When it first went on sale, the 2006-2011 Honda Civic represented a major change for the popular small car. Gone were the staid Honda Civic designs of years past, replaced by a streamlined new look with a futuristic interior. Also gone was the Civic’s hatchback body style, which had become increasingly unpopular with American car shoppers. Instead, the Civic offered coupe or sedan variants, gas and hybrid engines, and a sporty Si model. These days, the 2006-2011 Civic has become a sought-after used car, with car shoppers appreciating its modern look and legendary Honda reliability, but what do you need to know before you buy one? We took a closer look.
2006: The Civic went on sale for the 2006 model year. Four gas-powered versions were offered: a base-level DX, a mid-level LX and an upscale EX, each available in coupe or sedan form. There was also a sporty coupe-only Civic Si, and for shoppers interested in better fuel economy, a sedan-only Civic Hybrid.
2007: The sporty Civic Si lineup was expanded for 2007 to also include a sedan model.
2008: The Civic made two minor additions for 2008: a new sedan-only Mugen Si special edition, which boasted improved suspension tuning and a new EX-L trim level with leather upholstery.
2009: The Civic received a slight facelift for 2009, along with newly available Bluetooth and USB audio. Hybrid models gained standard stability control, and two new trim levels (the LX-S and DX Value package) were added to the lineup.
2010: The Civic was unchanged for 2010.
2011: The Civic received only minor trim changes for 2011.
Powertrains & Fuel Economy
The 2006-2011 Honda Civic was offered with three engine choices throughout its life. Most gas-powered models used a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder powerplant, which was rated at 140 horsepower. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that model returned 26 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with a standard 5-speed manual or 25 mpg city/36 mpg hwy with a 5-speed automatic.
Drivers who wanted more performance could opt for the sporty Civic Si, which used a 197-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. Offered only with a 6-speed manual transmission, that engine returned 21 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.
Finally, drivers looking to maximize fuel efficiency could turn to the Civic Hybrid, which was only available as a sedan. That model used a 93-hp 1.3-liter hybrid 4-cylinder engine, which was EPA-rated to deliver 40 mpg city/45 mpg hwy.
Trim Levels & Body Styles
Although the 2006-2011 Civic endured some trim-level changes and reshuffling, the car primarily offered five trims. Base-level DX models were sparsely equipped, offering few accessories beyond power windows. In fact, DX models didn’t even offer air conditioning until the 2009 arrival of the DX Value package. Mid-level LX models added more features, including air conditioning, keyless entry, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an auxiliary jack and power accessories. Topping the range was the Civic EX, which came with a sunroof, steering-wheel audio controls and alloy wheels. In 2008, Honda added a new top-level Civic EX-L with leather upholstery and heated seats. A navigation system was optional in EX and EX-L models. DX, LX and EX models came in both sedan and coupe versions.
Drivers interested in a sportier experience will want to check out the Civic Si, which was offered as a coupe from 2006 to 2011 and as a sedan beginning in 2007. In addition to its powerful 197-hp engine, the Si included a lot of the EX’s features, adding larger alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and a premium audio system. The Si also offered the optional navigation system.
Finally, Honda offered the sedan-only Civic Hybrid to shoppers especially interested in fuel economy. Hybrid models were the most well-equipped of the bunch, adding automatic climate control to the EX’s list of features.
2007-2010 Hyundai Elantra — Though it didn’t offer a performance version, a hybrid model or a coupe, the Elantra sedan touted a long list of standard safety features, a modern interior and reasonable pricing.
2007-2012 Nissan Sentra — Although it’s often overlooked by compact-car shoppers, the Sentra offered a roomy interior, a futuristic look and a good driving position — not to mention Nissan’s strong reputation for reliability.
2009-2013 Toyota Corolla — Perennially the Civic’s biggest rival, the sedan-only Corolla offered a simpler driving experience than the Civic and a more traditional interior. It also boasted a strong reputation for reliability and durability.
We’d avoid the Civic DX, no matter how tempting its pricing may seem. Even if you can put up with a car that doesn’t have air conditioning, we suspect that you’ll have trouble selling it down the line. For most shoppers, a Civic LX is all you’ll need, and we’d go with the sedan to maximize practicality. For us, the EX doesn’t quite offer enough equipment to justify spending extra money, but shoppers who really like the EX-L’s standard heated seats may disagree.