2009 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L Navi

Although I am not enamored with the look of this latest Civic - it reminds me of a horseshoe crab - the interior is just as welcoming and comfortable as it always has been. The low cowl makes for great visibility and makes the cockpit feel much bigger than it is, the down side being the previously mentioned horizontal stretch of plastic connecting the dash to the windshield base. I love the blue gauges and the high-mounted, extra-large type digital speedo. The dash is simple and straightforward and you don't have to look more than once to find any controls.

I agree with Zenlea on the low quality of the plastics. The shifter looks especially cheap and feels only marginally better. Perhaps the manual-equipped Civic is better. The steering wheel, though, which is partially wrapped in perforated leather, is the highlight of the cabin. Its compact size and finger-tip audio controls suit this Civic's $24,000 price.

Speaking of price, wow! There are a number cars I would consider before dropping $24,000 on a Civic. Yes, it's smooth and probably reliable as can be but it feels a bit cold to me and is a little light on style. This being said, I think Honda's highly regarded manual transmission would go a long way toward upping the driving excitement.

Unlike Rusty, I was surprised by the absence of road noise especially when compared with the Ford Focus. The Honda's 1.8-liter engine is also noticeably more quiet than the Ford's 2.0-liter unit especially when driving at or above 80 mph.

Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor

New Car Research

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