A sporty car with precise handling, the Honda Civic is fun to drive. You might wonder if the Civic is a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. We looked at all of Honda's Civic models to find the answer.
Honda offers an impressive 2020 line-up of lively Civic models. Each 2020 Civic is front-wheel drive regardless of the engine (1.5L or 2.0L) and transmission (CVT or 6MT) selection.
You will experience a comfortable ride in every Honda Civic. Keep reading to learn about the Civic's powertrain options and exceptional fuel economy. The Civic is an agile, high-performance vehicle but, if you still are not sold on front-wheel drive, Honda also offers dynamic, all-wheel-drive systems on other vehicles.
Which is Better, Front-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive?
It is hard to rate either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) as the better driving mode. Making the choice between the two drivetrains really depends on your driving style, the intended purpose of the vehicle, and your typical surface conditions.
Front-Wheel Drive Pros & Cons
Front-wheel drive vehicles perform well during normal driving conditions on dry surfaces, wet surfaces, and even in light snow. Front-wheel drive vehicles have good traction because the weight of the vehicle’s engine is over the front axle.
The engineering of front-wheel drive is fairly simple, therefore the FWD system requires very low maintenance. The location of the FWD system in the front of the vehicle maximizes interior passenger and cargo space.
Front-wheel drive systems are lightweight so, vehicles equipped with FWD tend to get better gas mileage than AWD vehicles. The Honda Civic models all have high fuel efficiency ratings.
Using FWD for towing is often preferred because the weight of the tow vehicle is balanced over the front axle. This weight distribution can be especially helpful when climbing steep inclines. Front-wheel drive vehicles typically have a higher towing capacity compared to all-wheel-drive vehicles.
All-Wheel Drive Pros & Cons
All-wheel-drive systems improve traction as surface conditions change by intermittently sending power to the rear wheels that slip. Vehicles equipped with AWD perform well in gravel, sand, snow, and mud. All-wheel drive is not designed for rough, off-road terrain.
The engineering of AWD systems is more complex. For example, Honda installs sensors, an additional rear axle housing, and electro-hydraulically actuated clutch packs into the chassis of vehicles equipped with the iVTM4 AWD system. With many components involved, all-wheel-drive systems can need more maintenance over time.
Vehicles equipped with AWD tend to get lower gas mileage compared to FWD vehicles because AWD systems add weight to the vehicle.
Using AWD for towing gains better traction on slippery surfaces. Vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive typically have lower towing capacity compared to front-wheel drive vehicles.
Is the 2019 Honda Civic All-Wheel Drive?
Front-wheel drive is standard on all the 2019 Civic models. Honda offers a variety of powertrain options, with your choice of continually variable transmission (CVT) or 6-speed manual transmission.
Honda equips Civic sedans and coupes (LX, & Sport) with 2.0L 4-cylinder engines, producing 158-horsepower. On EX, EX-L, and Touring trim packages, 1.5L 4-cylinder turbocharged engines provide 174-horsepower.
Civic hatchbacks are equipped with 1.5L 4-cylinder turbocharged engines to produce 174-horsepower on LX, EX, and EX-L trim packages. Sport and Sport Touring trim packages amp up the hatchback’s output to 180-horsepower when equipped with manual transmission.
High-performance Civic Si models pack 205-horsepower into both the sedan and coupe with a 1.5L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Standard manual, 6-speed transmission makes the Si fun to drive.
Civic R dominates the line-up with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine packing 306-horsepower into an aerodynamic body with lightweight chassis. Standard manual, 6-speed transmission lets you fully engage in the driving experience.
What is the Honda Civic’s Fuel Economy?
Across the line-up, the Civic’s fuel economy varies slightly depending on the engine, transmission, and body style (2-door/4-door/hatchback). Honda Civic receives an EPA estimated range of 29 to 32 mpg for city driving and 38 to 40 mpg for highway driving. The U.S. Department of Energy provides a nice comparison of estimated fuel efficiency for Civic models here.
What’s the Difference Between Honda’s AWD Systems?
Honda has engineered two types of all-wheel-drive systems for vehicles that have an all-wheel-drive option.
Intelligent Variable Torque Management (iVTM4) All-Wheel Drive System
Honda’s proactive iVTM4 AWD system responds precisely to changing surface conditions by sensing the amount of torque needed at each wheel. The system allows variable distribution of torque, from front-to-rear and side-to-side, in order to transfer power to the wheels that slip.
In low-friction gravel, snowy, or muddy conditions the iVTM4 AWD system improves stability and propulsion. During dry-weather surface conditions, the iVTM4 system results in high-performance handling.
Honda’s iVTM4 AWD system is available on the Pilot and Ridgeline.
Real-Time AWD with Intelligent Control System
Honda’s responsive Real-Time AWD uses an Intelligent Control System to sense a loss of traction at the rear wheels. The Real-Time AWD system responds by diverting power to the rear wheels to improve traction control.
The Real-Time AWD with Intelligent Control System is less dynamic than Honda’s iVTM4 AWD system but, it does improve stability and handling on variable surface conditions.
Honda’s Real Time AWD system is available on the HR-V and CR-V
What Honda Cars are All-Wheel Drive?
The 2020 CR-V compact crossover offers Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System as an option on EX, LX, EX-L, and Touring trim packages.
The 2020 HR-V crossover offers Honda’s Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System as an option on LX, Sport, EX, and EX-L trim packages. Real-Time AWD remains a standard feature on HR-V Touring.
The 2020 Pilot mid-size SUV offers Honda’s iVTM4 AWD system as an option on LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring models. On the 2020 Pilot Elite trim package, iVTM4 AWD comes standard.
The 2020 Ridgeline mid-size pickup offers Honda’s iVTM4 AWD system as an option on Sport, RTL, and RTL-T trim packages. On the RTL-E and Black Edition trim packages, iVTM4 AWD comes standard.
Now you know that the Honda Civic is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, loaded with power for a sporty ride. But, if you prefer an all-wheel drive, Honda also has a great selection of AWD optional vehicles.