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Which Honda Civic Should You Buy?

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Which Honda Civic Should You Buy? Yellow Cropped Honda Civic

When looking for a new car, you look for reliability above all else. In today’s economy, it’s essential to make each dollar worth it. Luckily, if you’re looking to buy a used Honda Civic, they are among the most reliable cars that exist. 

Honda Motors started engineering and designing motorcycles in 1948. This was their primary focus until 1973 when Honda released their first Civic that provided fuel efficiency and overall affordability; it was a success. 

Since its creation in 1972, the Honda Civic has proven to be the most reliable. They guarantee this by taking precision care during manufacturing.

Every generation since its inception has only improved. But which generation is the best fit for you? Let’s find out. We will look at the first, last, best, and worst of all the Honda Civic Generations.

First Generation (1973-’79) Honda Civic

In the 1970s, the US was dealing with the Oil crisis that led to gas prices skyrocketing and gas shortages. This negatively impacted the American Auto Industry since they weren’t creating vehicles as compact and fuel-efficient as Japanese car manufacturers. 

The US imposed speed limits and gas rationing to combat the oil crisis. Additionally, environmentalists were pushing policies that would cause Americans to use caution in their use of gas and energy. Thus the creation of the Clean Air Act of 1970. This Act allowed regulation that could limit emissions from industrial and mobile sources. 

old generation honda civic
1973 Honda Civic DX – Image supplied by Honda Media Room

As mentioned, American vehicles were larger and therefore emitted more pollution. Then, Honda enters the US auto industry introducing the 1973 Honda Civic. This was the first car that could meet the standards of the Clean Air act without using a catalytic converter because of their CVCC engines. 

The CVCC engine became popular because unlike vehicles with catalytic converters, they could use any gas type. The Civics could use regular, unleaded, or premium fuel. The Civics EPA gasoline ranking was 47 mpg on highways and 37 mpg on city streets. 

Some other features of the first generation Honda Civic are:

  • Reclining bucket seats
  • Air conditioning (optional)
  • Radio (AM/FM)
  • Front Disc Breaks
  • Available as a Coupe or Station Wagon

The Best Honda Civic Generations

There are 11 Generations of Honda Civics. During these 40 years, a lot has changed and improved. New engines and styles have been introduced such as Si and the VTEC engine. However, it takes trial and error to create the perfect car especially to keep up with trends and technology while also adding originality. 

So, without further ado, here are the most reliable Honda Civic generations. If you’re looking to buy a used Civic, these are what you should keep an eye on.

5th Generation (1992-1995)

Honda Del Sol
1995 VTEC Del Sol – Image supplied by Honda Media Room

A car this old is bound to have problems but it is still highly regarded by enthusiasts. This generation introduced the notable VTEC engine. VTEC (Variable valve time and lift electronic control) gives the civic more power while also being fuel-efficient. 

This generation got a makeover with a more aerodynamic and sleeker look that reduced drag. Additionally, the Civic came in Sedan, Hatchback, and a Coupe each with multiple trims to suit the driver’s needs. Horsepower ranged from a standard’s 70 to a whopping 125 for cars with VTEC. 

Other features that were introduced this generation include

  • Driver and Passenger Airbag
  • High output stereo
  • Antilock breaks 
  • Cruise control
  • Large wheels
  • Power locks, windows, and mirrors

This generation is still popular two and half decades later for being interchangeable. Drivers are able to switch out their engine for one with VTEC or even more, the 1.6 Liter DOHC engine that came with the 1994 Del Sol that produced 160 HP. 

6th Generation (1996-’00)

hatchback honda civic
1997 Honda Civic DX Hatchback – Image supplied by Honda Media Room

What says “I care about our customers,” more than Honda listening to what they wanted? Because that is exactly what they did.

The ’90s was a winning decade for Honda and Generation 6 guaranteed that. This time they introduced CVT (Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission), it had better performance and fuel economy similar to a manual transmission vehicle. Furthermore, it had a smoother ride when shifting gears due to shock absorption. 

The Hatchback also made a return, but only in CX and DX trims. It had a 1.6 Liter unit with 106HP. It earned a Low Emission Vehicle Certification. 

The notable model of this generation is the 1999 Honda Civic Si; it only ran for two model years so it is incredibly valuable. 

Some features and advantages of the ‘99 Civic Si are:

  • Coupe only
  • 1.6 Liter VTEC engine (B16)
  • Rev 8500 RPM
  • 0-60 in 7.1 Seconds
  • Quarter-mile in 16 seconds

9th Generation (2010-’11)

4 door sedan honda civic
2010 Honda Civic LX-S Sedan. Image Supplied by Honda Media Room

The 2008 Financial Crisis played a hand in inspiring the new generation of the Honda Civic. Although they had planned to make a larger sedan, however with the new impact on finances, the plan was changed for a smaller and lighter model. 

To further assist in gas efficiency, Eco Assist was included in all models except the Si. This software, using color-changing indicators, would let the driver know how their driving habits affected the fuel efficiency of their vehicle. 

The DX, LX, and EX trims all came in gas and hybrid models. For instance, the Civic HF Sedan. This model came with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that had 41 MPG. 

Their Si models came in either a Sedan or a Coupe. It had a 2.4 Liter engine with 201 HP. However, in 2014, after reapplying their exhaust system, was able to increase the horsepower to 205. Also adding a 6-speed manual transmission

Their original model in 2012 wasn’t initially comfortable but improved with changes in 2013 and 2014. 

In 2013, they added a backup camera, Bluetooth, and improved the quality of the interior. In 2014, a blind spot monitor was added, as well as a push-button start, CVT transmission, and redesigned exterior. 

The Worst of the Honda Civic Generations

The learning process of the Honda hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Mistakes were made along the way. Some early models came with complications, however, most were fixed before the generation ended. Here is the worst of the Honda Civics. 

7th Generation (2001-2005) – 2001 Models 

Right off the bat, Honda disappointed many drivers, simply by changing its body shape. This new body shape had a new design for the front suspension and left enough room for the new K-series engine. 

Honda seemed to want to cut corners for this model and the 2001 Honda Civic model became the most recalled car of all time. Heres why…

2001 Honda Civic Media Room
2001 Honda Civic GX – Image supplied by Honda Media Room
  • Automatic transmission failure
  • Issues with the exhaust manifold
  • Water stuck in the fuel system and eventually causing the engine to stall
  • Gas leak because of insufficient clamping force
  • Seatbelts locked and could be inescapable in an accident
  • The airbags, made by Takata Airbags, held heat and create pressure causing the airbags to explode. 
  • Air cleaner could dislodge and lock the throttle causing the vehicle to accelerate without the driver stepping on the peddle.
  • Uneven heated fuel tanks causing it to explode. 

In other words, steer clear of the 2001 Honda Civic. 

In general, it’s best to avoid the first model of any generation as it’s typically going to have a lot more problems down the road. Models made later in the generation are better because Honda has likely fixed the problem. They are known for listening to their consumer’s wants and needs. 

So there you have it the best generations and the worst generation of all Honda Civics. 

We hope this helped you find the perfect car!

Comment down below, if you have any first-hand experiences with any of these cars!

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