More than seven years after its debut, the eighth-generation Honda Civic still stands out from the crowd. It’s very practical, with a novel cinema-style rear seat, big boot and well proportioned cabin. And as long as you avoid entry-level models, it’s generously equipped as standard.
Not so impressive is the fact that, within a couple of years of launch, this Civic had suffered a number of problems. Early cars weren’t as reliable as you expect from Honda.
Things did improve, and as the Mk9 arrived last year, used prices for the Mk8 now look more tempting than ever. Here’s what to look out for when buying.
Five-door Civic hatch arrived in September 2005, with a choice of 1.4 or 1.8-litre petrol engines, or a 2.2 i-CTDi diesel. In January 2006, the IMA hybrid launched, as a four-door only, while the three-door Type S followed a year later. This was available with 1.8 petrol or 2.2 diesel power, each with the option of a high-spec GT trim.
In March 2007, Honda brought out the Type R hot hatch, in three-door guise only. Then the range was refreshed in autumn 2009. The update brought mildly revised styling, as well as a new, more efficient 1.4-litre i-VTEC petrol engine and improvements to the i-Shift semi-automatic box. A high-spec Civic Si was also introduced.
Buyers wanting a reliable car who aren’t so fussed about a fun driving experience should take a look at the Toyota Auris. But if you prefer something more involving to drive, the Ford Focus should be on your shortlist. The VW Golf is also worth a look for the same reason, if you can afford it.
Another alternative is the Mazda 3, which shares running gear with the Focus. The 3 is less common than its rivals second-hand, as are Mazda dealers, so you’ll have to search hard.