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The Best Used Honda Civic Model Years You Should Buy

Honda is a brand known for its reliability and longevity. Evidence can be found just looking around on the roads – many of the older cars you see still going strong are Honda models. This is especially true for the Honda Civic. Since it burst on the scene in 1973, it has proven to be a favorite for its compact size, fun styling, and amazing fuel economy. If you’re looking to buy a used Honda Civic, which are the best model years to look for?

Which used Honda Civic models are best?

Honda Civic on display at Brussels Expo on January 9, 2020
The Honda Civic | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

The 2014 Honda Civic had been around for 5 years, but it has a very low number of complaints on the website Car Complaints. Most of the complaints that were received were for very minor issues such as interior accessories problems, body and paint problems, and exterior accessory problems. 

The 2012 Honda also received very few complaints beyond that the seats were uncomfortable. This was the first year of the ninth generation of Civic models, so it saw many improvements over earlier models including improved suspension and handling. Some swear by the eighth-generation Honda Civic models, which came out from 2006 to 2011. Civics from these years came with four trim options with a 1.8-liter engine. 

One way to choose which used Honda Civic model is best is to go by the Civic that gets stolen the most. This would be a classic, the 1998 Honda Civic. According to Consumer Affairs, one reason thieves love this vehicle is the value as a source for aftermarket parts. Of course, these were also the days before standard car alarms. Drivers love them because they are one of the original hot hatches that have proven popularity and longevity.

Honda reliability

According to Autotrader, people recommend the Honda brand because they believe it’s reliable. One reason is that used Hondas usually score well on respected surveys from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports that give them high-reliability ratings. They are also recommended because they are so familiar to drivers. When a car company has been around since the 1970s, it’s pretty much ingrained in the population’s psyche. Plus, the amount of older model Hondas still on the road is visible proof of their longevity. 

Honda and Toyota are often put in the same category. The Japanese carmakers do share a lot in common, especially in earlier generations. Recent Consumer Reports studies actually put Toyota way ahead in the reliability category. A 2019 report put Toyota at No. 1 and Honda back at No. 15. Honda’s position has steadily dropped over the last 5 years while Toyota’s has remained steady.

How to maintain your used Honda Civic

When you choose a used Honda, maintenance is the key to keeping your Civic on the road for a long time. If possible, grab the car’s maintenance records from the previous owner. The best thing to look for is whether the car has had regular oil changes and other recommended scheduled maintenance. There are a few things to keep in mind to keep your Civic running smoothly.

  • For Civics with more than 90,000 miles, inspect the timing belt and replace it if needed.
  • Replace water pump on Civics between 75,000 and 100,000 miles.
  • Change the oil in your Civic every 3,000 miles.

Between the 1998, 2012, and 2014 models, these are 3 of the best used Honda Civic models you should buy if you’re shopping for a pre-owned Honda. Not only do they have a low number of complaints by their owners, but they also have the proven reliability of used Hondas. With the right maintenance, your used Honda Civic can go for hundreds of thousands of miles.