When someone mentions the Honda Civic in a conversation, it is most often brings to mind a mode of transport that is neither flashy nor sporty, mundane might be an apt adjective. However mundane the Honda Civic may be, the overall majority of Honda Civics produced since its introduction in 1973 have proven reliable and durable.
Best years for a used Honda Civic
Buying a used car is a game of give-and-take. On the take side, there is the lower purchase price, lower insurance premium, and lower depreciation all leading to a lower cost of ownership. Of course, you’re giving up the factory warranty and the new car smell that comes with buying a new car.
It’s important to consider that there is a sweet spot age-wise when buying used. It is true that generally, the older a car is the less it costs initially but buying a car that is past its prime could be costly in the long run. An eighth-generation Honda Civic, produced between 2005 and 2011, or a ninth-gen version spanning 2012 through 2015 in the United States are in that sweet spot for used Civic buyers, especially for a new driver.
The eighth-generation Honda Civic
The eighth-gen Honda Civic was produced from 2005 to 2011 but according to Car Complaints the earlier models, especially 2006, had some issues with cracked engine blocks. The number of complaints dropped steadily through 2011, which only had 93 reports that mostly consist of issues with interior accessories.
Consumer Reports says that the eighth generation was improved over previous Civics in that it offers more interior space with a better, quieter ride. Most eighth-gen Civics will have a high-revving 1.8-liter inline-four power plant producing 140 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque.
Edmunds reports that a 2009 Civic equipped with the 1.8-liter and automatic transmission is capable of 0-60 mph in 9.6 seconds. That kind of performance isn’t likely to win any races, but it will serve nicely to get to school or work and back safely and economically.
The 2011 Honda Civic earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick designation and was equipped with standard safety features such as airbags, active front head restraints, and anti-lock brakes. Some higher trim levels were available with electronic stability control (ESC) and four-wheel disc brakes.
The ninth-generation Honda Civic
The ninth-gen Civics, produced between 2012 and 2015, saw an increase in registered complaints in its introductory year but remained relatively low through the 2015 model year.
Ninth-gen Civics offered more interior space, a 5-inch infotainment screen with iPod connectivity, and an economy mode to increase fuel economy. 2014 Civics offer an available continuously variable transmission (CVT) with increased fuel economy and Bluetooth connectivity.
The best choice for $5,000
If going over $5,000 isn’t a deal-breaker, a 2014 or 2015 ninth-gen Civic is definitely worth a look. But for those buyers shopping for a teenager’s first car who are intent on staying on a $5,000 budget, the 2011 Honda Civic checks all the boxes. It has enough technology to keep a teen driver safe and secure, exceptional fuel economy, enough infotainment technology to allow music from their smartphone playing over the car’s speaker system, and enough power to enter highway traffic safely, without fear of them losing control.
If more performance is desired, consider upgrading your search to include the sportier Honda Civic Si. The 2011 Honda Civic Si features a 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 197 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque with a five-speed manual transmission and limited-slip front differential to propel the 2,954-pound Civic from 0 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.