A redesigned eighth-generation version of Honda's smallest model went on sale for the 2006 model year, with Honda calling it the most-changed Civic since the model was introduced to the U.S. market in 1973. Changes for 2008 include a new Mugen Si trim designed by Honda's high-performance tuner of the same name; there's also a leather package available for the first time on a Civic. Honda's Civic shares space in the compact class with the Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Sentra, Chevrolet Cobalt and Toyota Corolla.
Five distinct models are available: the Civic sedan and coupe, Civic Si sedan and coupe and the Civic Hybrid sedan, which is covered separately in the Cars.com research section. In addition, approved Honda dealers in California and New York carry a Civic GX that's powered by natural gas. Civic Si models feature a high-performance 197-horsepower four-cylinder engine.
Honda promotes the Civic's safety features, including its Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure that improves vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility and collision energy management. All models have side-impact and side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints and antilock brakes. The Civic is available in DX, LX, EX and EX-L trim levels.
(Skip to details on the: Civic Si)
Honda says the Civic features an "expressive and futuristic design." Design touches include a steeply raked windshield, minimal front and rear overhangs, and reduced gaps between the tires and fenders. Civics use a MacPherson strut front suspension and a compact multilink double-wishbone rear suspension.
DX models ride on 15-inch tires, but LX, EX and EX-L versions get 16-inch rubber. A power moonroof is installed on EX and EX-L models.
Sedans and coupes have unique wheelbase and exterior dimensions. Sedans are 176.7 inches long, 69 inches wide, stand 56.5 inches tall and have a 106.3-inch wheelbase. Coupes are almost 2 inches shorter in length, roughly the same width, 3 inches shorter in height and have a 2-inch shorter wheelbase.
Inside each five-passenger Civic, the driver faces a two-tier instrument panel and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel. A multifunction center console is installed. Honda's satellite-linked navigation system with voice recognition is available in Si and EX models. To get the leather interior, buyers must choose the EX-L trim, which also has a number of other luxury-type touches.
XM Satellite Radio is available. Trunk space totals 11.5 cubic feet. Each Civic has power windows.
Under the Hood
Regular Civic coupes and sedans use a new 1.8-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder that delivers 140 hp and 128 pounds-feet of torque. All models use drive-by-wire throttle control. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a five-speed automatic is available.
Standard safety features include antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, side-impact and side curtain airbags, and active head restraints in the front seats.
While popular and well-known for reliability, recent Civics have been faulted for sterile styling and rather monotonous behavior. In its current form, the Civic sedan gets a more handsome face, spirited performance and a nearly flawless automatic transmission.
Due to its relatively taut suspension, surface imperfections are noticeable in the Civic sedan, but they're not annoying. Steering effort is light yet satisfying, and the Civic is quite agile.
Ingress is good, both in front and back. The front seats are comfortable and provide abundant back support, but their short bottoms aren't as strong on thigh support. Seat cushioning is adequate, but a little more might be welcome. Backseat space rivals that of some midsize models.
The large tachometer and digital speedometer are easy to read. Visibility is satisfactory, but the triangular glass panes ahead of each front side window provide no improvement in visibility. Oddly, the Civic's steering-wheel rim feels rubbery and almost cheap, which is out of character for Honda. The available navigation system's controls aren't the easiest to use.
For 2008, Honda's performance-oriented Si model — offered as both a sedan and a conventional two-door coupe — will add a Mugen performance package sedan. The Mugen package adds an even more sport-oriented suspension and extra enhancements compared to the standard Si, including 18-inch wheels, front and rear spoilers, and body cladding. Only 1,000 Mugens will be produced.
The standard Si sedan features a rear deck spoiler, cladding and Si badging that is different from the coupe's rear spoiler and cladding.
All Civic Si coupes and sedans hold a 2.0-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder that develops 197 hp at 7,800 rpm and 139 pounds-feet of torque at 6,200 rpm. A six-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential are installed. Interiors feature deeply bolstered seats with red fabric stitching. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires. Mugen models ride on 18-inch tires. Back to top
Cars.com Expert Reviews
|David Thomas||Cars.com National||April 11, 2008|
|Cars.com Staff||Cars.com National||October 18, 2007|
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