COCONUT GROVE, Fla. -- On the palm-fringed Bayshore Drive in Coconut Grove, Miami's exclusive bayside enclave, a slinky 2-door coupe edition of Honda's compact Civic series in revamped style with a thrifty 4-pack engine translated through a 5-speed manual shifter exhibits a frisky attitude to boogie down the boulevard and keep company with the sporty set.
The 2014 Civic Coupe, displaying curvy new exterior styling and premium cabin content including nicely bolstered seats and a heap of standard on-board safety systems, spins off the 4-door Civic sedan but scores unique sheetmetal shapes for front fenders and hood.
Civic as a coupe looks more angular and chiseled than Civic the sedan.
It's quick and keen in skin design with aero-slick edgework and a severe rake to the windshield, two wide doors on wavy flanks and the tail with a spoiler lip plus redesigned taillight lenses and a smooth bumper.
There's a new broad-grin grille that slashes across the prow with a flashy streak of chrome to tie together the corner-mounted wraparound headlamps. Below, front foglamp portals on the top model stretch wide to frame a center air intake duct with an hourglass shape.
Wheels are also new -- and larger. Top trim EX-L edition rolls on 17-inch alloys capped by 215/45R17 87V all-season tires.
Honda casts the 2014 Civic Coupe in three trim designations -- entry-level LX, loaded EX and top-drawer EX-L (that L tag denotes leather upholstery).
All trims in the series employ a 4-cylinder aluminum engine which displaces 1.8 liters and carries Honda's special i-VTEC (variable value timing and lift electronic control) valvetrain to precisely manage engine breathing and combustion in order to maximize horsepower and disperse torque across a broad band.
The plant generates 143 hp at 6500 rpm plus torque of 129 lb-ft at 4300 rpm.
Base transmission is a 5-speed manual with high torque capacity and a short stick. For automatic shifting, Honda offers a new continuously variable transmission (CVT) with optional dual-mode paddle shifters.
Using the manual 5-speed, Civic Coupe earns EPA fuel economy figures of 28 miles per gallon for city driving and 36 mpg for highway cruising. Add the CVT and EPA figures increase to 30/39 mpg (city/highway).
Standard safety gear includes Honda's vehicle stability assist (VSA) equipment operating with an anti-lock brake system (ABS) and electronic brake distribution (EBD).
In the passenger compartment, front seat riders will find the legroom of 42.2 inches matches that of a sedan. We particularly like the way this car's bucket seats fit in secure fashion. Firm side bolsters feel like they will keep you settled, no matter how curvy the course you're driving.
Civic LX standard equipment includes 16-inch wheels and 205/55R16 89H tires, multi-reflector halogen headlights with auto-off, body-colored side mirrors with Expanded View driver's side, air conditioning, bolstered bucket front seats and a 3-place rear bench with fold-down seatback, power controls for windows and door locks, cruise control, illuminated driver-side window and door lock controls, a tilting/telescoping steering column, i-MID (intelligent multi-information display) 5-inch LCD screen, rearview camera with guidelines, remote releases for trunk lid and fuel door, front map lights, driver footrest, 12-volt power outlet, Bluetooth streaming audio and a 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/RDS.
Civic EX upgrades with 16-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a pushbutton starter, automatic climate controls, power moonroof with tilt, passenger-side front seat with walk-in feature, rear bench with folding seatback split 60/40, a 7-inch display audio with high-res WVGA touch-screen and a 7-speaker premium audio kit with subwoofer.
Civic EX-L adds the 17-inch alloys and 215/45R17 87V tires, foglamps, the leather-trimmed upholstery and heated front seats, the CVT exclusively and the option of a 7-inch Display Audio with Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System and Voice Recognition.
The price chart dips as low as $18,190 for Civic LX with a manual shifter.