Canadians love a bargain. For proof, look no further than the proliferation of dollar stores and the existence of Canadian Tire money. We’d also mention something about the rewards program at Tim’s but the less said about that debacle, the better.
Actually, what Canadians really love is value. Buying something just because it’s the cheapest doesn’t always translate into a smart buying decision. Picking up a pack of off-brand batteries the next time you’re at one of the aforementioned dollar stores will prove this point.
That’s why we’ve created Base Camp. Each week, wheels.ca will examine the entry-level model of a new vehicle on sale today in an effort to suss out the value proposition of its cheapest trim. If we declare the el-cheapo version as failing to register on the Value MeterTM, we’ll build and price a trim we recommend.
Kicking off the series is a perennial top-seller in Canada.
2020 Honda Civic DX
Offered in a half dozen trims here in the Great White North, the 2020 Civic Sedan (we’ll pay attention to the Coupe and Hatchback variants another time) sets an opening bid of $18,390 for a manual-shift DX model. All Civics, save for the spendy Touring and Si trims, are equipped with a 2.0L inline-four making 158 horsepower. Doling out extra cheddar doesn’t net more grunt. The DX has a 6-speed manual transmission as standard equipment.
DX rides on sensible shoes with 16-inch steel wheels standing in front of disc brakes at all four corners. This is worth mentioning since some base models at other brands cheap out with old-school drums on entry-level trims. Elsewhere on the safety front, this cheapest of Civics comes with advanced safety kit like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping. A hill-holder feature will help new drivers immensely.
Infotainment is handled by a basic system that does include Bluetooth and a rearview camera but, in the DX there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Honda also has a habit of failing to include satellite radio in trims below the EX in its hierarchy, meaning one will have to suffer the indignity of terrestrial radio on their morning commute. Heated seats are also AWOL but the DX’s single biggest sin is the lack of air conditioning. Honda permits only the selection of Crystal Black Pearl paint without cost while Platinum White Pearl is a $300 decision. Those are the only two paint choices, by the way.
What we’d pick
Does the Civic DX earn a spot at Base Camp, then? If you can live with 2/60 air-conditioning (2 windows down while travelling 60km/h) then go for it. The rest of us should take a $3000 walk to the LX trim, where one will find the likes of A/C, heated front seats, a better infotainment system, and an armrest for rear seat urchins.
One thing’s for sure: any Civic is a pretty smart buying decision. Just ask the guy ahead of you who’s spending his Canadian Tire money.