2008 Honda Civic Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Honda Civic Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Honda Civic Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.8 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 140 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 26/34 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Honda Civic

  • Comfortable, smartly designed and available in a wide array of configurations, the 2008 Honda Civic sets the bar for the small car segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Engine lineup that offers both fuel-efficiency and performance, roomy and refined interior, high crash test scores, available as a sedan or coupe.

  • Cons

    Controversial gauge cluster design, slow acceleration times of Hybrid and GX models.

  • What's New for 2008

    A new Mugen Si trim level debuts for the 2008 Honda Civic sedan. It's similar to the regular Si sedan but comes with more aggressive suspension tuning, special wheels and exterior body enhancements. The only other change for the Civic line this year is the new availability of leather seating for the new EX-L trim level.

Full 2008 Honda Civic Review

What's New for 2008

A new Mugen Si trim level debuts for the 2008 Honda Civic sedan. It's similar to the regular Si sedan but comes with more aggressive suspension tuning, special wheels and exterior body enhancements. The only other change for the Civic line this year is the new availability of leather seating for the new EX-L trim level.

Introduction

In 1973, Honda introduced the Civic to American shores. Small, fuel-efficient and reliable, the Civic was an ideal small car solution to rising gas prices and increased environmental awareness. Now, 35 years later, Americans are faced with similar issues, and again the Civic stands at the ready.

Of course, history hasn't quite repeated itself. The 2008 Honda Civic is considerably heavier and more luxurious than its pint-sized forbear. It's not even the company's smallest car anymore -- that role is handled by the Fit. But for the average small car shopper, the Civic remains the quintessential choice. We're quite fond of the current-generation Civic -- it was last redesigned in 2006 -- and it's one of America's best-selling cars.

There are plenty of reasons to choose the Civic. First among them is the car's wide array of configurations. The Civic is one of the few small car offerings to be sold as a sedan and a sportier-looking coupe. A fixed, minimal-options trim level architecture, ranging from the budget-oriented DX to the top-level EX, makes picking a Civic a relatively straightforward affair.

There are also the specialized Civic Si, Hybrid and GX models. In Si trim, the Civic is one of the most sporting small cars available for the money, while the Hybrid, thanks to its gasoline/electric powertrain, can deliver 40-plus mpg in real-world driving. The Civic GX is truly an oddity -- it runs on natural gas and can be fueled at home via a special "Phill" hook-up. The GX is the most expensive Civic, but in return it's America's cleanest mass-production car in terms of tailpipe emissions.

A new addition this year is the Honda Civic Mugen Si sedan. Built on the foundation of the Civic Si sedan and tuned by the prestigious racing and aftermarket performance company Mugen, this model comes with a track-tuned suspension, 18-inch forged alloy lightweight wheels with special tires, a full aerodynamic body kit with an adjustable rear wing spoiler, a rear diffuser and a sport-tuned exhaust system. Only 1,000 of these models will be sold, and they're priced in the very un-Civic-like territory of $30,000.

No matter what the trim, the Civic's traditional strengths in comfort, interior design and safety are all still firmly intact. The Civic also holds its value better than many other small cars and has a reputation for above-average reliability. Though we suggest doing a bit of comparison shopping -- the sporty Mazda 3, affordable Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Rabbit/Jetta are also very good choices -- the 2008 Honda Civic remains an ideal pick for a small sedan or coupe.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Honda Civic is a small car available as a sedan or coupe. For both, there are five main trim levels: DX, LX, EX, EX-L and Si. On the Civic sedan, Honda also offers the Hybrid, the GX and the Mugen Si. The DX is meant for those on a tight budget and offers little more than power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver seat. The more popular midgrade LX comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and a four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio jack.

Going with a Civic EX gets you 16-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, six-speaker audio with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 60/40-split rear seatback with a rear armrest. This year's new Civic EX-L comes with leather upholstery and heated front seats. The Civic Si has most of the EX's features plus a high-output engine, sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, a premium audio system and special interior trim. High-performance summer tires are an option for the Si, and a navigation system is offered for the Si and EX/EX-L models. Hybrid models are equipped similarly to the EX and have automatic climate control and optional navigation. The GX has a feature list similar to the LX's.

The limited-production Civic Mugen Si sedan has a track-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels with more aggressive tires, performance exhaust and a specialized exterior body kit.

Powertrains and Performance

Civic DX, LX and EX models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent through the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic. The GX also has a 1.8-liter engine, but it's fueled by clean-burning compressed natural gas and makes 113 hp. It only has a cruising range of 200 miles, but with Honda's Phill device, you can refuel from the comfort of your own garage. For the Civic Si, Honda installs a 197-hp 2.0-liter engine and an exclusive six-speed manual transmission with a performance-enhancing limited-slip front differential.

The gasoline-fueled 1.8-liter engine delivers above-average fuel economy for the small car class; 2008 EPA estimates are 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway for an automatic-equipped Civic. The GX posts 24/36 numbers. The Hybrid, meanwhile, uses a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain to maximize fuel economy. Its 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine is paired to the latest version of Honda's IMA technology and a continuously variable transmission to deliver 110 hp and 40/45 mpg ratings.

Safety

All Civics come with front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Antilock brakes are also standard; EX and Si models have four-wheel discs, while the rest have rear drums. Stability control is an exclusive standard feature on the Si trim only. In government crash testing, the 2008 Honda Civic earned a perfect five stars for its protection of occupants in frontal impacts. Side-impact tests resulted in a four-star rating for front passengers and five stars for rear passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Civic its top rating of "Good" for the car's performance in frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Civic's dash features an unusual layout. An analog tachometer is in the traditional location but the digital speedometer and gas gauge are at the base of the windshield. Though some drivers find the two-tier display distracting, others say it makes quick visual checks of speed easier. Otherwise, the Honda Civic continues to be one of the best small cars in terms of room, interior storage and refinement. Its controls are easy to operate and materials are of high quality. Regular Civic sedans have 12 cubic feet of trunk space; this drops to about 10 for the Hybrid and 6 for the GX due to the space taken up by the hardware of their respective powertrains.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Honda Civic's suspension, steering and brakes all work together seamlessly, and even the mainstream models can be described as being somewhat sporty to drive. The Civic Hybrid and natural-gas GX are unfortunately a bit slow, but neither model is meant for supreme acceleration anyway. That task is taken up by the Civic Si. Possessing nimble handling and a delightfully fizzy engine, the Si is one of the few cars available in any price range that makes you want to drive it just for the sake of driving.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews



The best car you could

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

I want to write this with tears because this is the most reliable car that I have owned and yesterday I found out that it will be loss. A week ago my car was sandwiched between two other vehicles. It provided the best protection one could ask for. My back is gone and my front is damaged, but I have remained completely safe. If you choose this car it is reliable, safe and will protect you well. *though my car is gone, I want you to know how safe this car is & that it will protect you.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

104k miles, 4 years later....

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic EX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A)

I have just rolled over to 104k. This was a certified pre-owned 20k car from the dealership when I purchased it 4 years ago. Overall, this car has been reliable, affordable, and relatively roomy. I've averaged 29-30mpg in the city/35 highway. This car is my daily driver. Longest drive was 16 hours one way (at 90k) and no problems. Next service appointment is for the water pump/belt- hopefully this goes smoothly.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Over the hill

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic EX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)

The first year of ownership was great, but it has since been in steady decline. I bought this car based off of reputation, but unfortunately it will soon have to go. No longer can Honda claim reliability and high build quality with this vehicle. Problems include failing door locks, window motors, visors, blower fan electrical components, and A/C compressor failure. Honda has mailed extended warranties on paint and visors already. I expect eventual class action or warranty extension on the AC/blower issues - very common on this model. My dealer does not even charge me diagnostic fees on the AC or fan anymore. The car was babied and often garaged. All of these problems with only 62,000 miles.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Disappointed by this model

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic EX-L 4dr Sedan w/Navigation (1.8L 4cyl 5A)

I have owned Hondas for over 25 years. While the gas mileage of my 2008 Civic is good, the interior noise is irritating, the headrest not in a comfortable position, and after 22,000 miles I had to purchase 4 new tires. The passenger side automatic door lock stopped working and had to be replaced. As of 2012 the car has only 28,000 miles. My last Honda, a 1990 Acura Legend, was a great car and is still going strong. Never any problems with interior and few with engine. I won't buy a Civic again.



1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Econ class do it urself

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A)

Bought mine in early 2008 for 18.5 at 5%. It now has 98k miles on it, has been used for driving around the bay area in Cali for a job, multi trips from Cali to TX, and for the last 3 yrs I've used it for pizza delivery in TX. Some repairs I have done myself are replacing both cv axels at 70k for $160, tires at 55k miles with good-yrs $540, the starter at 90k for $132. I am by no means a mechanic I bought some basic tools, spent a few hrs researching and as you can see from other reviews I saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars doing it myself. This car has been through a lot but still runs like new and feels as though it will for another 98k.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Troublesome

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A)

I have this civic since new. Its got 60k miles. During that time I have the cv joint replace 5 times and battery replaced once under warranty. I had the starter replaced once at 40k miles for $500 and engine mount replaced once at 59k miles for $300. Now I think my civic has a suspension problem. I wonder if honda quality have declined or my dealership (northwest honda, MD) is incompetent and causing problems.



Talk About The 2008 Civic

2008 Honda Civic Discussions See all Started By

capt_bill
capt_bill
07-15-2007
So, is it worth waiting for 08 model? Do you see a significant price drop to justify buying '07 at end of model year? It may be a new Civic but it's a year old car in the biz!...


spock072
spock072
05-20-2013
I have a 2008 Honda Civic LX 4 door sedan with about 115,000 miles. My problem is that when I am driving, the air conditioning doesnt work. Anyone know what can be the problem.?? Thanks in advance fo...


totalsports
totalsports
06-25-2007
Does anyone have any info on any changes to the 2008 Civic...IE: Colors....Bluetooth Etc...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 26
  • cty
/
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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