Honda Civic : A History, 1972 till 2017.
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  • History of The Honda Civic
  • 06 July 2017
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    History of The Honda Civic

    The Honda Civic has a vast and diverse history spanning over 10 generations and 45 years of development! We've had a look at how the Civic has developed over this time.

We’re going to take a look at one of the longest-running vehicles in Automotive history. Spanning ten generations with its roots based as an affordable runabout the Civic has one of the most diverse evolutions.

First Generation Civic - 1972-79

honda civic first generation

The 11th of July 1972 saw the launch of the 1st generation Honda Civic. Surprisingly, the Civic started its days as a compact car and couldn’t have been introduced at a better time. It just so happened that 1973 saw an oil crisis and a peak in demand for smaller and more economical cars. This model was unique in the fact that there was a choice of leaded or unleaded fuel, and people loved this flexibility.  In 1975 the compact car boasted the installation of ground-breaking technology, the CVCC meant that the Civic featured an engine with lower emissions, more specific combustion and did not require a catalytic converter or unleaded fuel to meet 1975 Environment Protection Agency emission standards. At this point, it was available as a coupe, a three or five-door hatchback as well as a five-door hatchback.

Second Generation Civic - 1979-1983

honda civic second generation

June 1979 saw the introduction of more efficient and larger more angular Civic, with an increased engine size which used the CVCC across the whole range. Offering three transmissions including a four-speed manual, a five-speed manual and a two-speed semi-automatic which had been previously called the ‘Hondamatic’. The 2nd generation was offered as a three-door hatchback, a four-door sedan, a five-door hatchback and a five-door wagon.

Third Generation Civic  - 1983-88

honda civic third generation

The Civic may have been a leader in innovation and design but the second one was not as popular as it’s predecessor and so the third-gen was born just 4 years after the second generation’s initial release. A more angular model was introduced in the September of 1983 and the separate five-door hatchback and the wagon models were merged to produce a four-door ‘shuttle wagon’. The third-gen also sported the introduction of the D series engine, which included the new 1.5-litre CVCC engine. 1984 was a big year in the evolution of the Civic and saw the release of a high-performance model called the Si into the Japanese market which was rated at an 118bhp and also a 4WD drive version was introduced. The 4WD system was operated by a push button but was soon developed into an automatic technology called ‘Realtime’ which is still in use today!

Fourth Generation Civic - 1988 - 1991
honda civic fourth generation

The fourth-gen was another short lived model, with only three years before being upgraded. The September of ‘87 saw the introduction of Civic with increased dimensions and a lower hood line. The fourth generation also saw the introduction of fully independent rear suspension across the whole model range.


Fifth Generation Civic 1991 - 1995

honda civic fifth generation

September 1991 saw the introduction of the fifth-generation of this iconic Honda, a curvier and more aerodynamic body shape with the additional option of a coupe body style. Hondacontinuedwiththe tradition of sporty versions of their Si models, continuing to produce sporty variants of their fifth-gen.


Sixth Generation Civic 1996-2000

The sixth-gen Civic saw some updated styling but nothing as obvious as seen in previous models. The most notable event to come from this new generation of Civic is the fact that it was the first Civic to be offered in the high-performance Type-R model.  

honda civic sixth generation

Seventh Generation Civic 2000-2005


The seventh-gen Civic is very much representative of how much the Civic has evolved. This was the furthest away from the original styling to have been witnessed so far. Vastly moving away from it’s roots as a city runaround and incorporating styling more associated with a family car. Taller and more practical it had typical MPV body styling. This generation was also the first to see the introduction of the Civic Hybrid and the Type-R was designed using a more powerful i-VTEC motor. This new Generation Type-R was a unique 3-door hatchback.
honda civic sixth generation2
honda civic seventh generation_1

2003-2004 - 30th Anniversary Special Edition

Honda Celebrated 30 years of producing the Civic with a special edition Type-R! It featured special red and black sports seats from the world renowned seat maker, Recaro!


Eighth Generation Civic 2005-2011

This generation Civic was the one to challenge all the preconceptions that had come before, this Civic employed a truly radical style which ditches the safe styling seen before and embraced a futuristic look! For the eighth-generation Honda split the model into two different platforms - one for the sedan and coupe and one for the hatchback which used a simpler suspension system and more aggressive styling.  

honda civic eighth generation_1
honda civic eighth generation_2

As of 2006 a total of 16.5 million Civics had been sold worldwide!


Ninth Generation Civic 2011-2016


Energetic, sleek and aerodynamic. These were the three words used to describe the sketch that was revealed of the all-new ninth-generation in December 2010. Both Sedan and Coupe styling were released as a concept, and it had everyone brimming with anticipation!

honda civic ninth generation_1

Tenth Generation Civic

The most recent Civic was, quite possibly, the most anticipated model. Rethought and remodelled inside and out. Engineered with a lighter and stiffer chassis the tenth generation Civic has been engineered to deliver an even more engaging drive, a driving experience that is more than supported by the choice of the two turbocharged engines. This model has been seen as revolutionising the Civic range.   

Now in its 10th generation, this hatchback has come a long way since its first incarnation in “72. The 2017 Honda Civic has seen a variety of region-dependent versions that have come and gone without any real continuity regarding where and when you bought it. The tenth-generation is the product of a global Honda team producing the first global Civic that is built in Swindon and tested across Europe! Its Type-R counterpart is equally, if not more impressive! This high-performance version of the newest Civic is also built in Swindon and tested on the toughest tracks in Europe. Check out 2017 Type-R setting a Nurburgring lap record.

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