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Honda Civic – A Visual History

There’s no doubting that the Honda Civic is by far one of Honda’s most popular models, however do you know it’s history? You may have owned numerous models over the years, however seeing it’s transformation in front of you from what it started life as to where it’s at today is fantastic journey and one we wanted to share with you!


Below, we’re pleased to bring you a visual history of the Honda Civic, right through from it’s inception in 1972 to the present day!

1972 – 1979 (First Generation)




The original Honda Civic was launched back in 1972, primarily as a compact vehicle. Given the 1973 oil crisis which prompted a rush purchase of smaller, more economical models of car, this launch couldn’t have been better timed. The model boasted a 169 cc (70 in³) transversely mounted inline-four engine and sold in the US for $2,200. Based loosely on the N600, the original Civic increased the length, width, height and wheelbase with almost double the engine displacement with two more cylinders added.

1979 – 1983 (Second Generation)




As would be expected, the second generation Honda Civic was larger than the original model as well as being more efficient across the board. This model debuted with a more angular shape, increased engine size and increased overall dimensions, offering three different transmission options; a four-speed manual, a five-speed manual and a three-speed automatic. In 1980 a three-box four-door sedan model of the Civic was launched, alongside a three-speed automatic transmission model which replaced the previous two-speed unit seen on first generation Civic. The slogan for 1983 Civic was ‘We Make It Simple‘ and a sport-oriented Civic “S” model was introduced to the range in 1983.

1983 – 1988 (Third Generation)




Despite being an all round better vehicle, the second generation Civic wasn’t as popular as the first and, as such, after just four years Honda introduced the even more angular third generation model. Introduced in September 1983, the wheelbase was increased by 2–5 inches (13 cm) to 93.7 inches (hatchback) or 96.5 inches (sedan models). Between the different models, different body panels were seen. On it’s introduction in 1983, the vehicle won the much coveted ‘Car Of The Year Japan’ award. In 1986, the Honda Civic third generation benefited from the introduction of flush-mounted headlights, revised tail-lights, new wheel cover designs and other minor cosmetic changes and updates with the optional three-speed automatic transmission gaining O/D (overdrive) to make it a four-speed automatic.

1988 – 1991 (Fourth Generation)




As was the case with the second generation, the third generation Civic also endured a short lifespan of just five years with the launch of the fourth generation seeing the rollout of independent rear suspension for the first time, a whole ten years before Ford introduced this to the Focus models. This generation of the model was vastly different to the previous models on the aesthetic front alongside a further wheelbase increase to 98.4 inches (250 cm) as well as a lower hood line and more glass on the body. This generations base model had a 1.2 L SOHC whilst in late 1989, Honda introduced a brand new top of the range model of the hatchback, the SiR which was as standard fitted with a 1.6-litre, 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) at 7,600 rpm “B16A” DOHC VTEC engine. This marked the introduction of Honda’s variable valve timing and electronic lift control technology (VTEC).

1991 – 1995 (Fifth Generation)




1991 saw the launch of the fifth generation Honda Civic, one which saw the retirement of the angular shapes of previous models and the introduction of a curvier, more aerodynamic shape and a coupé option. For the second time, this generation won the ‘Car Of The Year Japan’ award in 1991. All in all, this generation saw the introduction of lightweight materials to create a more efficient vehicle as well as a raised cowel which saw more suspension travel, making for a softer ride in comparison to previous models. Available in hatchback, coupe and sedan body styles, the fifth generation was in manufacture up until 1995.

1995 – 2000 (Sixth Generation)




Whilst aesthetic changes weren’t too prominent with the introduction of the sixth generation Civic, it was here that the first Type-R model was launched to the market. This, to many Civic enthusiasts, is still to date a favoured model.


Whilst the sixth generation Civic retained it’s world class handling, the same high power-to-weight ratio of its predecessors was unfortunately not maintained. In 1993, this model once again won “Car Of The Year Japan.”

2000 – 2005 (Seventh Generation)




When you compare the 2000 seventh generation Civic with the original generation, 1972 model, you can see just how far the model had come from it’s early, city run around origins into a popular family car and whilst it retained similar exterior dimensions, the interior became more spacious, hence it’s popularity as a family vehicle. For a fourth time, the Civic won “Car Of The Year Japan’ in 2001. On this generations model, a 115 hp (86 kW) engine powered all cars within the line, with the exception of the EX and Si, up 9 hp (7 kW) from the previous models.

2005 – 2011 (Eighth Generation)




The eighth generation Civic saw a radical design change from it’s predecessors, bringing in a futuristic looking vehicle and saw the introduction of the two-tier instrument panel. As standard, all models came with electric windows, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and side/curtain airbags (giving a total of six airbags), with 2006 models acquiring ULEV-2 certification and a more powerful 1.8-litre engine, all with an equal fuel economy.


European models were manufactured in Swindon, UK and the model won the coveted title of ‘2007 Semperit Irish Car of the Year’ in Ireland.

2011 – Present (Ninth Generation)




The current generation of the Honda Civic couldn’t be further from the design of the original model, however when you follow it’s history, the journey this vehicle has taken all makes absolute sense. This model is known for it’s outstanding fuel economy in comparison to other vehicles from other manufacturers of a similar spec and to showcase this, Honda are currently out on the road on the Real Fuel Challenge in an attempt to break the world record for the most fuel economic vehicle.


With the introduction of the brand new Civic Type-R, it’s clear that the Civic remains one of Honda’s most popular models, due in part to it’s accessibility to so many different areas of the market. From families to car fanatics, the Civic is an all round fantastic vehicle which, as far as we’re concerned, still has many years of life and incarnations in it yet!


Here at Cox Motor Parts, our range of Civic parts from our range of Honda car parts remains one of our most popular lines which once again gives testament to the vehicle’s popularity!