1997 Honda Civic Review

Pros & Cons

  • Fun, affordable, and good looking.
  • Why are anti-lock brakes only offered on models with an automatic transmission?
List Price Estimate
$866 - $2,044

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

More than two decades ago, Honda introduced the Civic. It was a 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 brought us a new generation; certainly improved by not so much so that we'd consider it revolutionary. The 1997 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 was 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 sedans, and coupe models equipped with an automatic transmission. HX coupes carry through with a continuously-variable transmission, making it the most exciting Civic offered.

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.

1997 Highlights

Honda deletes the Civic EX Coupe five-speed with ABS model. DX models receive new wheel covers, all 1997 Honda Civic trims get 14-inch wheels, and the LX Sedan gets air conditioning.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Honda Civic.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Honda convert
HappyHondaOwner,10/12/2009
I purchased this civic at 10 y/o (in 2007) with 145,000 miles. I replaced a Ford coupe, at first I was skeptical about the transition to Honda nameplate. Very easy and fun to adjust to the civic, easy to love. The car was very clean, good engine (evrything original). The only repairs needed so far: a radiator replacement (just over $100), brake service overhaul (ouch: $400), alternator replacement (about $100). Routine servicing has included a new set of tires ($245), new battery ($55) and the usual periodic oil changes (at around 5k miles; $23ea), and a autotrans flush ($85). I am currently clocked at 192k (happy) miles! Cant wait to break 200k I know it will...
300,000 mile club or higher
Thomas,09/02/2018
EX 2dr Coupe
Really reliable car mine has 270,000 miles on it and same transmission and engine and still runs good it's automatic one and was state trooper own for most of time
Love Honda
syfy,05/19/2010
I think buying a honda you will never go wrong. I bought mine in 1998 and trade it in 2005 just because i wanted something bigger living in the north. I wish I would have kept my civic ex
Great Car
A honda owner,03/18/2016
DX 4dr Sedan
I bought this car almost 20 years ago and I can honestly say it was one of the best purchases I made. It has more than 150,000 miles on it and I changed the tires, battery, brakes, timing belt and front CV joints, but other than that had no major issues. Now my son, who learned to drive with this car, drives this car to and from college over an hours drive away, but so far it is still holding up well. Update Sept 2017: The outside is looking pretty worn but this car is still running good. Just took this car in for a smog test and and with almost 190,000 miles on it this car easily passed. In fact, it passed way below the minimum requirements needed to pass.

Features & Specs

MPG
31 city / 39 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
28 city / 35 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
106 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
26 city / 33 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
127 hp @ 6600 rpm
See all Used 1997 Honda Civic features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 1997 Honda Civic

Used 1997 Honda Civic Overview

The Used 1997 Honda Civic is offered in the following submodels: Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe, Civic Hatchback. Available styles include CX 2dr Hatchback, DX 2dr Hatchback, HX 2dr Coupe, DX 4dr Sedan, DX 2dr Coupe, EX 2dr Coupe, LX 4dr Sedan, and EX 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Honda Civic?

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Which used 1997 Honda Civics are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Honda Civic for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Honda Civic.

Can't find a used 1997 Honda Civics you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Honda Civic for sale - 6 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $18,569.

Find a used Honda for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $24,393.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda Civic for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $8,624.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda for sale - 6 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $24,461.

Should I lease or buy a 1997 Honda Civic?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Honda lease specials
Check out Honda Civic lease specials