The 2011 Honda Civic has a reputation as an exceptionally well-rounded sedan that blends style with practical substance and good fuel economy. It doesn't have the best cabin or the most cargo capacity, but it's a good car for commuters and students and is well-priced in an MSRP range of $15,605 to $25,490. (Gas mileage averages 26 city and 34 highway.)
For comparison shopping, look at the Honda Fit, which is $500 less and offers an impressive 57.3 cubic feet of space. The Kia Forte is a nice choice with Bluetooth and a USB port standard, and don't overlook the Mazda3, which is just fun to drive. The Ford Fiesta is also in the running for your buying bucks because it gets almost 37 mpg out on the highway.
While not a powerful car, the Civic will suit the needs of most drivers. Both the sedan and coupe are outfitted with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder producing 140 hp and 128 lb. ft. or torque mated to either a standard or automatic transmission. (The manual knocks $800 off the sticker and is more fun to drive.) If you really want something more powerful, look at the Civic Si, which as a 2.0-liter engine making 197 hp and 139 lb. ft. of torque.
From the outside, there's only one word for the Civic, conservative. But subtlety has the advantage of longevity. The Civic "look" doesn't date itself. The sharply raked windshield is more attractive than some reviewers are willing to admit, and overall, the low profile is pleasing. Inside you get excellent quality and high function. Seating in the back is not comfortable, however, especially in the coupe.
One drawback with the Civic is a lack of optional features. You're pretty much stuck with moving up through the trims to get the option you most want. The base DX doesn't even come with AC or an audio system, which is, frankly, ridiculous. You have to up up $750 from the base to the SX-VP to get a stereo with an input jack and some air. If you top out the trims and put down $23,955, you'll get all the nice stuff like power locks and windows, cruise, and navigation, but you're then in a high dollar range for the class.
The insurance industry named the 2011 Honda Civic a "Top Safety Pick," but the federal government wasn't as kind, rating it an overall three out of five stars. Of course all the standard safety bells and whistles are there including a full set of airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, and active head restraints for the driver and front passenger. Vehicle stability and brake assist are standard only on the EX-L and SI trims.
The 2011 Honda Civic gets mixed reviews because it's a mixed bag. There are many things to recommend this car and many to make buyers walk away. The biggest drawback is the simple fact that Honda won't divorce options from trim levels, forcing buyers to move to a higher level to get a single desired amenity. That being said, this is a car with a long-standing, solid reputation and it is a reliable performer.