The Honda Civic, The Ultimate Used Car?

September 11th, 2020 by

Five different 2020 Honda Civic models are parked in front of distant mountains.

If you are searching the web for used cars near you in the hope of finding something that is affordable, reliable, and fun, then there is one option that has stood the test of time: the Honda Civic. This unassuming compact car has been a go-to choice for drivers seeking sporty simplicity for nearly fifty years. Currently on its tenth generation, the longevity of the Honda Civic means that there is a used model available for any budget. And with its wide variety of styles, including a four-door sedan, two-door coupe, and five-door hatchback as well as the performance-oriented Civic Si and Civic Type R variants, you are almost certain to find a Honda Civic that is suited to your particular needs and driving style. It is even one of the few cars in its segment that continues to be offered with a manual transmission should you desire to row your own gears.

But not only does a used Honda Civic offer incredible variety, but it is also a famously reliable vehicle. While no one likes an unreliable car, reliability is particularly vital when shopping in the used market. Virtually any car made in the recent past is capable of making it to 200,000 miles or more; failure to keep up with maintenance can cut a vehicle’s life short, and with any used car, you can never be entirely sure how well the previous owner treated it. However, buying a used car model that is known for its high reliability and low maintenance requirements dramatically reduces the chances that there were any issues left untreated by the previous owner. And if there is one thing that the Honda Civic is known for, it is its bulletproof construction.

Which Years to Look For?

A red 2017 Honda Civic is driving past a blurred guard rail in Duluth, GA.

The current Honda Civic is a part of the tenth generation of the car, which was introduced for the 2016 model year. Cars of this generation are extremely modern and capable, although some people do criticize them for their somewhat overdone exterior styling. While the price of a tenth-generation used Honda Civic is higher than that of an older model, the current cars provide excellent value and offer a variety of advanced features that are unavailable on the older cars. The tenth generation also reintroduced the hatchback variant of the Honda Civic after a gap of several years, making it a particularly good choice if you need something with more interior room than a sedan can offer.

Indeed, the current Honda Civic Hatchback has noticeably more cargo space than many subcompact SUVs in the same price range, making it a highly versatile vehicle that, from the outside, is almost indistinguishable from the sedan. Finally, the tenth generation Honda Civic marked the first time that the legendary high-performance Honda Civic Type R made its way to the American market. However, finding one of these incredible machines on the used market is still quite a challenge, as they are rare.

If you are looking for something a little more on the affordable side, your best bet is probably a ninth-generation Honda Civic. This generation covered the 2012 to 2015 model years, making it a still relatively modern car even if it does not have all of the advanced features that can be found in the tenth-generation vehicles. However, despite a relatively short four-year production run, the ninth generation Honda Civic received two substantial refreshes. The 2013 model year brought a noticeable upgrade in general interior quality and comfort, while the 2014 model year saw the aging five-speed automatic transmission replaced by a more fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission. This second update also included new options such as keyless ignition and touchscreen infotainment.

Finally, there are still plenty of used eighth-generation Honda Civics to be found on local dealership lots. Introduced for the 2006 model year, these cars are somewhat dated by modern standards but still make for extraordinarily affordable and relatively comfortable transportation. Further, the eighth-generation cars are often considered the sportiest of the three most recent Honda Civic generations as they are noticeably smaller and lighter than the newer cars but still have just as much power under the hood. While the eighth generation was refreshed for the 2009 model year, the changes were relatively minor. Further, even with models that are as reliable as the Honda Civic, used cars that are more than ten years old are usually best avoided.

What Trims to Choose?

A grey popular used car near me, a 2014 Honda Civic Si, is parked in front of fall foliage.

Through all three of these generations, Honda maintained a fairly consistent naming scheme for its trim levels. The three most common trims of the Honda Civic are the LX, EX, and Si. The LX is a fairly basic model but still has enough features that it cannot be considered spartan or uncomfortable by the standards of the time. The EX is the more luxury-oriented trim that usually includes upgrades such as additional speakers and automatic climate control. However, it also includes performance improvements such as adding a turbocharged engine in the tenth generation or four-wheel disc brakes in the eighth and ninth generations.

But the true performance variant of the Honda Civic is its Si trim. The Si designation originally stood for “Sport Injection” and referred to that trim’s unique direct injection engine when the base Honda Civic still had carburetors. Today, direct injection is standard across the lineup, but the Honda Civic Si still has significant engineering differences from the other Honda Civic trims. These include a larger and more powerful engine, upgraded suspension and brakes, and a standard limited-slip front differential to maximize power delivery. But if you do not want a manual transmission, then look elsewhere because the Honda Civic Si has never been equipped with an automatic.

But while the LX, EX, and Si trims are the three most common versions of the Honda Civic, they are far from the only trims. The eighth-generation offered both a stripped-down DX trim that lacked a radio, speakers, or air conditioning, as well as a unique GX trim that ran on natural gas instead of gasoline. Meanwhile, the tenth generation filled out the lineup with a fairly basic Sport trim, a top of the line Touring trim, and the racetrack-ready Type R variant. Finally, all three generations have an EX-L trim that combines the features of the EX trim with a leather interior and a variety of similar minor trims that add or remove features from more common trim levels.

Affordable, Reliable, and Fun

But no matter which generation, body style, or trim you choose, the Honda Civic is one of the best used cars available. While it may cost a bit more upfront than the compact cars from some other manufacturers, the extraordinary reliability of the Honda Civic will mean fewer headaches and unexpected repair bills down the road. And while reliable often means boring, the Honda Civic is anything but that. The Honda Civic Si and Honda Civic Type R transform this car into a legitimate performance machine, but even the more basic trims of the Honda Civic provide a playful and enjoyable driving experience. This makes a used Honda Civic a rare car that is simultaneously affordable, reliable, and fun.

Posted in Used Cars Near Me