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It is hard to imagine that Honda could make the Civic any better than it has been for the duration of its current generation. 2016 saw the welcoming of the tenth generation of Civics, far surpassing the previous generation in terms of power, functionality, and technology. While the ninth generation had a lot of issues, Honda seems to have smoothed all of them over and then some.
One of the aspects of the Civic line-up that makes it so attractive to buyers year after year is the fact that it offers multiple model styles. For the 2019 model year, Honda offers the Civic Coupe, Si Coupe, Sedan, Si Sedan, Hatchback, and Type R. Also, depending on the style, there are five different trim levels to choose from: the LX, Sport, EX, EX-L (which is available exclusively on the Sedan) and the Touring. Each trim offers a good amount of power and features, and regardless of which trim you buy, you will get what you paid for in terms of both quality and quantity.
But which trim is the right one for you? Let's delve deeper into the differences between each of the Civic's trim levels to help determine which one is the best fit for your unique needs.
Compare the 2019 Honda Civic LX vs Sport - What is the difference?
As far as base trims go, the 2019 Honda Civic LX is considerably well-equipped. The LX is powered by a standard 2.0-L 4-cylinder engine that is able to generate 158 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets paired up with a 6-speed manual transmission, although an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also available. It sits atop 16-inch wheels, which come either as alloy on the coupe models or are manufactured from steel on the sedans.
The Sport trim is similarly equipped but, instead of the 16-inch wheels, is decked out with larger 18-inch wheels. Of course, the goal with the Sport trim is to give it a sportier performance and appearance. The body of the Sport is crafted differently from the other trim levels so as to make it more aerodynamic, which is something you should expect from a brand new sports car.
Additionally, the Sport trim ups the ante on the technological front. Instead of the LX's standard 5-inch display monitor, the Sport swaps in the larger 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen. Honda's infotainment system, known as HondaLink, can be accessed through this touchscreen display. Also, drivers can choose to integrate the apps from their smartphones using either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Also, upgrading to the Sport trim gets you an eight-speaker sound system versus the LX's four-speaker set-up. The Sport also adds an extra USB port for plugging in portable devices.
A little bit of luxury also makes its way into the Sport, and it comes in the form of a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel. Although this is likely not the most high-end leather you can get put into a vehicle, it does look aesthetically pleasing and gives the trim a sportier vibe.
Compare the 2019 Civic Sport vs EX Trims. What is the difference?
The EX is the next trim level up from the Sport, and its equipment takes the Civic from a decent vehicle to a powerful one. The key to its nearly-flawless performance is the swapping out of the 2.0-L 4-cylinder base engine for a stronger 1.5-L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Matched nicely with the CVT, this engine is able to get 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. This boosts the fuel economy numbers up to a solid 36 mpg combined. It also significantly improves the Civic's ability to accelerate. This engine alone is reason enough to upgrade to the EX trim, but there are even more differences that Honda drivers will appreciate. The 1.5-L can get the Civic up to 60 mph on the highway in just a little under 7 seconds, which is an excellent time for a vehicle in this class.
Honda slaps most of the Sport's standard technological features onto the EX and adds a few more driver aids, including the LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring camera system. And as for creature comforts? Those who buy the EX get to enjoy a one-touch power moonroof, a driver's seat that is power-adjustable eight different ways, heating on both front seats, and a dual zone automatic climate control system.
On the EX and above, Honda equips a smart entry system that features a walk-away automatic locking mechanism. This gives you the ability to lock and unlock the doors to your Civic without having to break out your set of keys. Also, the automatic locking feature can detect when you have walked away from the vehicle without locking the doors and will do so for you. This theft-prevention feature reflects just how much thought Honda puts into making its vehicles safe and keeping them that way.
Compare the Civic EX vs EX-L - What is the difference?
The EX and EX-L have a lot in common, as their names tend to suggest. They both come with many of the same standard features, such as smartphone app integration, a powertrain composed of the 1.5-L engine and CVT, push button start, the 7-inch touchscreen display, HondaLink, and Honda LaneWatch. Where the two trim levels come into stark contrast is with their creature comforts.
If the "L" in EX-L is any indicator, luxury is emphasized on this trim level - much more so than it is on the EX. The EX-L receives some seriously chic leather upholstery (as opposed to the standard-issue cloth upholstery on the EX trim). While the cloth upholstery on the lower trim levels definitely does not look cheap and tacky, the leather upholstery is a serious upgrade that gives the Civic an even more refined and expensive appearance. In fact, its appearance is one that rivals what you find in some actual luxury vehicles with much higher price tags than the Civic's.
Honda also includes its HomeLink Remote System on the EX-L trim. HomeLink is a vehicle-based, multi-function system that lets the driver control their garage door and home security system with the touch of a button. It even allows you to turn your home's lighting and electrical appliances on or off from your place in the driver's seat. Again, not only is this system highly convenient, it also has the Honda trademark of putting safety first. For the peace of mind you can get from this system, it can be worth the cost to upgrade from the EX to the EX-L.
One more bonus you get on the EX-L that you don't get from the EX is an automatically dimming rearview mirror. This might not seem like an important upgrade, but it is absolutely a convenient one to have. If you consistently drive at night, you have probably found yourself getting annoyed by the lights glaring in at you from other vehicles or from street lights. This feature might not seem that important, but when you consider the fact that the glare you normally get reduces your reaction time by almost a second and a half, it starts to seem a bit more important.
Compare the Civic EX-L vs Touring Trims. What is the difference?
There is no doubt to be had that the Honda EX-L packs in a lot of nice creature comforts. However, if luxury is your objective for buying a new vehicle, then the Touring trim is worthy of consideration. For about $3,000 more than the MSRP of the EX-L, the Touring gives you a face full of extra features.
You want chrome door handles? You've got them. Sport pedals? Yup, those are included as well. The rain-sensing windshield wipers are also a neat upgrade. The 18-inch alloy wheels look great and provide a smooth enough ride quality, and the heated outboard seats in the rear are certainly enjoyable for passengers.
However, the real bulk of the Touring's differences comes from its infotainment upgrades. Drivers who rely on built-in navigation will likely want to try out the satellite-linked navigational system, which comes with a digital traffic display and voice recognition features. While the system is a vast improvement over what Honda featured on previous model years, the voice control feature is rather complicated. Most drivers will probably find themselves relying on Android Auto or Apple CarPlay instead.
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Which One Should You Choose?
No matter which body style and trim level you choose, the 2019 Honda Civic is a top-notch vehicle. While the LX trim is better equipped than other base cars in its segment and the line-topping Touring can be extremely appealing for its luxury, it might be best to meet somewhere in the middle.
Both the EX and EX-L trims provide an excellent balance between powerful performance and luxurious looks. Both have the same excellent 1.5-L engine and abundance of standard features. The key difference here is how much more you are willing to spend on getting a few more luxury features. If you can swing the extra few thousand dollars, the EX-L is worth it for the HomeLink system and automatically dimming rearview mirror.
• Compare the 2018 Honda Civic Trim Levels