Ride & Handling

The 1.8-liter Civic rides on the firm side, and its suspension gives drivers a sense of being well-connected to the road. That's due in part to the fully independent setup, which some competitors trade for cheaper semi-independent rear suspensions. That also means the Civic has a way of picking up small imperfections on the highway. Combine that with the considerable road noise that emanated from our tester's P205/55R16 tires, and friends will think twice before voting yours the road trip car. Potholes and other major bumps are cushioned well enough, but many shoppers may want a setup that's better at masking the little stuff.

Power-steering assist is on the low side, so parking lot maneuvers take some extra effort. But the Civic moves adeptly on curvy roads; its confident steering makes it easy to get back on track when the nose pushes wide. Body roll is noticeable but not predominant, and the seat bolsters — short but stiff — do a good job holding you in place.

The Civic Si employs a sport-tuned suspension with thicker front and rear stabilizer bars, 17-inch alloys and a limited-slip differential. High-performance Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2 summer tires are optional.

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