The Surprise Inside The 2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan

Front 3/4 view of 2015 Honda Civic EX-L
The 2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan.

Just days ago, I gave a positive review of the 2015 Honda Civic Si sedan, praising its 205 horsepower V-TECH engine and six-speed manual transmission. Seven months ago today, I wrote a review of the 148-horsepower 2014 Honda Civic EX-L sedan with a continuously variable transmission and said that, playing with my own money, I'd buy a new Corolla instead.

As I've said before, though, an awful lot of how you feel about a car has to do with where and under what conditions you drive it.  Last summer's '14 Civic EX-L was driven in and around town, to and from work...a 70/30 mix of urban freeways and city streets.  The '15 racked up a bunch of highway miles.  And showed a completely different side of its character.

Map showing 2015 Honda Civic EX-L's travels
Where the 2015 Honda Civic EX-L Went (source: Google Maps)

In a week, I managed to put 1,100 miles on the Civic's odometer.  340 of it was the typical around town, but 763 miles was roadtrip stuff:  Friday, from Folsom to Brisbane for TireKicker business, then up US 101 to visit Navigator's mom in Ukiah.  Navigator needed to spend a couple of extra days, so on Sunday, I drove back to Folsom solo, going south on 101 to CA 116,  CA 37 and I-80. And on Tuesday, it was back to Ukiah to pick Navigator up, turn right around and head home, this time taking I-5 and  CA 20 along the northeast shore of Clear Lake.

Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan
2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan.
The surprise?  The Civic EX-L is a supremely confident and comfortable highway cruiser.  On paper, with a 148-horsepower four and a CVT, that wouldn't seem to be the case. But it is.  Set the cruise control for between five and nine over, crank the 6-speaker, 160-watt audio system, settle back and watch the trip computer tote up the gas mileage...in our case, over the entire 1,100 miles, 34.6 MPG...a notch and a half above the EPA combined mileage estimate of 33 (specifics are 30 city/39 highway).

Interior view of 2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan
2015 Honda Civic EX-L Sedan interior.
A base price of $24,340 gets you a long, long list of standard features (click here) and a car that is comfortable for a 340-mile, six-and-a-half hour roundtrip.  At no point did I wish for anything bigger or fancier.  The Civic just ate up the miles, keeping me comfy all the while.

No, I haven't come to love....or even like...the bi-level dashboard, and no, the new infotainment system is still not as good as most of the competition's. But 1,100 miles in seven days...763 of them in five days...gives you perspective on the all-around competence of a car.  And the 2015 Honda Civic EX-L is a car I'd gladly take on a road trip again.