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Car Report: Honda Civic moves ahead of the class

Monday - 5/5/2014, 4:54am  ET

2014 Honda Civic (WTOP/Mike Parris)
The new Honda Civic is thrifty with a nice amount of room. (WTOP/Mike Parris)
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WASHINGTON -- It seems that the Honda Civic, which was redesigned just two years ago, has endured constant upgrades and improvements.

This year is no different.

The car has been given another upgrade, this time with cool safety and tech features added as Honda goes for the compact car sales crown.

One of the new safety features in the 2014 Honda Civic is a blind spot monitor -- a camera mounted on the right mirror that displays on the center touch screen, which makes for safer lane changes. It clicks on when you flip the turn signal (so don't forget to signal).

A new larger touch screen comes equipped in the top-of-the-line 2014 Honda Civic EX-L. The top-of-the-line Civic sedan was loaded with NAV, heated leather seats, sunroof with push button start and even more for $25,030. The two-level dash is different for sure, but I grew to like it after riding in the car for a bit.

As an owner of one of Honda's close competitors in the compact sedan category, I really wanted to see if the upgrades move the car ahead. I looked at the Civic before the interior upgrade and wasn't a fan, but a year has changed that for the better and it really is a nice place to be now.

The seats are comfortable -- one of the first times I've said that about a Honda seat -- and more comfortable than my own ride. There's a good amount of space, too. You can load two car seats and a smaller adult in the back seat.

The trunk is OK, though not as big as some of the competition.

Driving the Honda Civic, with its new CVT transmission is a pleasant drive, and I'm usually not a huge fan of that type of transmission. But the CVT in the Civic really works well.

The one advantage of the CVT is good fuel economy. The Civic is rated at 30mpg city/39mpg highway. But I could only manage 29mpg on my 300-mile-old Civic. It will go up when the car has more miles on it.

You can also choose a five-speed manual transmission on the entry level Civic for around $18,000.

The 2014 Honda Civic has added new tools to try and be the No. 1 compact car. A car that I really didn't care for a few years ago has really moved toward the head of the class.

With a sedan, coupe, hybrid and even a Clean Natural Gas model, there is a Honda Civic for just about anyone looking for a thrifty popular compact.

Editor's Note: Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI ,FMI or Event Solutions for the purpose of this review.

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