2006-2011 Honda Civic: problems, fuel economy, driving experience, photos

Updated: March 10, 2020

Honda gambled by completely overhauling the Civic styling and platform for 2006. It paid off, as the 8th generation Civic was the second-best-selling compact car in the U.S., only behind the Toyota Corolla. The 2006-2011 Honda Civic comes as a sedan or coupe. It's a popular fuel-efficient commuter; it's not uncommon to see the Civic last over 300,000 miles.

2007 Honda Civic interior
2007 Honda Civic interior.

The sporty Civic Si comes only with a manual transmission and offers a stronger engine, firmer springs and thicker stabilizer bars. The Civic has front wheel-drive and a sporty rear independent suspension. Inside, the Civic has a two-tier instrument panel with a digital speedometer closer to the view of the road. Maintenance costs are low, but is it reliable? What are the common problems? In this review we only cover the gasoline-powered Honda Civic.

Honda Civic Problems: There are many complaints about a broken or cracked sunvisor. An aftermarket part is sold online for $29-$39. An OEM part is a bit more expensive. The replacement is not very difficult, the sunvisor is held by a couple of screws. We found several YouTube videos describing the repair.
There have been reports about issues with the rear suspension: rear tires tend to wear unevenly on the inside (cupped tires). This may cause a vibration and a rumbling noise coming from tires. Often, the noise is more noticeable after a tire rotation; when cupped rear tires are placed in the front. To correct the issue, the Honda Service Bulletin 13-047 recommends installing a new rear upper control arm kit, replacing the flange bolts and performing the four-wheel alignment to the new specs. In general, tires last longer if rotated regularly. The wheel alignment can show if the rear tire angles are out of specs. It's a good idea to get the alignment done when installing new tires.

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There are quite a few complaints about clearcoat peeling. If the clearcoat is still in good shape in your car, applying car wax at least once a year may help protect it.
A faulty wheel bearing can cause a humming noise noticeable at higher speeds that gets louder when changing lanes. Replacing a wheel bearing costs from $250 to $450.

2008 Honda Civic
2008 Honda Civic.


A number of Civic owners mentioned problems with the air conditioner. Some owners said that the A/C clutch or the whole compressor had to be replaced; however, we found several owners mentioning that a bad A/C relay can cause the A/C compressor not to engage. The A/C relay is an inexpensive part and should be checked first if the A/C is not working. Watch these YouTube videos for more info.
A bad passenger's side hydraulic side engine mount can cause the engine vibration to be felt inside the car, as well as a thumping/clunking noise from the right front side of the vehicle. We found the Honda service bulletin 06-060 "Rattle or Knock From Right-Front of Vehicle When Driving Over Bumps" that advises inspecting the side engine mount for tearing or leaking and replacing it if it's bad. Replacing the side engine mount is not very difficult and may cost from $160 to $320 in a repair shop. Read more about the engine mount.
The Civic's small-size battery can fail after 5 years or earlier; it's not very expensive to replace ( $135-$210).
There have been complaints about a cracked engine block in the 2006-2009 1.8L models. According to this post at Consumer Reports, Honda has extended the engine warranty to 10 years with unlimited mileage. As far as we know, many cars have already been repaired, however, we also found a few recent complaints. This thread at CivicForums.com talks about this issue.

Powertrain: The Civic DX, LX and EX trims have a 140-hp SOHC i-VTEC 1.8L (R18) 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. The Civic Si comes with a 197-hp 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC (K20) inline-4 with a high compression ratio (11.0:1) and, for that reason, requires premium gasoline.

Timing belt or timing chain: Both the 1.8L R18 and 2.0L K20 engines use a maintenance-free timing chain; there is no timing belt.

Fuel Economy: The EPA rates the 2007-2010 Civic with a 1.8L engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission at 25/36 mpg (9.4/6.5 L/100 km) city/highway. This means that you can travel up to 383 miles (616 km) on a 13.2-gallon (50 liter) tank. The 2006-2010 Civic hybrid gets 40/45 mpg. The 2008-2011 Civic Si manual is rated at 21/29 mpg city/highway.

Handling and ride: The Civic handles well, with minimal body roll.

Honda Civic engine

Honda Civic 1.8L engine.

Honda Civic instruments

Two-tier instrument panel.

The steering is precise and responsive with a tight turning diameter (34.8 ft curb-to-curb). The ride is on the firm side and you can hear some road and tire noise. The 1.8L engine is quick off the line and offers adequate power for daily driving.

Reliability: As of March 2020, Consumer Reports rates the 2006 and 2009-2011 Civic 'above average' for reliability; the 2007 and 2008 Civic are rated 'average'. On the other hand, CarComplaints.com has many reports about a cracked engine block in the 2006 Civic and fewer in the 2007 and 2008 Civic. In many 2006-2008 Civics, this problem has already been addressed during the extended warranty, however, we have found a few recent reports about this issue. This means that the 2006-2008 Civic should probably be avoided, unless it can be verified that the engine block has already been replaced. The 2011 is the best model year.

Pros: Fuel economy, low maintenance costs, styling, driving experience, holds value well, speedometer is close to the view of the road.

Cons: Low to the ground, small-size battery, interior materials could be better, lack of standard equipment in DX models, road noise, weak rear suspension, tires wear fast.

Overall: Despite problems mentioned above, the Civic is still one of the top choices for an inexpensive fuel-efficient commuter. Watch this YouTube video of the 2007 Civic hitting 300,000 miles. The Mazda 3 is the closest alternative; it is reliable and offers a sporty driving experience. The Toyota Corolla has a soft and smooth ride and is also reliable, although it's not sporty.

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What to look for when buying a used Honda Civic: If you want the Civic DX, see if it has the features you need.

2007 Honda Civic interior

2008 Honda Civic interior.

2007 Honda Civic interior

2008 Honda Civic rear seat.

2008 Honda Civic trunk

2008 Honda Civic trunk.

The air conditioner, power locks, cruise control and even the map lights were not on the list of DX's standard equipment. Check the tires; see if any of the tires appear to be "cupped" or worn unevenly on the inside.

During the test drive, watch out for tire noise. Cupped tires can cause a rumbling or humming noise that changes with speed. Check the condition of the sunvisors; they were a weak spot in earlier models. Make sure the air conditioner works; there are many complaints about the A/C working intermittently or not working at all. Read more: How to inspect a used car - illustrated guide. During the test drive of the Civic Si, watch out for a slipping clutch and see how the manual transmission shifts; all shifts should be smooth and easy. Before buying, have the vehicle properly inspected by an independent mechanic. The 1.8L engine needs to be checked carefully for cracks and leaks. It's a good idea to check with a Honda dealer if all the recalls and engine computer software updates have been done.

Maintenance tips: We checked the owner's manuals for the 2006-2011 sedan models.

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Honda recommends using 5W-20 oil in the 1.8L gasoline engine (Except Si) and 5W-30 oil in the Civic Si. Regular oil changes will help keep your engine in good shape longer.

The 2006-2011 Civic uses the Maintenance Minder system that calculates oil life based on operating conditions and engine revolutions. When your next service is due, the Maintenance Minder will display a message on the information display. The Maintenance Minder needs to be reset after completing the required maintenance service. You can find the instructions on how to reset the Maintenance Minder in your owner's manual in the Maintenance > Maintenance Minder section.

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Resources:
Recalls: Safety Recalls - NHTSA or Transport Canada - Motor Vehicle Safety Recalls.
Owner's Manual and Warranty - download the owner's manual.
Honda Owners: Maintenance Schedule - check the maintenance schedule online.


Related:
2009-2013 Toyota Corolla review »
2010-2013 Mazda 3 review »

2007 Honda Civic specifications

Dimensions:
Overall length:
Overall width:
Overall height:
Wheelbase:
176.7 in (4,489 mm)
69.0 in (1,752 mm)
56.5 in (1,435 mm)
106.3 in (2,700 mm)
Cargo Volume: 12.0 cu. ft. (340 L)
Engines:
Civic DX, LX, EX:


Civic Si:


1.8L, 16-valve, SOHC, i-VTEC 4-cylinder
140 hp @ 6,300 rpm, 128 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm

2.0L, 16-valve, DOHC, i-VTEC 4-cylinder
197 hp @ 7,800 rpm, 139 lb-ft @ 6,100 rpm
Required Fuel:
Civic DX, LX, EX:

Civic Si:

Regular Unleaded

Premium Unleaded
Fuel Tank Capacity:

13.2 US gal (50 liters)

Oil capacity with filter:
Oil Change including filter:
Except Si model
Si model

3.9 US qt. (3.7 liters)
4.6 US qt. (4.4 liters)
By Samarins.com Staff