The Civic

Our Honda hero through the years

THE CIVIC IS OUR ICON

Launched in the early 1970s, it propelled Honda into becoming a truly global car company, stealing a march on our rivals with a model that was quickly dubbed, ‘right car, right time’. Back then, Honda was most famous for motorcycles. The arrival of the Civic saw our cars hit the headlines, and we haven’t looked back since.

Staggeringly, we have now sold more than 24 million Civics, and we add almost three quarters of a million to that figure every year. Over 10 generations, the Civic has remained at the heart of Honda – constantly revolutionising and improving. The Civic has never stood still. That’s why people keep coming back.

The story of the Civic is one we’re extremely proud of. We call it our Honda hero because, since day one, the Civic has been a much-loved model all around the world. Each generation has its own distinct identity as we continually tune into the zeitgeist.

This is the story of how the Civic became the backbone of Honda cars – and why today’s model is the most advanced and sporty yet.

🕐 22 January 2020

The first Civic

It is 1972.

Honda has earned respect around the globe for innovative, cute and compact cars such as the N360 and N600. Small on the outside, enormous within, the little cars gained critical acclaim and proved to the company’s engineers that they were on the right track.

Their next creation would be the most ambitious Honda car yet. One that took everything they had learned developing the N-cars, plus the feedback of so many customers, to make not just a new Honda, but a landmark car full-stop. Less than a decade after we built our first car, the Civic was born.

The two-door launch came in July 1972. A three-door hatchback followed, then a five-door. All the early models used a jewel-like 1.2-litre petrol engine, transversely installed, driving the front wheels: just like the original Mini. The Civic was the first family car to do this. Where we led, others followed, eventually.

The Civic was right straight out of the box. It wasn’t too big or too small. It looked fresh-faced and full of fun. The depth of engineering gave buyers more car than they were used to for less than they normally paid. No wonder word soon spread. Honda was quickly on a roll.

The headline-grabber was the engine. We’re fanatical about engines at Honda, and the Civic proved you can deliver a great motor at any price point. Powerful, smooth and extremely economical, it soon found fame in the United States for being the only engine to pass ultra-strict emissions regulations, the ‘Clean Air Act’, without needing an exhaust catalyst. It was inherently clean and green – and the Civic gained plaudits again for this amazing achievement.

Image credits:
N360: 1969 Honda N360, by Mytho88,
Some rights reserved
N600: Honda N600, by OSX II,
Some rights reserved

🕐 22 January 2020

The first Civic

It is 1972.

Honda has earned respect around the globe for innovative, cute and compact cars such as the N360 and N600. Small on the outside, enormous within, the little cars gained critical acclaim and proved to the company’s engineers that they were on the right track.

Their next creation would be the most ambitious Honda car yet. One that took everything they had learned developing the N-cars, plus the feedback of so many customers, to make not just a new Honda, but a landmark car full-stop. Less than a decade after we built our first car, the Civic was born.

The two-door launch came in July 1972. A three-door hatchback followed, then a five-door. All the early models used a jewel-like 1.2-litre petrol engine, transversely installed, driving the front wheels: just like the original Mini. The Civic was the first family car to do this. Where we led, others followed, eventually.

The Civic was right straight out of the box. It wasn’t too big or too small. It looked fresh-faced and full of fun. The depth of engineering gave buyers more car than they were used to for less than they normally paid. No wonder word soon spread. Honda was quickly on a roll.

The headline-grabber was the engine. We’re fanatical about engines at Honda, and the Civic proved you can deliver a great motor at any price point. Powerful, smooth and extremely economical, it soon found fame in the United States for being the only engine to pass ultra-strict emissions regulations, the ‘Clean Air Act’, without needing an exhaust catalyst. It was inherently clean and green – and the Civic gained plaudits again for this amazing achievement.

Image credits:
N360: 1969 Honda N360, by Mytho88,
Some rights reserved
N600: Honda N600, by OSX II, 
Some rights reserved

HONDA CIVIC THROUGH THE YEARS

Constant development has meant the innovations came thick and fast. Here, we run through the 10 generations of Civic so far.

Gen. 1: 1972

The original. It all started here, and its success meant our engineers were hungry for more.

45 years on, we’re still striving to make our cars as energy efficient as possible. That’s why we created Earth Dreams Technology for the latest Civic – enhancing power and minimising fuel use.

DID YOU KNOW?

The simulated wood on the dashboard of the original Civic inspired the instrument panel of our exciting new all-electric Honda e.


Gen. 2: 1979

The original grew up. People wanted more space and simplicity, so we gave it to them. Take the keys, for example. When other car manufacturers had a different key for the boot, the door and the ignition, the 2nd generation Civic had just one. Simple. The Civic was now well into its stride.

30 years on, simplicity is still at the heart of the new Civic – such as the unique parcel shelf, which seamlessly rolls away to make the most of the space. Simple.

DID YOU KNOW?

Every Civic came with the lean-burn CVCC three-cylinder engine, which produced amazing real-world economy figures.


Image credit: Honda Civic Excellent by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 3: 1983

Into the 1980s with a new, angular design, the 3rd generation Civic won Car of the Year in Japan on its launch. This was the most feature-packed Civic yet, with powerful 16-valve engines and an ingenious 4WD system.

34 years on and the new Civic is no different – winning the Auto Express Design Award when it was unveiled in 2016.

DID YOU KNOW?

The four-wheel-drive Civic was offered in particular markets. The system was called ‘Realtime’, and the name carries on in today’s Honda CR-V.


Image credit: Honda Civic by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 4: 1987

To make progress, sometimes you have to start again. And that’s exactly what we did with the first VTEC engine for our 4th generation Civic, which was a fiery high-performance yet fuel-efficient blast. Import Tuner Magazine said VTEC was “four letters that practically started an engine revolution.”

DID YOU KNOW?

The VTEC variable valve timing engines saw the Civic produce unparalleled levels of performance.


Image credit: Honda Civic Nouva by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 5: 1991

A distinctive, more aerodynamic shape for the Civic of the 1990s, along with a modern open-plan interior. VTEC engines were now not just about performance: a fuel-sipping eco version was also offered. At the time, it was one of our most fuel-efficient models ever made.

DID YOU KNOW?

A huge variety of body styles and engine options means the fifth generation Civic remains very popular among car tuners.


Image credit: Honda Civic Estilo by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 6: 1995

The Civic grew up again, with a family-friendly design. We know that a car needs to do more than get you from here to there – it needs to be somewhere you’re happy to be. It’s why our 6th generation included an agile three-door and a more practical five-door and was the first to be fitted with a CD player. And with a crisp sound and the ability to skip tracks, it was a huge leap forward in car entertainment.

Today, the new Civic features our most advanced in-car audio and infotainment system yet. It simply connects Android and iPhone smartphones to the intuitive 7” Honda CONNECT screen.

DID YOU KNOW?

The combination of a VTEC engine and relatively discreet body styling made the sixth generation Civic an underground performance star.


Gen. 7: 2001

Our Civic for the new millennium was roomier and more practical than ever before. Its aerodynamic shape made it a compact car with interior space comparable to vehicles from the class above.

16 years on, the spacious nature hasn’t changed. In fact, our new Civic is class-leading with 478 litres of space. And with seats that effortlessly fold away, you can get double the room.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Civic Type R arrived with a fanfare, proving a brilliantly engaging and incredibly exciting high-performance halo car.


Gen. 8: 2005-2011

Why does a car need to look like a car? The world was wowed when the 8th generation Civic was revealed. It genuinely was like something from the future, and its distinctive lines still turn heads today.

DID YOU KNOW?

With racy styling and continual development, the Civic Type R established a loyal following. Today, rare Mugen versions are particularly sought-after.


Image credit: Honda Civic by M 93, some rights reserved.

Gen. 9: 2011-2017

For the ninth generation Civic, we kept the spirit of Civic 8 and brought in more refinement, luxury and, most importantly, safety – making this model not only a great all-rounder but also giving it a Euro NCAP 5-star rating.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Civic Tourer was a British-built estate that actually raced in the British Touring Car Championship – and proved to be a front-runner.


Image credit: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Elegance by M 93, some rights reserved.

Gen. 10: 2017-date

The 10th generation Civic is a car at the very top of its game – capturing the spirit of clever Honda thinking. Bold to look at, beautiful to sit in, the plaudits started arriving even before its 2017 launch – and they haven’t stopped yet.

DID YOU KNOW?

The latest Honda Civic is a favourite amongst Brits and is also finding success on the racetrack – while the Type R hot hatch is a serial award-winning performance car.


Image credit: 2017 Honda Civic EX VTEC CVT 1.0 by Vauxford, some rights reserved.

Constant development has meant the innovations came thick and fast. Here, we run through the 10 generations of Civic so far.

Gen. 1: 1972

The original. It all started here, and its success meant our engineers were hungry for more.

45 years on, we’re still striving to make our cars as energy efficient as possible. That’s why we created Earth Dreams Technology for the latest Civic – enhancing power and minimising fuel use.

DID YOU KNOW?

The simulated wood on the dashboard of the original Civic inspired the instrument panel of our exciting new all-electric Honda e.


Gen. 2: 1979

The original grew up. People wanted more space and simplicity, so we gave it to them. Take the keys, for example. When other car manufacturers had a different key for the boot, the door and the ignition, the 2nd generation Civic had just one. Simple. The Civic was now well into its stride.

30 years on, simplicity is still at the heart of the new Civic – such as the unique parcel shelf, which seamlessly rolls away to make the most of the space. Simple.

Did you know?

Every Civic came with the lean-burn CVCC three-cylinder engine, which produced amazing real-world economy figures.


Image credit: Honda Civic Excellent by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 3: 1983

Into the 1980s with a new, angular design, the 3rd generation Civic won Car of the Year in Japan on its launch. This was the most feature-packed Civic yet, with powerful 16-valve engines and an ingenious 4WD system.

34 years on and the new Civic is no different – winning the Auto Express Design Award when it was unveiled in 2016.

Did you know?

The four-wheel-drive Civic was offered in particular markets. The system was called ‘Realtime’, and the name carries on in today’s Honda CR-V.


Image credit: Honda Civic by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 4: 1987

To make progress, sometimes you have to start again. And that’s exactly what we did with the first VTEC engine for our 4th generation Civic, which was a fiery high-performance yet fuel-efficient blast. Import Tuner Magazine said VTEC was “four letters that practically started an engine revolution.”

Did you know?

The VTEC variable valve timing engines saw the Civic produce unparalleled levels of performance.


Image credit: Honda Civic Nouva by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 5: 1991

A distinctive, more aerodynamic shape for the Civic of the 1990s, along with a modern open-plan interior. VTEC engines were now not just about performance: a fuel-sipping eco version was also offered. At the time, it was one of our most fuel-efficient models ever made.

Did you know?

A huge variety of body styles and engine options means the fifth generation Civic remains very popular among car tuners.


Image credit: Honda Civic Estilo by Sabung.hamster, some rights reserved.

Gen. 6: 1995

The Civic grew up again, with a family-friendly design. We know that a car needs to do more than get you from here to there – it needs to be somewhere you’re happy to be. It’s why our 6th generation included an agile three-door and a more practical five-door and was the first to be fitted with a CD player. And with a crisp sound and the ability to skip tracks, it was a huge leap forward in car entertainment.

Today, the new Civic features our most advanced in-car audio and infotainment system yet. It simply connects Android and iPhone smartphones to the intuitive 7” Honda CONNECT screen.

Did you know?

The combination of a VTEC engine and relatively discreet body styling made the sixth generation Civic an underground performance star.


Gen. 7: 2001

Our Civic for the new millennium was roomier and more practical than ever before. Its aerodynamic shape made it a compact car with interior space comparable to vehicles from the class above.

16 years on, the spacious nature hasn’t changed. In fact, our new Civic is class-leading with 478 litres of space. And with seats that effortlessly fold away, you can get double the room.

Did you know?

The Civic Type R arrived with a fanfare, proving a brilliantly engaging and incredibly exciting high-performance halo car.


Gen. 8: 2005-2011

Why does a car need to look like a car? The world was wowed when the 8th generation Civic was revealed. It genuinely was like something from the future, and its distinctive lines still turn heads today.

Did you know?

With racy styling and continual development, the Civic Type R established a loyal following. Today, rare Mugen versions are particularly sought-after.


Image credit: Honda Civic by M 93, some rights reserved.

Gen. 9: 2011-2017

For the ninth generation Civic, we kept the spirit of Civic 8 and brought in more refinement, luxury and, most importantly, safety – making this model not only a great all-rounder but also giving it a Euro NCAP 5-star rating.

Did you know?

The Civic Tourer was a British-built estate that actually raced in the British Touring Car Championship – and proved to be a front-runner.


Image credit: Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC Elegance by M 93, some rights reserved.

Gen. 10: 2017-date

The 10th generation Civic is a car at the very top of its game – capturing the spirit of clever Honda thinking. Bold to look at, beautiful to sit in, the plaudits started arriving even before its 2017 launch – and they haven’t stopped yet.

Did you know?

The latest Honda Civic is a favourite amongst Brits and is also finding success on the racetrack – while the Type R hot hatch is a serial award-winning performance car.


Image credit: 2017 Honda Civic EX VTEC CVT 1.0 by Vauxford, some rights reserved.

CIVIC INFLUENCE

The Civic is more than just a car, it’s an institution. Its success has been fundamental to the growth of Honda into a global giant. And its influence can be seen in almost every car we make.

Take a performance Honda: even back in the 1980s, our enthusiastic engineers were developing faster, sportier Civics; the famous red Honda ‘H’ badge was born from this, and the Type R brand grew from there.

The innovative thinking that created the first, meticulously-engineered Civic developed every subsequent model – but also spread further, leading us to make icons such as the original Honda NSX and, today, its incredible hybrid successor.

Even some of our most popular model lines owe their roots to the Civic. The original 1970s Accord hatchback, for example, grew out of the Civic line. If it worked so well in one sector, reasoned our engineers, why couldn’t similar thinking be used to create a big brother?

The Civic even helped create a sports coupe called the CRX. Envied in the 80s, it’s today regarded as a genuine modern classic. And it’s all thanks to the Honda Civic.

Find out more about the Honda Civic 5-door

Today’s

Our engineers built upon everything they’d learnt from the previous nine generations to create the current Civic, and integrated the latest technologies.

In terms of safety, it is industry-leading, validated by a five-star Euro NCAP crash test score. The highlight is our Honda SENSING technology, a suite of active safety and driver assist features that come as standard. The comprehensive pack includes Collision Mitigation Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System and even Traffic Sign Recognition.
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The Civic’s engines are critically acclaimed as well – just as they have always been. The 1.0-litre VTEC Turbo is a small motor with a big heart. It produces 126 PS and a strong 200 Nm of torque, offers ultra-low CO2 emissions of 107 g/km, and will average almost 50 mpg, even in strict new WLTP tests.

Those who want more power can choose the 182 PS 1.5-litre VTEC Turbo (yes, 182 PS, from a 1.5!), which still produces a low 128 g/km CO2 despite its extra performance. Average economy of 46.3 mpg is noteworthy, too. And if you want more miles per gallon? Pick the 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel, which produces 120 PS, a potent 300 Nm of torque, and averages 62.8 mpg. CO2 emissions? Just 90 g/km.
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The Civic is a genuine driver’s car, too. The very latest suspension technology is used. This costs more to make than some less sophisticated systems, but our engineers insist upon it – and our accountants don’t mind either, as they know it’s crucial to making the Civic a genuine Honda.

Our designers also play their part. In the Civic, you sit in a sporty driving position, with controls perfectly placed and the gearlever positioned high on the centre console. You can’t help but feel excited. Brilliant engines, agile handling, a quick-witted nature: the Civic doesn’t disappoint.

We also make sure the Civic serves up a comfortable ride for when you’re happier to sit back and cruise. The engines are punchy even if you don’t want to shift up and down the gears. Noise levels are low. There’s lots of space inside, and the supportive seats will keep you happy for hours behind the wheel. The Civic is a car that does it all.
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HONDA CIVIC FOR 2020

Exciting news: the Honda Civic has been refreshed for 2020 (what did we say about our engineers never standing still?). The updates ensure the 10th generation Civic remains a car at the top of its game. They build upon the many innovations that made this model such a sensation around the globe when it was first revealed.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the design. The latest Civic remains an extremely distinctive model, with all versions benefitting from the halo effect of our road-going touring car, the Civic Type R. Every Civic looks ready for the racetrack, and this is enhanced further in sportier models, which get striking centre-exit exhaust pipes.

For 2020, all Civics gain high-impact full LED headlights as standard. They look great and offer unparalleled night-time vision. Our designers have tweaked the front-end design, while all Civics come with alloy wheels – including a new ‘Shark Grey’ design. We’re also introducing a new colour, Obsidian Blue.

Inside the latest Civic, a sporty cockpit awaits. The car feels exciting even sitting in the showroom. We have upgraded some trim materials with new textured panels. Some customers told us they preferred physical buttons and dials for the infotainment and climate control: we listened, and they’re now standard for 2020.

The Civic is one of the longest-running model names in automotive history. We at Honda love the Civic, with everyone treating it with the respect it deserves – and every single one of us is committed to helping the heart of Honda cars keep on getting better and better.

Find out just why we all idolise our beloved Honda Civic.
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