sport, and EX and Touring round out the speedier trims. There is a Civic Coupe still available with a manual transmission, but it’s hooked to a non-turbo engine in the Sport.

Looking for a new or used Honda Civic Coupe? Check out BestRide’s listings search here.

For maximum coupe urge, you’d opt for the $25,230 Civic Si Coupe and its 205 horses and active-damper suspension. The 306-horsepower, $37,230 Civic Hatchback Type R occupies the top seat in Civic performance.

Civic Coupe prices (including the $930 destination charge) start at $21,680 for the LX CVT and rise to $27,880 for the tested Touring CVT pictured here.

It really didn’t need any options, as the Touring comes very well-equipped. A power sunroof adds to the coupe flair…

…and Sport Pedals brighten up the driver’s footwell.

Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Civic Coupe top marks for crash protection, with a “Poor” rating for the headlights being the only red mark.

All Civic Coupes come standard with Honda Sensing, the brand’s suite of active and passive safety features. It includes Collision Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Honda LaneWatch is our favorite. Unfortunately Honda appears to be phasing it out in newer vehicles, and that’s a shame, because after just a few blocks in a Honda with the this feature, you’d swear all cars should have it.

It starts with a camera mounted in the right mirror.

Flip the right turn signal, and a side-view image appears on the center screen. Honda says the view is four times as large as a traditional mirror’s, and it’s a huge help in sussing out the bicyclists or electric scooters or whatever else is tucked in your wake.

LaneWatch can also activated with a press on the end of the turn-signal lever.

Performance

The Civic Coupe Touring CVT does well with its turbocharged 1.5-liter engine. You’d think that an engine of such piddling displacement – the non-turbo Civics are 2.0-liters – would trudge off the line, but there’s decent scoot from the moment you ask for it.

The Civic Coupe Touring CVT’s transmission evinced the rubbery power delivery typical of CVTs, and it was especially evident on steep hills, where the greater low-speed power needs seemed to deepen the response’s elasticity.

The shifter itself is a win in two ways: first, it’s a lever with positive action, not a series of buttons with varied responses.

Second, the shifter pegs Sport mode as the last selection, which means you don’t have to go fumbling for a separate switch to have some fun.

Ride and handling

Over the road, the Civic Coupe Touring CVT felt ready to play. Steering feels direct and lets through some road feel; the brakes had little slack. Body roll was controlled, and this Touring lived up to its name with a comfortable ride. If you’re of a performance mind, then the Civic Si Coupe would be your logical next step.

Seating

As you would expect of a mass-market compact, the Civic Coupe Touring CVT’s interior is broadly accommodating.

Front seats have somewhat narrow cushions, but they’re not confining, so the bigger among us will find room to work.

Predictably, the slanted rear glass won’t allow for six-footers beneath it if they sit up straight. But since this is a family-car platform, there are nearly 36 inches of legroom, and so tall folks have room to slide their hips forward a bit.

Cargo

The Civic Coupe Touring CVT’s trunk charts at low end of compact cars, with 11.9 cubic feet of space.

Pull on the handy tabs and poke the seatbacks, and the space opens up.

The opening between the rear seat and trunk is relatively wide and tall.

There’s a real spare tire beneath the load floor, along with slivers of space to stash very small items.

The trunk lid is nicely finished with a fibrous material, but Honda persists in denying its users an inside handle with which to flip down the lid. It means the lip (and the users) will accumulate dirty fingerprints from bringing it down from the outside.

Infotainment and controls

Honda watchers everywhere celebrated the return of the volume knob to the brand’s infotainment systems. That and the left-side flank of hard controls made it easy to navigate the interface.

And Honda deserves credit for continuing to simplify that interface. Hard to miss the meanings of magnifying glasses and giant push pins, eh?

Overall

The 2019 Civic Coupe Touring CVT is a proper continuation on the affordable-coupe theme: sporty styling on a solid sedan foundation for both zoom and roominess.

Or at least the feeling of zoom. The indirectness of the tester’s CVT’s response would have your writer opting instead for the Civic Coupe Sport or the Civic Si Coupe and their six-speed manual transmissions.

Otherwise, the Civic Coupe Touring CVT was very pleasing.

The low roof that cuts rear headroom encases the front cabin in a sleek and angular cocoon, and the high padded center console encourages you to kick back and see who’s checking out your coupe.

In a world of crossover boxes that are anxiously styled to look sporty, it’s nice to be in a vehicle that actually feels that way.

2019 Honda Civic Coupe Touring CVT

Base price: $26,950

Price as tested, including $930 destination charge: $27,880. 

Likes:

  • Comfortable front seats
  • Improved infotainment system
  • Helpful LaneWatch camera
  • Roomy interior and trunk

Dislikes:

  • Limited rear headroom
  • Narrow front-seat cushions for some
  • Elastic CVT response
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