Does the Honda Civic still hold up?

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Honda Civic has been an evergreen of the small car class for more than 40 years; you could buy or recommend it with total confidence. By 2012 Civic was up to its ninth generation and while not the fastest or most technically sophisticated car, it still comes together extremely well as a package, making it ideally suited to the rigours of daily commuting.

Plenty of choice

There are plenty of model variations in the line-up, although some, such as the diesel and the Hybrid, are hard to find on the used car market.

Your choice is with two distinct cars: the eye-catching five-door hatchback built in Britain and a more conservative sedan that for the most part has come from Thailand. The hybrid sedan however is from Japan. All are built to Honda’s usual high standard of quality and finish. The majority of hatches advertised are the VTi-S model, while in the sedan it tends to be the better equipped VTi-L.

Praise for driving ease

Civic owners we spoke with praised the driving ease and good use of interior space. There’s an invitingly open cabin with a practical layout and comfortable seats. The unique two-tiered instrument panel works well, while switches and controls are logically placed and easy to use. Visibility, while not perfect, is better than many of its peers. There is a good-size boot but unfortunately the spare is a space-saver.

Most Civics are powered by a 1.8L petrol engine producing a respectable 103kW and 174Nm. The 2.0L Sport (114kW and 188Nm) has a little better performance but it’s still not exceptionally strong. Manual transmissions are available but a 5-speed automatic is more common.

Offers comfortable commuting

Even though Civic won’t out-run the class leaders, its delivery is smooth and performance is respectable for comfortable commuting. There’s a pleasing balance of handling and ride. Civic sits flat through the corners, the steering loading is a little light but still with sufficient feel and the compliant suspension absorbs most bumps for a reasonably comfortable ride.

Upgrades bring extras

Upgrades in 2014 (April for the hatch and the sedan in July) added extra equipment to each model. The hatch suspension was also revised, while a new entry level sedan broadened the range.

Mechanically, we are not aware of any inherent problems in the Civic and the only recall on the ninth generation has been for some of 2015 hatchbacks that came with the wrong owner’s manual.


Scheduled servicing is every 10,000km or six months, which is more frequent than many of Civic’s rivals, but the associated cost is not excessive and should be seen as an investment in the car’s longevity. Depending on how the car is driven, brake wear can be an issue at times, particularly in the hatch with its softer pad set-up. Disc rotors may also need replacing at the same time.

RACV can help

RACV’s online car-buying service
RACV Vehicle Inspections or call 13 RACV
RACV Car Loans, 13 15 60 or RACV shops
RACV Insurance, 13 RACV or RACV shops
RACV Accredited Auto Care or 9790 2190
Car History
RACV Green Light Approved Dealers

Written by Greg Hill
April 04, 2016