Everyone knows that the Civic is the Accord’s “little brother”…..a tidy-sized, economical, and generally reliable vehicle….right?

So….what sets the ‘15 EX-L apart? It’s the “L”. In Honda-speak, “L” means leather….but it could just as well mean “luxury”.

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Luxury? In a Honda Civic? Yes.

Sitting in a Civic EX-L, if you weren’t paying close attention, you might even think that you were in another vehicle….another luxury vehicle that starts with an “L”.

It’s the soft-touch, two-tone leather-lined interior that does it….and those leather seats, of course, are heated.

You also get 17” alloys in the EX-L…along with push-button start, moonroof, halogen headlights, and smart keyless entry….all for a sticker a little less than $24,000.

For comparison, an EX…without leather…and 16” vs 17” alloys…will list around 22K.

An SE can be had for less than 21K…but you’ll lose the moonroof, halogens and the push-button start…..and your alloys will be 15” vs. 16’s.

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And for the budget-conscious, a base LX with a 5-speed stick-shift will start a little over $19,000. For the small difference in price, the EX or EX-L seem to me to be the best deals for those used to some of life’s little luxuries.

Whichever Civic you choose, it’ll be powered by a 1.8 liter, 143 HP 4-cylinder…again, running through a continuously variable automatic…except for those few LX 5-speed sticks.

The engine even starts with a surprising little growl. Well….more of a little burble, actually….but once underway, the drone of the CVT seems to take over.

Steering is light…the brakes are good…..and the acceleration is OK. It’s not a stormer, but the Civic will more than keep up with traffic.

An unexpected bonus? I got a little over 30 mpg in a weeks’ worth of mixed two-lane and freeway driving….on regular.

Today’s Civic can hold four quite comfortably….five if needed….and has a respectably-sized trunk. In fact, the ’15 Civic is pretty close to the size of the Accord from 10 years ago….just for comparison’s sake.

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If you’re looking for 30 mpg, Honda reliability, and leather-lined luxury….all listing for less than 24K…Honda’s ’15 Civic EX-L might just be what you’re looking for.
No one will have to know that you paid less than 24K.