The Evolution of the Honda Civic
From a tiny family car to a full-on sports car, the Honda Civic has come a long way since its 1973 arrival in the United States. The 1973 Civic shares little resemblance to its 2021 counterpart, but from the beginning the Civic remains a true industry gamechanger.
1st Generation 1973-79
The one that started it all, the diminutive, first-generation Honda Civic made a big splash in the years following the 1970s energy crisis due to its high gas mileage and overall quality.
2nd Generation 1980-83
Why mess with perfection? The second-generation Civic shared many similarities with its predecessor, although featured a slightly smaller body and under-the-hood mechanical changes, including a third valve per cylinder that boosted engine efficiency and power output.
3rd Generation 1984-87
Available in hatch, sedan, and wagon body styles, the biggest change to the third-generation Civic saw the introduction of a 1.6-liter engine producing 128hp and badged “si”.
4th Generation 1988-91
The fourth-generation Civic saw perhaps the greatest visual change, moving away from the previous trend of sharp straight line styling and instead toward a softer, more polished shape. Under the hood, important mechanical changes included a new fuel-injected engine.
5th Generation 1992-95
The fifth-generation Civic brought about more rounded styling, a physical increase in size, and the continued adoption of the VTEC system.
6th Generation 1996-2000
1997 marked the first time the high-performance Type R arrived on the scene, featuring an impressive 182bhp from the 1.6-liter engine, Type R badges, front and rear lip, wing, and fitted Recaro bucket seats and matching Momo steering wheel.
7th Generation 2001-05
The seventh-generation marked Civic’s move from a subcompact to a compact model, along with the addition of a hybrid model.
8th Generation 2006-11
The eight-generation Civic brought about the most dramatic exterior changes to date by showing off a futuristic and funky styling, including a short hood, expansive windshield, and more traditional profile.
9th Generation 2012-15
The ninth-generation Civic built upon the last iteration, making small tweaks such as a longer hood, sculpted bumper, and larger taillamps, along with the introduction of Honda’s Eco Assist fuel efficiency information system.
10th Generation 2016 Onward
From its modest beginnings as a subcompact family car to the current model, the Civic has changed dramatically in its nearly 50 year history. More muscular and sportier than past models, the all-new tenth generation Civic launched as a four-door sedan but was quickly joined by two-door coupe and four-door hatchback versions, all of which drive with an enthusiasm and sharpness unmatched in the industry.
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