It’s not just new Honda Civics that sell well. Although the Toyota Corolla is a popular alternative, the Civic remains a used car go-to due to its practicality and overall affordability. But not every Civic was made equal. Some can develop issues over time, and others should be avoided altogether. But if you know what to look out for, you can surely find a Honda Civic that fits your wants, needs, and budget.
In our guide to reliable used Toyota SUVs under $20k, we restricted the list to SUVs made in the last 10 years. However, since Roadshow reports the average age of a used vehicle in the US is now just under 12 years, we’ll be considering Honda Civics made in 2008 or newer.
Recommended years for used Honda Civics
2008 is the mid-point of the Civic’s 8th-generation, made from 2005-2011. This avoids the transmission issues that plagued 2001 and 2002 Civics, as well as the 2006 model’s cracked engine blocks. The 2008 MY cars are less problematic than the ’06 ones, but they still have their issues.
CarComplaints lists numerous complaints of clear coats cracking and peeling, and paint simply failing and flaking off. Consumer Reports ranked the ’08 Honda Civic as merely ‘average’ in reliability, with repeated reports of paint and climate system failure. In addition, CarComplaints reports suggest Honda hadn’t completely solved the cracked engine block issue.
The later 8th-gen cars, the 2009-2011 models, are noticeably improved. CarComplaints does list some additional paint issues for the 2009 model year, but there’s less for 2010 and almost none for 2011. CR rated the 2009 and 2010 Civic’s reliability as ‘above average’, with the 2011 getting an ‘excellent’ rating.
The 2012-2015 9th-generation Civic isn’t remembered fondly. Although CR reports excellent reliability and recommends all 9th-gen Civics, Car and Driver explained that this model was a noticeable downgrade from years past. The interior materials felt cheaper, and the suspension and handling were a step back from previous Civics. Honda did make some changes to the latter for 2013, but it didn’t wholly fix the issues. Of the 9th-gen cars, CarComplaints reports the fewest issues on 2014 and 2015 models.
2016 saw the release of the 10th and current-gen Honda Civic. The 2016 MY should be avoided, due to its numerous powertrain, electrical, and infotainment problems. Though CR finds the 2017-2019 models to have only ‘average’ reliability, Car Complaints notes these models are significantly less troublesome than 2016 ones.
Used Honda Civic safety and sportiness
As with the current model, used Civics come in a variety of trim levels with differing levels of equipment. Even the 2008 models, though, offered built-in navigation, Bluetooth, and a backup camera on its higher-end trims. But if you want Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you’ll have to look for a fairly-recent model.
For those wanting the security of stability control, that didn’t become standard across the board until 2012. However, the higher-end trims of the 8th-gen car, the EX-L, and Si did get it earlier. Those wanting advanced driver-assistance features will have to shop for 10th-gen cars. However, the Civic has remained at least an IIHS Top Safety Pick since 2008, although the Si models were excluded from that in some years.
But the Honda Civic Si is a good choice for those wanting a reliable, fun commuter. The current Si has a turbocharged engine, but earlier models were naturally-aspirated, and, as Jalopnik and Hagerty explain, helped make “VTEC kicked in, yo” an iconic phrase. The 8th-gen Si was the first to offer a limited-slip differential and the only way to get a 6-speed manual in an 8th-gen Civic.
In addition, although the 2008 MY car has its faults, Road & Track reports it’s also the only year the Civic Si Mugen was available. It kept the standard Si’s 197-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder but added a sports exhaust, rear wing, 18” forged aluminum wheels, and revised suspension.
Those wanting even more performance may want to consider the Honda Civic Type R, although that wasn’t available in the US until 2017.
If fuel-efficiency is more important, there are also used hybrid Civics available.
Car and Driver reports the 2008 Honda Civic hybrid was rated at 40 mpg city and 45 mpg highway. However, CR reports the batteries took away trunk space, and that some early 8th-gen hybrids had battery packs fail altogether. If a hybrid is the goal, CarComplaints reports the 2010 and later models are significantly more reliable than the 2008 or 2009 cars. The last Honda Civic hybrid was made for the 2015 model year.
But there is one more used Civic that was also designed for the fuel-conscious. From 2006-2015, Honda offered a Civic powered by compressed natural gas. Called the ‘GX’ or simply ‘natural gas’ trim, Car and Driver reports it was the only CNG vehicle available to non-fleet customers.
Running its engine on CNG did mean giving up some horsepower and torque, and roughly half its trunk space. And, rather like today’s EVs, infrastructure remained an issue, Forbes reported. However, running a Civic on CNG did cost less and produce fewer emissions than running it on gasoline.
Used Honda Civic pricing guide
Generally speaking, options like navigation, leather, and automatics raise used Civic prices, especially in older models. In addition, the hybrid, Si, and Type R trims are going to command additional premiums.
For 8th-gen, 2009-2011 Honda Civics, typical prices range from $5000-$7000, depending on trim, according to CarGurus. Hybrid models are on the higher end of that scale. Coupes are roughly $1000 cheaper, while Si models are $2000-$3000 more expensive.
For 9th-gen, 2014-2015 Civics, the price range increases to $10,000-$13,000. As before, hybrids are on the higher end, and coupes are about $1000 cheaper. Si models, though, are now $3000-$4000 more expensive.
The most recent mildly-used Civics haven’t depreciated much. The cheapest are the 2017 models, which generally $15,000-$17,000. Si models, again, are more expensive, but so are the highest-end Touring models: the former commands a $3000-$4000 premium, while the latter is about $2000-$3000 more. Honda’s safety suite also adds about $1000 to the sticker price.
However, Honda Civic Type Rs have hardly depreciated at all. 2017 models are still selling for about $30k, which is only about $7000 less than the current model.
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