The Honda Civic is a compact car in production since model year 1973. Upon its introduction in July 1972, it was intended to be an economy car much like the N600/Z600 subcompacts and the short-lived 1300 sedan/coupe it slotted in between in the Honda lineup in Japan. The Civic debuted at the right time during the automotive industry’s history: 1973 had wrought a very sufferable energy crisis. This placed heavy demand on automakers to develop efficient economy vehicles, many of them being compact hatchbacks with options kept to a minimum. Thus, the Civic was Honda’s answer to this energy crisis, and proved to be a popular seller for many years since its launch.
The first generation Civic was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan, 3- or 5-door hatchback, and a 5-door station wagon. The initial engine offering was an 1169cc (1.2L) inline-4. A 4-speed manual transmission was standard, but the Civic could also be had with the 2-speed Hondamatic, Honda’s first ever automatic transmission. To further ensure utmost compact-car economy, the Civic’s wheelbase was at 2200 mm (86.6 in); and its exterior length was kept to 3551 mm (139.8 in). Curb weight was at a very light 680 kilograms (1500 lb or 3/4 tons). 1974 saw a slight upgrade to the US-market Civic: a slightly larger 1.2-liter inline-4 and 5-mph safety bumpers. The bumpers increased the Civic’s exterior length to 3731 mm (146.9 in). A new emissions-reducing technology called CVCC debuted in the 1975 Civic. CVCC stood for “Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion”, and it later found its way into the Honda Accord.
Before the debut of the second generation Civic for model year 1980, the Civic got a cosmetic upgrade for 1978 – 1979. It retained the standard 1.2-liter and 1.5-liter CVCC engines as before; albeit with added power.
The second generation Civic debuted in July 1979 as a 1980 model. Motive power came from either a “1300” 1.3-liter or a “1500” (1.5L) CVCC. 1982 saw an upgrade; namely, an addition of larger black plastic bumpers and more rectangular lights. The Civic kept this Prelude-esque look until 1983.
September 1983 saw the introduction of the third generation Civic. The Civic lineup now consisted of a 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, and a 5-door wagon now called Shuttle. In the US, the Shuttle was called Wagovan. The wheelbase of the hatchback measured at 2388 mm, while the sedan measured at 2438 mm. Model year 1984 saw the debut of the Honda Ballade-based “Ballade Sports CR-X“. This was a 3-door hatchback, which launched in North America as the “Civic CRX“. This special model had either an economy or sport variant. The economy variant, hence the name, had an emphasis more on economy: it was equipped with a 1.3-liter CVCC engine. This unit threw out 60 horsepower. The sport model had a 1.5-liter engine. 1985 saw an update to the sports model, which included a trim level called Si (“sports, injected”). The Si had a fuel-injected 1.5-liter, which gave 91 horsepower.
1986 saw a facelift to both the standard Civic and CRX models. The headlights were changed from the recessed type to flush mounted. The Civic/CRX would be little changed for 1987.
September 1987 saw the debut of the fourth generation Civic. The wheelbase had been extended to 2,500 mm (98.4 in). Likewise in 1988, the second generation CRX debuted, its wheelbase over 2,300 mm, making it 100 mm longer than the first gen CRX, but 200 mm shorter than the standard Civic.
Also that year, the sporty Civic Si hatchback debuted with a 1.6L D16A6 inline-4 as its power. At first, it threw out 105 horsepower, but was increased at 108 horsepower a year after. In general, the fourth generation Civic would last in production through August 1991.
September 1991 saw the introduction of the fifth generation Civic. This generation could be had in 2-door coupe (EJ1/EJ2); 3-door hatchback (EH2/EH3); and 4-door sedan (EG8/EH9). The EG8 line consisted of the USDM DX and LX, and the Canadian LX, LX “Special Edition” (1994-1995), and EX. All these models were powered by a 102 horsepower 1.5-liter D15B7. The EH9 was the USDM EX sedan, which was powered by a 125 horsepower 1.6-liter D16Z6.
The VIN codes for the Japanese hatchbacks were EG3 and EG6, but North American hatches were numbered EH2 and EH3. The EH2 lineup consisted of the USDM CX, VX, and DX. While both the American and Canadian CX got their own versions of the 1.5-liter D15 engine, the power output was different for each. The USDM mill threw out 70 horsepower, while the Canadian CX was more powerful, at 102 horsepower. The DX got the D15B7 with the same 102 horsepower in both markets, while the VX got the D15Z1 with VTEC-E. The VX hatch could be had only with a manual transmission. The EH3 was the Si hatchback, which could be had with a 1.6-liter D16Z6 VTEC engine good for 125 horsepower. The Canadian Si hatch was produced 1992 to 1993 only.
The EJ1/EJ2 comprised the coupe lineup. All DX models including the “Special Edition” got the same 102 horsepower 1.5-liter D15B7, while the USDM EX and EX-S got the 125 horsepower 1.6-liter D16Z6 VTEC. The Canadian counterpart of the US-market EX was the Si (the sport model).
The fifth generation Civic would remain little changed until the end of its production run in 1995.
September 1995 saw the introduction of the sixth generation Civic. This car came in coupe, hatchback, and sedan forms. The EJ6 was the DX/LX sedan and coupe, as well as the CX hatchback; the EJ7 was the USDM HX coupe; the EJ8 was the EX sedan and coupe, as well as the Canadian Si coupe; the EJ9 was the 1.4L SOHC sedan; the EK1 was the 1.5L SOHC VTEC-E hatchback; the EK2 was the 1.3L hatchback; the EK3 was the 1.5L SOHC VTEC-E hatchback; the EK4 was the SiR/VTi hatchback; the EM1 was the 1999-2000 Si/SiR coupe; and the EN1 was the USDM GX sedan.
August 1997 saw the introduction of the Japanese-only Type-R (codenamed EK9). Assembled in Suzuka, Japan, this was the hatchback model with 182 horsepower 1.6L B16B inline-4 paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. The interior featured red racing seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. For 1999, the Civic was cosmetically updated. This was the year the Si and SiR models were introduced into the coupe lineup. In 2000, Spoon Sports modified the Type-R to a “racing version” which had a higher engine-revving redline.
Model year 2001 saw the debut of the seventh generation Civic. While this car came in sedan, hatchback, and coupe forms, the coupe was available only in North America. December 2001 saw the debut of two Civic variants: the Civic Hybrid and the second generation Type-R hatchback. The JDM Hybrid was assembled in Suzuka, Japan, while the EP3 Type-R was built in Swindon, England by Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM). The Type-R was equipped with a 2.0L K20A producing 200 horsepower for the European version, and 212 horsepower for Japan. The “Type-R” also found its way into North America in the form of the Si and SiR hatchbacks. However, power was detuned to 160 hp from its K20A3 unit. Spring 2002 saw the introduction of the Civic Hybrid in the US market. The Hybrid was equipped with a 1.3L LDA inline-4 paired to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a CVT. Model year 2004 saw a facelift for the Civic lineup. This time it had gained sharper headlights and differing style taillights. This design was retained until September 2005, the end of its production run.
September 2005 saw the introduction of the 2006 model year Civic. The wheelbase of the sedan was at 2700 mm (106.3 in), while the coupe sat at a shorter 2649 mm (104.3 in). In addition to the standard Honda Civic model, Canada received a rebadged version of Japan’s Civic Sedan, the Acura CSX. This model, which shared the same fascia with the Japanese Civic, remained in production for the length of the production of the eighth generation Civic itself (that is, until 2011). The Hybrid model remained in the lineup also. It retained the 1.3L LDA inline-4 engine found in the prior Hybrid model, but this time paired to a more powerful electric motor for better mileage. It won 4 awards in 2006.
For North America, the Civic Si remained as the top-of-the-line performance model. It was available as a coupe (FG2) and sedan (FA5). Motive power came from a 2.0L K20Z3 i-VTEC throwing out 197 horsepower, and was paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. In 2007, Canada got the identical Acura CSX Type-S, employing the same 2.0L K20Z3 powertrain. Both the Acura CSX (for Canada only) and the Civic Si were assembled in Alliston, Ontario by Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM). Model year 2009 saw a mid-cycle refresh for the entire Civic lineup, including the Canadian-market Acura CSX. The eight generation Civic ended production in 2011.
The ninth generation Civic debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2011 and went on sale that spring as a 2012 model. The wheelbase for the sedan sat at 2670 mm (105.1 in), and the coupe sat at 2620 mm (103.1 in). Exterior length for the sedan was 4525 mm (178.1 in), and the coupe at 4472 mm (176.1 in).
The Civic Si (FB6 sedan and FG4 coupe) gained a new motor. A 205 horsepower 2.4L K24Z7 powered the car, and was paired to a 6-speed manual transmission. The Hybrid also gained an upgrade: its powertrain now consisted of a water-cooled 1.5-liter i-VTEC with Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). Rowing the gears in the Hybrid was done by a CVT automatic. 2012 saw a facelift to the North American Civic lineup, and again in 2014.
In 2015, Honda UK Manufacturing (HUKM) in Swindon, England started production on the European-market Type R hatchback, codenamed FK2. This model was powered by a 2.0L K20C1 (turbocharged) throwing out 306 horsepower and 295 lb/ft of torque. Japan received approximately only 750 such models.
2015 saw the end of production for the ninth generation Civic, and the end of the Civic Hybrid lineup. Following this year, 2016 would see no production of a Civic Hybrid.
Honda Motor Co debuted a Civic coupe concept previewing the tenth generation model at the New York Auto Show in April 2015. The sedan was previewed in September 2015, and the production coupe debuted at Los Angeles in November. Both the sedan and coupe started production and sales in model year 2016. The hatchback joined the lineup for 2017. Exterior length for the hatchback was 4519 mm, and width at 1799 mm.
In 2017, Honda of Canada debuted the Civic Si, based on the sedan and coupe. Production took place in Alliston, Ontario, and power came from a 1.5L L15B7 (turbocharged) good for 205 horsepower.
The fifth generation Type R debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017. This model was built by Honda UK in Swindon, England, and got power from a 2.0L K20C1 turbo. In Europe and Japan, power was at 316 horsepower, while the North American Type R threw out 306 horsepower. The exterior dimensions for the Type R compared to the base hatchback were radical: the Type R was 4557 mm in length (compared to the base’s 4519), and 1877 mm in width (versus the base 1799mm).