As one of the oldest, most popular, and highest-selling cars of all time, the Civic is certainly a top pick.
Now in its 11th generation, the Civic carries half a century of automotive wisdom and technology and is touted to be at its most refined and technologically advanced state to date.
JD Power has consistently awarded the Civic with outstanding ratings. In 2022, it received the 2nd best rating among its direct competitors in the compact car segment, securing an overall score of 84 out of 100, with great individual ratings for “driving experience” and “resale” at 86 and 87 (out of 100), respectively.
If you would like to know which model years of the Honda Civic to pick (and which to absolutely avoid), continue reading this guide.
Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Honda Civic Are:
The best Honda Civic models ever made are from 2020 onwards, 2013-2015, 2004, 2005, and 2011. On the other hand, the absolute worst Honda Civic models are 2016, 2012, 2006-2008, and 2001. Taking note of these model years is important if you are looking to purchase a used Honda Civic.
What Are The Best Years For The Honda Civic?
Honda has produced a lot of great Civics in the model’s 50-year lifespan. Listed below are those that deserve the highest praise as the best of the best Civics.
2020, 2021, and 2022 Honda Civic
The 2020, 2021, and 2022 Honda Civic models are the cream of the crop because of their sophisticated safety features, intuitive infotainment systems, stand-out exterior designs, and premium-quality interior.
If you had to choose the most affordable Civic among the bunch, then finding a used 2020 Honda Civic would be your best bet without missing out on too much. Otherwise, go for the latest 2022 Honda Civic, preferably brand new.
The 2021 and 2022 Honda Civic secured a stellar 84 out of 100 rating from JD Power. Over at Kelley Blue Book, consumer ratings gave the 2020 and 2021 models a near-perfect 4.8 out of 5.0. Edmunds has the 2021 Honda Civic as the best among the three (according to consumers), with a score of 4.5 out of 5.0.
Based on information available on CarComplaints.com, all these model years combined accounted for a total of 18 problems or issues, which is remarkably low.
One Civic owner had this to say on Kelley Blue Book:
“Honda Civic EX-L is a fun all around car. It has sports car handling and people look as you drive by, its economical to drive and requires very little maintenance.”
Over at Edmunds, this car owner had nothing but good things to say:
“I have the 2022 Civic Sport and it’s honestly the best car I’ve had to date. Honda really went out of their way with new features in this car and she is a beauty…”
2013, 2014, and 2015 Honda Civic
The 2013, 2014, and 2015 Civic models ended the ninth generation of the iconic compact car with a lot of great reviews which noted the performance, design, and overall reliability of these models.
We would recommend purchasing any of these three model years as a daily driver, a commuter vehicle or family car.
The 2013, 2014, and 2015 Honda Civic models scored close to each other at Edmunds. The 2013 and 2015 models secured a 4.3 out of 5.0 score while the 2014 Civic secured a slightly higher consumer rating at 4.5 out of 5.0. All three got an identical score of 4.5 out of 5.0 over at Kelley Blue Book.
Over at Edmunds, this car owner shared his inevitable return to the Civic:
“I drove several other brands in this category but kept coming back to Honda Civic…”
2011 Honda Civic
The 2011 Honda Civic looks like it can pass as a model that was released within the last decade due to its exterior design and interior comfort. In addition to this, reviews have indicated that this model year is reliable and very easy to drive.
The used car market is a challenging landscape to traverse for first-time car buyers. However, if you have an eye for spotting the quality used cars from the neglected or abused ones, then try finding a 2011 Civic as it is a budget-friendly option for those who do not prioritize the latest technologies that more recent models can provide.
The 2011 Honda Civic did not do as well as its best peers according to reputable car review sites, but it was still able to get a great score of 4.0 out of 5.0 at Edmunds.
One Civic owner shared a comprehensive assessment of his car on Kelley Blue Book:
“This is my 6th Civic. They all have been very reliable, good fuel mileage and easy to work on. Parts are readily available and fairly inexpensive. A well built car. Insurance rates are good.”
Over at Edmunds, this Civic owner talks about a specific use case for the 2011 Civic:
“If you need a reliable car for a teenager or just a ride when commuting to work I would definitely recommend the ’11 civic coupe…”
2004 and 2005 Honda Civic
The 2004 and 2005 Honda Civic models may look like they came from an age long gone, but the fact of the matter is they are two of the most reliable, safe, and fuel-efficient model years in the used car market today.
The 2004 and 2005 Honda Civic models are the most dated in this batch, but if you can find yourself either of these in the used market in good condition with a reasonable mileage count, then we truly recommend acquiring this if you are on a tight budget.
The 2004 and 2005 Honda Civic models got the absolute best consumer ratings over at Edmunds, with a rating of 4.7 and 4.6 (out of 5.0), respectively. They were both given a 4.5 out of 5.0 at Kelley Blue Book.
One Civic owner shared his positive feedback on Kelley Blue Book:
“No accidents, reliable car, smooth transmission, easy to maneuver, easy to park! You won’t regret buying it!”
Over at Edmunds, this car owner talked about the longevity of his Honda Civic:
“Well, it’s been 5 years since I purchased this car used, with 32k on the clock. It now has 145k on it, and I’m expecting to own it for another 3 years and 60k. So that right there should tell you something about it…”
Consumer Scores For Best Honda Civic Years
Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Honda Civic model years from reputable vehicle websites:
|Model Year||Edmunds’ Consumer Rating||Kelley Blue Book’s Consumer Rating||JD Power’s Consumer Rating|
|2022 Honda Civic||4.0 / 5.0||4.3 / 5.0||84 / 100|
|2021 Honda Civic||4.5 / 5.0||4.8 / 5.0||84 / 100|
|2020 Honda Civic||4.4 / 5.0||4.8 / 5.0||NA|
|2015 Honda Civic||4.3 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
|2014 Honda Civic||4.5 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
|2013 Honda Civic||4.3 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
|2011 Honda Civic||4.0 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
|2005 Honda Civic||4.6 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
|2004 Honda Civic||4.7 / 5.0||4.5 / 5.0||NA|
What Are The Worst Years For The Honda Civic?
The Honda Civic has also been subject to criticism due to its fair share of problems over the years. The models listed below are the versions of the vehicle that you have to steer clear of.
2016 Honda Civic
The 2016 Honda Civic has the distinction of possessing what is quite possibly the most fascinating problem on CarComplaints.com – rodents kept munching at the Civic’s wires and coils, leading to a myriad of other issues that affected the safety and performance of this vehicle.
As to why rats were absolutely smitten with the electricals of the vehicle, we cannot say for certain, but this issue allegedly had something to do with certain soy-based compounds integrated into the wiring.
The 2016 Civic had a total of 427 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 860 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.
The main problems of the 2016 Honda Civic are the following:
- Air conditioning issues
- Rats ate wires/coils
- Excessive whistling noises
2012 Honda Civic
Although the 2012 Honda Civic was the least problematic of the batch, it still had very prominent issues and concerns that could not be glossed over, regardless of it being purchased brand new or used.
The worst problems are listed below, but the most frequent issues stemmed from the failure of interior electronics and mechanisms such as car accessories, the infotainment system, and warning lights, among other items.
The 2012 Civic had a total of 209 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 559 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.
The main problems of the 2012 Honda Civic are the following:
- Paint chipping
- Brake failure
- Engine stalling
2006, 2007, and 2008 Honda Civic
The 2006, 2007, and 2008 Civic models had their own unique issues from one another, but the one major issue that they shared was the most prevalent one – a cracked engine block, which is indicative of poor coolant circulation which leads to the engine overheating.
The issue typically occurs around 87,000 miles and costs around $2,800 to repair.
The 2006, 2007, and 2008 Honda Civic models had a combined complaint total of 2,215 according to CarComplaints.com and 3,765 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com.
The main problems of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Honda Civic models are the following:
- Cracked engine block
- Excessive/uneven tire wear
- Paint peeling or cracking
2001 Honda Civic
The 2001 Honda Civic is arguably the worst iteration of the long-standing compact car ever manufactured in its 50-year lifespan. Aside from the common ailments of the Civic, this particular model year had a myriad of transmission-related issues that rendered this car practically incapable of being driven long distances.
The 2001 Civic had a total of 1,227 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 1,331 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.
The main problems of the 2001 Honda Civic are the following:
- Transmission failure
- Transmission slipping
- Transmission won’t engage
What Years Have The Most Complaints?
There are several Honda Civic models that have received several complaints through the years. Listed below are complaints and problems listed for each model year:
|Model Year||Complaints (CarComplaints.com)||Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)|
|2022 Honda Civic||0||90|
|2021 Honda Civic||7||35|
|2020 Honda Civic||11||88|
|2019 Honda Civic||33||143|
|2018 Honda Civic||47||250|
|2017 Honda Civic||111||388|
|2016 Honda Civic||427||860|
|2015 Honda Civic||83||334|
|2014 Honda Civic||68||282|
|2013 Honda Civic||120||345|
|2012 Honda Civic||209||559|
|2011 Honda Civic||97||201|
|2010 Honda Civic||296||472|
|2009 Honda Civic||419||440|
|2008 Honda Civic||643||954|
|2007 Honda Civic||758||1,321|
|2006 Honda Civic||814||1,490|
|2005 Honda Civic||132||353|
|2004 Honda Civic||175||361|
|2003 Honda Civic||201||492|
|2002 Honda Civic||555||849|
|2001 Honda Civic||1,227||1,331|
|2000 Honda Civic||47||341|
|1999 Honda Civic||43||381|
|1998 Honda Civic||89||490|
|1997 Honda Civic||49||450|
|1996 Honda Civic||21||382|
What Problems Do Honda Civics Have?
Based on the information we have gathered online, here are the most common issues that you may encounter with a Honda Civic:
- Transmission issues
- Engine problems
- Paint peeling
- Interior accessories problems
- Airbag-related problems
What Are The Best Alternatives To The Honda Civic?
The Honda Civic is one of the greatest options, if not the greatest option, in the compact car segment. However, there are also a lot of good alternatives. Take a look at some of the interesting models to check out if you want to explore other options:
|Make & Model||Score||MSRP||Fuel Economy|
|Honda Civic||8.6||$22,550 – $30,050||City: 26-33 / Highway: 36-42|
|Mazda3||8.6||$21,150 – $34,750||City: 23-28 / Highway: 31-36|
|Kia Forte||8.5||$19,090 – $24,490||City: 22-31 /Highway: 31-41|
|Toyota Corolla||8.0||$20,425 – $28,710||City: 28-32 /Highway: 36-41|
|Hyundai Elantra||8.0||$20,500 – $27,050||City: 28-33 / Highway: 36-42|
|Subaru Impreza||7.8||$18,795 – $26,395||City: 22-28 / Highway: 30-36|
|Volkswagen Jetta||7.8||$20,365 – $32,095||City: 26-31 / Highway: 36-43|
|Nissan Sentra||7.5||$19,610 – $22,200||City: 28-29 / Highway: 37-39|
|Hyundai Veloster N||NA||$32,500 – $34,000||City: 20-22 / Highway: 27-28|
|Subaru WRX||NA||$29,105 – $41,895||City: NA /Highway: NA|
|Volkswagen GTI||NA||$29,880 – $39,130||City: NA /Highway: NA|