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The 5 Best and Worst Honda Civic Models of All Time

The Honda Civic is a reliable, fun car to drive, but there have been some models that are not worth your time or money.

Best and Worst Honda Civic Models of All Time

Honda Civics have long been some of the most popular compacts on the road. Since they arrived in 1972, these small cars have had a plethora of fans and owners, and for a good reason: they delivered a fun driving experience, an outstanding safety rating, and a consistently reliable car that was sure to last you for years (and miles); Honda strives to create one of the best cars in its class year after year, which is why you'll find it on many "Car of the Year" lists.

To commemorate the car's 50th anniversary, Honda released a Civic in 2021 named the 11th generation. It's the most advanced Civic yet, with more innovations for comfort, safety, and convenience to help you get more out of life. However, not every Civic is built alike; in this article, we will attempt to determine whether some years of Civic are better than others.

Here is a look at some of the best and worst Honda Civics ever made. This can help you decide if the Honda Civic is right for your next car purchase.

Here are 5 of the best Honda Civic models, each with its own special features.

11973 Honda Civic

1973 Honda Civic

The first Honda Civic is certainly a must on any top Civics list because it set the stage for the trajectory of Honda's success. It arrived at a very convenient time when the world economy was reeling from its first oil crisis, and the automotive industry really needed a car that would be practical, enjoyable, and most importantly, reliable.

Honda delivered on all counts by making a compact, economical, and more fuel-efficient car than many of its competitors. Needless to say, it won over a lot of hearts. It was not fancy, but it did its job well. Honda's tagline for this car was "Honda: We make it simple."

RELATED: 10 Greatest Honda Cars of All Time

21998 Honda Civic R

1998 Honda Civic R

Honda's price has always been a selling point for the majority of consumers. It's always been a reliable car that suits every family and can be driven all year round without having to stop at every gas station passed. It came with a small inline four-cylinder and the choice of a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

The 1998 Honda Civic R was a family car designed for everyday driving that drove like a sports car. The double-wishbone suspension gave it the ability to take sharp corners quickly, but it couldn’t handle curves as well as a Porsche. Owners rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars online, where they left their reviews.

32000 Honda Civic Si

2000 Honda Civic Si

The 2000 Honda Civic is a favorite among Honda enthusiasts, especially those who appreciate the problems that arose in the 2001-2002 models. The 2000 Si is a cheap car that offers a great driving experience thanks to the 1.6-liter B16A2 engine, which generates 8000 rpm and features double overhead cams.

The Civic featured Honda’s VTEC variable valve timing and lift system, which helped it go up to 60 mph in just 7 seconds.

42014 Honda Civic EX-L

2014 Honda Civic EX-L

The past couple of years has not been great for Honda. Critics were hammering them about some of the issues that the Civics had. The 2014 Honda Civic EX-L put a cork in the mouths of those critics and then some. A 2013 emergency refresh addressed the most crucial problems, and 2014 brought even more improvements and fixed them to make it a reliable car for all ages.

The 2014 EX-L received a reliability rating of 5 out of 5, losing some points on acceleration. However, expecting this family car to perform like a sporty hatchback is unrealistic, so that we can ignore that rating.

52019 Honda Civic

2019 Honda Civic

Despite some minor setbacks, Honda has always been able to bounce back from them. And this is exactly what it did with its 10th-generation Civic. As a result, the 2019 edition is refined, practical, and great to drive.

The 2019 Honda Civic offers several different body styles, including a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan, and a hatchback. In fact, with the 2019 Civic, Honda demonstrates that you can have power and fuel efficiency—and still enjoy driving.

The 2019 model also scores well on crash tests and features a host of safety features. So if you’re looking for a used Civic, this one should definitely be on your list.

RELATED: The 7 Most Expensive Honda Cars Ever Made

Here are 5 of the worst Honda Civic models ever made.

12001 Honda Civic

2001 Honda Civic

Problems: 1,331

The 2001 Honda Civic is one of the worst cars ever made by Honda. The reason behind this is not because of the design or how well it drives, but rather manufacturing issues that caused numerous problems for owners of the past and continue to bring issues today.

The 2001 Civic has had 27 recalls, which is a lot. Some of the most notable ones were for the Takata airbags—the airbags could shoot shrapnel at you if they deployed. A definite car to avoid, especially when there are so many other Honda Civics that are safer.

RELATED: You Should Avoid These 5 Used Cars That Won’t Last 100,000 Miles

22002 Honda Civic Si

2002 Honda Civic Si

Problems: 849

The 2002 Civic Si has some good features—160 hp, for example—but it’s not extraordinary because it doesn't handle as well as other cars in its class. It's roomy and fuel-efficient, but it lacks the technology and design of more modern competitors.

The Si comes with limited interior design options, and it also has pronounced road noise. Some common issues reported by owners include engine block cracks, cracked exhaust manifolds, and transmission failure due to design flaws.

32006,2007,2008 Honda Civic Si

2006,2007,2008 Honda Civic Si

Problems: 1,490, 1,321, 954

In 2006, the Honda Civic was refreshed. It got a new drivetrain that combined Variable Timing Control with Lift Electronic Control, which is known as i-VTEC. The engine was made from an aluminum block with cast-iron liners, making it lighter and more responsive.

The 2006 Honda Civic Si has some common problems with its paint and trims pieces, as well as climate control issues. However, it is on this list because of the cracked blocks that occurred on numerous cars, causing them to overheat and do even more damage. This car had a 3-out-of-5 reliability rating, but customer satisfaction was down to a 2 out of 5 because of all the issues that needed to be dealt with throughout their ownership of the ’06 Si.

42012 Honda Civic

2012 Honda Civic

Problems: 559

The Civic has a reputation for being better than other similar vehicles. However, that reputation did not extend to the 2012 model. Although reliable and delivering good performance, it was no longer among the top-rated vehicles in its class. Even though its design and engineering features were okay, they were no longer the best available in the market at that price point.

Honda is one of the few manufacturers that have not adopted a 6-speed automatic transmission. Also, the old 140-hp engine has received no upgrade, and the ride can get unsettled and bumpy on bad roads. All the criticism received sent Honda engineers back to the drawing board, and thankfully significant improvements were made to handling and styling in the 2013 model.

52016 Honda Civic

2016 Honda Civic

Problems: 860

Despite the model, most cars have the same rule: avoid buying the first year of a redesign. Why? Most of the issues have yet to be worked out on a mass scale, and there's a risk in terms of quality and reliability for purchasing a vehicle. Unfortunately, even for popular models like the Honda Civic, this applies as well.

The 2016 Civic has reported Bluetooth connectivity issues and electronic issues with the display screen. There are also A/C issues commonly reported within this model year. While most of these issues have likely been addressed, it's something to keep in mind. Therefore, if there's a choice between the 2016 and 2017 versions, it's best to go with the 2017 version.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for a cheap commuter, a fun little car that doesn't cost too much to maintain and is relatively efficient, the Civic probably isn't a bad choice. It also looks pretty decent and comes in multiple trims.

Ultimately, we hope this post will help you hunt for the best Civic. We've provided model year information and other details to help you make an educated purchase. Happy hunting!

RELATED: Honda Civic vs. Honda Accord: Which is More Reliable?

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