Used Honda Civic 2006-2011 review
2007 Honda Civic. Click for larger photo
Rarely, automakers redesign their best selling cars by completely overhauling their styling and platform. It worked for the 7-th generation Honda Civic as it remained the second-best selling small car in the US, only behind Toyota Corolla.
The 2006-2011 Honda Civic comes as a sedan or coupe. It has front wheel-drive and a sporty 4-wheel independent suspension. The interior space is ample with plenty of head and legroom in the front. Rear seat space is average for the class. The digital speedometer is placed closer to the view of the road in a Prius-like fashion. Front seats are supportive; the driver's seat height is adjustable. Controls are simple. An audio system in LX and higher trims comes with an auxiliary input jack. A USB audio interface is available on EX, Hybrid and Si models starting from 2009. The trunk is spacious; the rear seatbacks fold down in all models except Hybrid.
The Civic's fuel economy is among the best in its class. Maintenance costs are moderate. Overall reliability is above average, but there are a few issues used car buyers should take into consideration, read below.
2007 Honda Civic interior. Click for larger photo
Honda Civic 1.8L engine. Click for larger photo
Lineup: Honda Civic comes in four trim levels: barebone DX, mid-level LX, sporty Si and top of the line EX, with features like leather-wrapped steering, heated leather seats and navigation.
The sporty Civic Si comes only with a manual transmission and offers a stronger engine, firmer springs and thicker stabilizer bars. There is also a Honda Civic Hybrid and a very rare natural gas-powered Civic GX.
Powertrain: The Civic DX, LX and EX models have a 140-hp SOHC i-VTEC 1.8L 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. The Civic Si comes with the 197-hp 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC inline-4 with high compression ratio (11.0:1) and for that reason, requires premium gasoline. Both engines use a maintenance-free timing chain; there is no timing belt to worry about.
Honda Civic Hybrid: Available only as a sedan, the Civic Hybrid has a powerful electric motor sandwiched between a 4-cylinder 1.3L engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). A used Honda Civic Hybrid is not very expensive, but according to Consumer Reports, the hybrid battery was a trouble spot, especially in the 2009 model. The battery warranty has been extended for some models. This article explains in more details.
Fuel Economy: The EPA rates the 2006 Civic with a 1.8L engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission at 26/36 mpg (9.0/6.5 L/100 km) city/highway. This means that Honda Civic can drive up to 356 miles (573 km) on a 13.2-gallon (50 liter) tank. The 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid gets 40/45 mpg city/highway (5.9/5.2 L/100 km).
Ride and handling: On the road, the Civic handles well, better than the sales-leader Toyota Corolla, although not as sporty as Mazda 3. The steering is precise and responsive; turning radius is pretty good. The ride is more on the firm side and you will hear some road and tire noise. The 1.8L accelerates easily and offers adequate power for daily driving.
Safety: Anti-lock brakes, side and side curtain airbags are standard. Vehicle stability control is available in Si and EX-L models. The 2006-2010 Honda Civic received five stars for both the driver and the front passenger in the NHTSA frontal crash tests. Starting with 2011 models, NHTSA has introduced tougher tests, where the 2011 Civic is rated with three stars overall: four stars in the front crash test and two stars in the side crash test. For more details, visit Safercar.gov.
Pros: Fuel economy, low maintenance costs, styling, sharp handling, holds value well, speedometer is close to the view of the road.
Cons: Low seating position, interior materials could be better, lack of standard equipment in DX models, road noise, weak rear suspension, tires wear fast.
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Overall: The Civic remains one of the top choices for a small car. Consumer Reports rates a used Honda Civic as 'Good Bet' with predicted reliability rated 'above average'. Mazda 3 is the closest alternative; Mazda 3 is also reliable and offers more sporty handling. Mitsubishi Lancer is another sporty compact car. Toyota Corolla has a soft and smooth ride and is also very reliable, although it's not sporty by any means.
Read about common problems and what to look for on the next page.