Used buyer's guide: Honda Civic

22 Jan, 2013 10:30am Richard Dredge

The eighth-generation Honda Civic is a strong choice for used car buyers

Verdict

The Mk8 Civic was crowned Best Compact Family Car in the Auto Express New Car Awards 2006, and we said at the time that it couldn’t be beaten in terms of all-round appeal. It has distinctive design inside and out, excellent engines and is well equipped and packaged. Due to the basic design of its rear suspension, the car isn’t as accomplished to drive as some rivals, while visibility and rear seat access aren’t great. But if these things aren’t priorities, the Honda might be your ideal car.

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.

History

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.

Alternatives

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.

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Awesome cars! Still look fresh and not had any reliability problems with mine at all (1.4 iDsi - 68,000 miles)

Hugely nicer than the ungainly (aka vile) Mk 9.

Bought
mine a year ago a 56 reg, and I cant complain much about the car. I only had an
issue with the air-con relay.

If anyone wonders about buying a civic, go to civicinfo.com there is plenty
info about the car and reliability.

A few
notes about the car, after a year of use:

- Stock battery sucks badly and a few people complain about this in the forums. It left me stranded twice because I had radio on for 30mins, or because I jumped started someones car:S. Got a bosch battery and the problem was gone (same price than the stock one, but bigger and much better).

- Electrical circuits seem to be a bit unstable due ground, some guy in the forum makes a kit to re-enforce ground stability in the electronics. (i havent tried but several people claim that it works).

- Be ready for a stiff suspension, however because of this the car offers the best boot capacity in its class comparable with small saloons. If like me your car is
full quite often then the trade-off wont look that bad.

- Cars with parking sensors, if the car sensors colour in the bumper is different from the paint it is an aftermarket install check if it works properly, and check the installation.

- Look for rattles (the forums give a few reports on this), some cars got it fixed by dealers other don’t (mine has a couple in front passenger side) which I didn’t knew when I bought the car.

- If you want ipod connectivity there is a few aftermarket kits that does it, but they are a
pain to install, however 58 59 civics (the last facelift before the new model) have ipod connectivity installed.

- I don't own a diesel, but people in the forums seem to come up with diesel faults, like turbo, clutch, and a few others, dunno if its because there plenty diesel owners, but i do see more complaints.

There are a few more things to check before you buy the car, read the civicinfo.com for a few weeks before you go to check civics out.

This was my first Honda, and after driving Volvos, and fords (one of which was a new mondeo), I would certainly get another Honda, specially if the new civic estate looks good.

yes mispelled it, fixed it now.

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