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Updated For ’13 And ’14, Would Honda Revise the Civic Yet Again For 2015?

What changes will make it different?

Expect the 2015 versions of these outstanding compact sedans and coupes to largely stand pat following a round of 2014 enhancements that included a major shift in transmission philosophy. Following a model-year 2012 redesign that was slammed by auto critics but popular with buyers, Civics received moderate to major revisions for ‘13 and ’14. With a full redesign due for model-year 2016, updates for ‘15 likely won’t amount to more than some new color choices and maybe some features juggling.

Why should I wait for the 2015 model?

There’s probably no real reason, other than to see if Honda needed to work on any kinks in its 2014 move away from conventional automatic gearboxes to a continuously variable transmission (CVT). And if you like the styling of today’s car, it could be your final chance before the planned 2016 redesign.

Should I buy the current 2014 instead?

It’ll have all the key ingredients to see it through to the 2016 redesign, including styling that’ll look fresher a bit longer than a 2015’s would. High on the list of model-year ’14 alterations was a CVT in place of a five-speed automatic transmission. CVTs use a belt system instead of set gears and are designed to behave like a traditional automatic but with the promise of higher gas mileage. Other updates included improved styling and more features for the coupe, and interior enhancements for all models, with some adopting a new 7-inch touchscreen display for the audio system. The sporty Si versions got a slight bump in horsepower.

Will the styling be different?

Not likely. The automaker successfully dressed up the sedan inside and out for ’13 to address criticism that it looked dull and needed better cabin materials. It did the same for the 2014 coupe, which is sportier looking than the sedan, but smaller overall to cater to younger buyers who don’t need much of a rear seat. The four-door far outsells it and is one of the more spacious cars in the class. Expect no alterations to a model lineup of LX, EX, EX-L, and Si models, with the sedan additionally available as a fuel-economy-maximizing HF version, a gas-electric Hybrid, and a low-volume special that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).

Any mechanical changes?

All but the Si, Hybrids, and CNG use a 143-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. LX and EX editions come with a five-speed manual transmission. The CVT is optional on those and standard on the EX-L, HF, Hybrid and CNG. The Si’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder gained 4 horsepower, for a total of 205, for ’14; it links only to a six-speed manual transmission. Civic Hybrids pair a 1.5-liter gas four-cylinder with a battery-powered electric motor for 110 net horsepower. Natural gas models have a 1.8-liter four with 110 horsepower. Overall, Civics are not the pacesetters for athletic road manners they once were – look to the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and Volkswagen Golf for that – but their blend of handling and composure is hard to fault. And Si versions will satisfy your budget-enthusiast urges quite nicely. They were enhanced for ’14 with larger, 18-inch tires on redesigned alloy wheels.

Will fuel economy improve?

Introduction of the CVT boosted EPA ratings by up to 2 mpg in city driving and further advances are unlikely for 2015. With the 1.8-liter and manual transmission, look for 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined. CVT-equipped sedans should again rate 30/39/33 mpg and coupes 29/38/33. With its aerodynamic aids and other gas-saving tweaks the HF ought to repeat at 31/41/35. The Si ratings should stay at 22/31/25 mpg and the Hybrid’s at an impressive 44/44/44. Expect 27/38/31 from the CNG sedan.

Will it have new features?

Nothing major after the ’14 updates brought passel of new standard and available items, including a 7-inch touchscreen audio touchscreen, keyless entry with pushbutton engine start, automatic on/off headlamps, and an 8-way-adjustable power driver’s seat. Also added was the brand’s LaneWatch blind-spot camera. Enclosed in the passenger-side mirror, it projects an image on the dashboard screen when the driver presses a button or activates the right turn signal. Also carrying over for model-year ’15 will be Hands-free Bluetooth phone connectivity with the ability to stream audio from Pandora and Aha, and the option of a navigation system for EX-L and Si models. All 2014 coupes got suspension upgrades and CVT-equipped EX and EX-Ls gained steering-wheel shift paddles. Leather upholstery will continue on EX-Ls and remain available on Hybrid and CNG models. Among returning safety technologies standard on every Civic will be anti-lock braking and antiskid stability control systems and a tire pressure monitoring system. We’d urge Honda to extend such features as forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems beyond just the Hybrid model.

How will 2015 prices be different?

They’ll almost certainly inch up, although this automaker has shown admirable restraint in this price-sensitive category. Our estimated base prices include the manufacturer’s mandated destination fee, which runs around $800. So figure a 2015 Civic base-price range of $19,500-$25,500 for LX through EX-L models. Si starting prices should range from $24,000-$25,600, depending on body style, Hybrids from $26,000-$28,,600, and CNG sedans from $27,800-$29,200.

When will it come out?

Look for the new Civic in showrooms in the third-quarter of 2014.

Best competitors

Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda 3, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta

What’s a cool feature?

The touchscreen audio system supports tap, swipe and pinch gestures, just like on your smartphone. Tech-loving users should acclimate quickly to this arrangement.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]