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2008 Honda Civic


The Honda Civic holds its position at the top of this highly competitive class, with innovative styling, segment-leading refinement, and a broad model line that ranges from eco-friendly to sport-compact racy.

2008 Full Review

The 2008 lineup includes a new leather-upholstered EX-L model and a hot Mugen Si sedan, with high-performance suspension, forged aluminum wheels, aerodynamic body styling, and a sport-tuned exhaust.

An Si sedan joined the lineup for 2007, sharing the 197-horsepower engine, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel-disc brakes, and supportive sport seats. The Honda Civic Hybrid sedan is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with a permanent magnet electric motor and a continuously variable transmission.

Interior Features and 2008 Style

The Civic LX sedan remains the most comfortable Civic we've driven. The manual height adjustment on the driver's seat pivots on front hinges, forcing drivers to choose between seat height and legroom. The Si and Mugen models get sport front seats with synthetic suede upholstery and more aggressive bolsters both bottom and side for improved support. Thoroughly modern front and rear suspension designs deliver impressive stability and certain steering response. We like driving Honda Civics. 

The LNG-powered GX rates 113 horsepower and 109 pound-feet. The Si and Si Mugen models feature 197 hp and 139 lb-ft, thanks partly to a high-compression cylinder head that demands premium fuel. The 2008 EPA fuel economy estimates are 26/34 mpg City/Highway for the five-speed manual, 25/36 mpg for the five-speed automatic, and 21/29 mpg for the Si six-speed manual. The Si engine is powerful. The Si models come with electronic stability control and larger front disc brakes. The Si Sedan is almost as much fun as the Si Coupe.

2008 Honda Civic Trim

The 2008 Honda Civic is available in coupe and sedan versions. The DX, LX, and EX models share a 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a standard five-speed manual transmission. The Honda Civic DX coupe and sedan are the base models. Standard equipment is confined to power windows, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat and fold-down rear seatback. The coupe gets a rear decklid spoiler. Brakes are disc in front, drum in rear. The Civic LX coupe and sedan add air conditioning; cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls; power door locks with keyless entry; center console with sliding armrest; overhead map lights; and express up/down for the driver's power window; P205/55R16 tires on steel wheels with covers. The coupe has six speakers and a rear-seat walk-in feature that remembers the front passenger seat's setting.

The Civic EX coupe and sedan add power moonroof; variable-speed windshield wipers; a second 12-volt power outlet; a 60/40 split folding rear seatback; and outside temperature indicator. The EX is upgraded with four-wheel disc brakes, alloy wheels, and a seven-speaker, 350-watt, XM-ready premium stereo with steering wheel-mounted controls. The Civic EX-L adds heated leather seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel and armrest, and heated mirrors.

Options are positioned as separate models, for example the EX coupe with manual transmission, XM Satellite Radio, and voice-recognition Navigation; and the EX-L sedan automatic with XM and Navigation.

The Si coupe and Si sedan are performance models, powered by a 197-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Inside are synthetic suede sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; 350-watt stereo. New for 2008 is the Mugen Si Sedan, which includes sports suspension, forged aluminum 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels, a full aerodynamic body kit with an adjustable rear wing and diffuser, and a sport-tuned exhaust.

The Si sedan and coupe have another grille variation with a body-color bar on top and a black bar underneath; an understated Si badge is tucked away to the far right. An i-VTEC label appears just forward of the rear wheel well; on the Si sedan it's placed low on the rear door. The Hybrid, in contrast, is understated, with just a small "Hybrid" badge under the right rear taillight. A blue CNG diamond on the right side of the rear deck lid, and "NGV" lettering on the rear doors identify the natural gas-powered GX.

The Civic Hybrid sedan features a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), automatic climate control, a roof-mounted radio antenna, a rear decklid spoiler, and hybrid-pertinent digital data displays. The Civic GX is essentially an LX sedan with a 1.8-liter engine powered by natural gas. The Honda Civic sedans and coupes don't share any body panels. Save for a lower body character line, drawn slightly higher on the coupe than on the sedan, the sides of the Civic are more slab than sensuous. The sail panel (the body panel aft of the rear side window) is unique to each model. The coupe's be-spoilered, rounded rear profile suggests swiftness. The sedan's somewhat abbreviated trunk lid and high, chunky tail end add perceived mass to a tightly proportioned, smallish sedan.

2008 Conclusions

The Honda Civic is the benchmark for compact cars. The Civic LX sedan is a superb choice for someone who wants a practical compact that is smooth, comfortable and quick. The EX models add all the conveniences, including heated leather seats in the EX-L. The GX offers basic transportation with the potential economy and real emissions reduction of natural gas. The Hybrid makes a good commuter car with its fuel-saving electric motor. Motor Trend Says of the Civic "(It)Feels like a car in an entirely different class." The Si Coupe and Si Sedan deliver sporty performance for driving enthusiasts. The new Mugen Si is a quick ticket into the Fast and Furious.


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