The 10 Generations Of The
Honda Civic

Across 10 generations, spanning 45 years, the Honda Civic has become one of the world’s most recognisable and familiar cars. Technological advancement has always marked out each successive generation – so here, Swansway Honda proudly presents a visual guide to the history of the Civic, the car which transformed its parent company’s fortunes, after it had once considered pulling out of car making altogether.

1st Generation (1973-79)

One of the first vehicles capable of running on both leaded and unleaded petrol. Coupe, three-and five-door hatchback and estate models were offered.

2nd Generation (1979-83)

The second Civic was bigger, taking many cues from its big brother, the Accord.

A saloon version was made under licence in the UK by British Leyland, and sold as the Triumph Acclaim.

Unusually for the time, both four and five-speed manual gearboxes were offered.

3rd Generation (1983-87)

This third generation model came with unusual sliding rear bench seats, which meant lots of potential for expanding the luggage-carrying space available.

A big favourite with serious modifiers, the GT model came with a fully removable glass sunroof (and replacement blanking panel).

4th Generation (1987-91)

The first Civic intended for global sale, this was also the first with fully-independent rear suspension.

A lower bonnet line and larger glass surfaces also helped reduce drag, as well as giving the inside a more airy feel.

The VTEC engine was first introduced in 1990 in the MK4 Civic.

5th Generation (1991-95)

This model was particularly important for Honda in the UK, as it was the first Civic model to be built at its Swindon factory, which had opened in 1989 – although it wasn’t until 1994 when the first complete Civic rolled off the production line.

6th Generation (1995-2000)

The first Civic model to really hit the spot in its home market. Voted Japanese Car of the Year in the year of its launch. A five-door estate model, called the Civic Aerodeck, was also introduced.

These models were the first to be available with Honda’s acclaimed VTEC engines, which used variable valve control as a way to squeeze more power out of a smaller power plant. Among the range of body styles offered was the Liftback (pictured), a hybrid of saloon and hatchback.

7th Generation (2000-2005)

If the 6-G Civic was a hit in Honda’s Japanese homeland, this version really took off in much of Europe – and particularly in the UK.

The first Civic to have cabin air filters fitted as standard.This generation abandoned the front double wishbone suspension, which had been used in the fourth to sixth generations, replacing it with MacPherson struts, a more compact set-up which is considered to be generally more straightforward.

8th Generation (2005-2011)

This is where Honda really shook things up. Out went the angular appearance, in favour of designer Toshiyuki Okumoto’s sweeping, aggressive shape, with triangular features offsetting the numerous curves.

The rear door handles set into the bottom corner of the rear window, and smooth fit of the panels make even the four-door model look like a two-door coupe.

Divided opinion – but arguably has helped Honda make major inroads among younger buyers.

Debuted Honda’s ‘magic seats’ – the back seats not only lie flat to increase boot capacity, but also allow the seat bench to lift up and lie flat against the back rests to create a large loading area in the back behind the front seats.

Centrally-mounted fuel tank helped create a boot which was one of the biggest in its class.

9th Generation (2011-2017)

With a drag coefficient of 0.27, Honda claimed this Civic was the most aerodynamic in its class.

The rear axle was completely redesigned to improve stiffness, while lots of pre-production testing on British roads resulted in tweaks to the suspension design, including fluid-filled suspension bushes, which improved the ride. The rear light clusters and back wing were also incorporated into a single unit, which enhanced the view from the rear. A Tourer (estate-style) model was introduced from 2014, which was 235mm (9.3 inches) longer than the hatchback.

10th Generation (2017 on)

Not many cars have survived long enough to go through 10 extensive revamps – but the Civic can claim that distinction.

New 1.0- and 1.5-litre VTEC petrol engines are claimed to give more power than similar-sized engines from any other manufacturer.

The smaller one won favour with the Sunday Times’ test driver, who called it “a little wonder that offers surprising poke from around 1,700rpm for such an efficient little three-cylinder unit.”

A top feature on every new Civic is the ‘technology centre’ console, the lower part of which, on higher-level models, includes wireless smartphone charging.

Meanwhile, a new, more sophisticated rear suspension, SENSING safety features including a host of warning and anti-collision measures, and more space in the front and back round off the package.

Through 10 chapters, and many thousands of hours of research by dedicated staff in Japan and here in the UK, the Civic has kept its position as a big favourite. Now, with its latest changes, it’s set once again to stake a major claim for a place in best-seller lists around the world.

Come and see the new 2017 Honda Civic close-up at a series of special launch events taking place at your nearest Swansway Honda dealer. Staff at our showrooms in Manchester, Bolton, Stockport or Rochdale will also be happy to arrange a test drive.