1996 Honda Civic Review
Pros & Cons - Not Available
Edmunds' Expert Review
More than two decades ago, Honda introduced the Civic, It was an small, anonymous, unassuming car, competing in a market saturated by mammoth sedans sporting ornate chrome, garish styling treatments, and acres of sheetmetal. The producers of these defunct dinosaurs didn't bat an eye at Honda's fuel sipping entry, despite the fuel crisis of 1973. Big mistake.
Since then, Americans have seen four generations of the Civic come and go, each much improved over the previous model, and each becoming immensely popular with consumers. 1996 brings a new generation; certainly improved by not so much so that we'd consider it revolutionary. The 1996 Civic isn't much smaller than an Accord. Available in hatchback, sedan and coupe body styles, Honda has heeded customers who claimed the 1992-1995 Civic was too sporty looking. A grille has been tacked on up front, sheetmetal contours provide a squarish profile, and larger rear taillamps give the Civic a more conservative look. Sedans, coupes and hatchbacks have been given more individualistic styling themes, with the hatchback retaining honors as most odd among the trio.
Dual airbags are part of the package, with antilock brakes standard on EX models and available on LX sedans. Our press kit says the Civic is equipped with "variable diameter tubular door reinforcing beams." We take this to mean that the Civic passes next year's tough side impact standards. HX coupes are available with a new continuously variable transmission. Hatchbacks ditch the two-piece clamshell hatch from last year in favor of a more conventional one-piece arrangement.
The Civic has few shortcomings, aside from its anonymous personality. Hondas tend to be on the expensive end of the scale when new, but over time, they are a far better value than most of their contemporaries. The Civic is no exception to the rule. It is a car for people who don't enjoy repair garage waiting rooms. It is a car that holds its resale value better than most of the cars it competes with. It is a car that easily endears itself to its owner.
We think the Civic is a solid buy. For those who like a bit of spice in their commute, try the EX version of the coupe. Want a fuel miser? The HX coupe is your car. Strict budgets demand a look at the CX, while sedans are aimed more at the creature comfort side of the scale. Style-conscious buyers will go for the svelte coupe, or the suave EX sedan. Whatever your needs, Honda offers a Civic that will meet them.