Fuel-efficient and peppy engine, user-friendly controls, roomy interior, large trunk.
Controversial gauge design, rear-folding seat not split.
Not many relationships can last 35 years. Yet Americans are still in love with the Honda Civic, a car that debuted in the 1970s and has gone on to be one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. Sure, the Civic hasn't often been the flashiest of the economy sedans out there, but it has always boasted the most desirable attributes of a successful long-term partner: reliable, safe and economical. And the Civic has still managed to keep its youthful look over the years thanks to occasional reworkings and face-lifts. The most recent redesign dates back to 2006 and includes dramatic exterior styling and a futuristic dash design.
We decided to test a 2008 Honda Civic to find out how well this latest Civic is faring in the marketplace. Our test car was a four-door, five-seat Civic LX sedan — a step above the base model. It comes standard with many features that are pretty much expected these days, such as antilock brakes, side and side curtain airbags, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. These features, along with impressive build quality, a fuel-efficient and peppy engine and plenty of cargo space make the 2008 Honda Civic LX a great all-around economy sedan.
Don't think of using the Honda Civic LX as a getaway car — it isn't going to blow the doors off any highway patrol vehicles. But the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque, still has plenty of power for just about any other situation. Our five-speed automatic-equipped Civic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 9.6 seconds, which is quite respectable for a small sedan; for comparison, a Mazda Mazda3 with the 2.0-liter engine we recently tested got to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds.
One nice attribute about the Civic was its frugalness — for the time we spent with our 2008 Civic LX tester, we averaged 27 mpg. The EPA gives the Civic a 25 mpg city rating and a 36 mpg highway rating, both of which rank near the top of the economy sedan segment.
Braking, while mostly on par with the class and price point, leaves a little to be desired. We found significant ABS noise and shudder during the braking test, especially up front. The Civic also has a tendency to wander slightly under full braking.
These aren't issues that will likely come up during less stressful driving, of course, and it was here that the Civic shines. The steering is accurate and the handling, though modest in terms of absolute limits, is sporty enough to make the car fun to drive on twisty roads.
The 2008 Honda Civic LX is particularly roomy for a small car. There is plenty of headroom and legroom in both the front and the rear. The fabric front seats in the Honda Civic LX are comfortable, but in a hang-out-on-the-sofa kind of way, as opposed to a stay-awake-and-drive-all-night kind of way. While soft, they lack any bolsters or reinforcements for additional support. The manual adjustments offer a broad range of seating positions, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel comes standard. Some of our taller staffers remarked that the Civic's driver seat doesn't go back as far as those on some other models we've tested, such as the Toyota Corolla. The backseat sits three adults relatively comfortably, and the completely flat floor in back saves the middle rear passenger from having to navigate any uncomfortable humps.
The Civic's small, yet reasonably thick steering wheel feels good in our hands and reminds us of those found in sportier cars. Overall visibility from the driver seat is just fine, but the positioning of the Civic's pillars and headrests create a couple of blind spots.
While driving, we experienced a good deal of wind and road noise, but it wasn't uncomfortable or overly distracting. (Hondas in general aren't particularly known for their quiet ride.)
It might be a stretch to call the 2008 Honda Civic controversial, but one of the styling cues that seems to cause quite a stir among drivers is Honda's split gauge cluster design. A traditional tachometer is in the usual spot behind the steering wheel, while the digital speedometer and fuel gauge sit higher up in the dash, above the sight line of the wheel. While this seems strange at first, we find that the placement makes it easy for us to check our speed and fuel levels without having to take our eyes very far off the road. And the icy blue lights on the black display are very pleasing to look at. Other controls, such as those for climate, are simple and easy to use.
The 160-watt, four-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system doesn't shake anyone's windows while we wait at red lights, but it does an adequate job of playing our tunes. Auxiliary audio jacks are a must-have feature these days, and the Civic LX comes standard with one. We noticed how a tray in the center console between the gearshifter and the cupholders was the perfect place for our MP3 player to sit while plugged in.
Trunk space is impressive, as we were easily able to fit a large suitcase and two sets of golf clubs horizontally, with a bit of room to spare. Our only complaint is that the folding rear seat only comes down as one unit; it's not split.
Design/Fit and Finish
The fit and finish of our 2008 Honda Civic LX is impressive, and we generally think the Civic is one of the best in the segment in this regard. On the outside, body panel gaps are tight and consistent. On the inside, a mix of colors and textures keep the car visually interesting without being garish. Materials are of decent quality — the seat cloth, for example, is one of the nicest in the price range (but we would avoid getting the light color our test car came with). Overall, the Civic's interior gives the impression that you're driving a more expensive car than you actually are.
Who should consider this vehicle
A student, retiree or small family who wants a well-performing economy car. Alternately, a road-weary commuter who's ready to ditch the big SUV for better gas mileage and a lower cost of ownership.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
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What's a good price on a used 2008 Honda Civic ?
Save up to $300 on one of 125 used 2008 Honda Civics for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $4700 as of Mar 17, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 138 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 3 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2008 Honda Civic trim styles:
The used 2008 Honda Civic EX is priced around $7958 with average odometer reading of 88439 miles.
The used 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid is priced around $7499 with average odometer reading of 144022 miles.
The used 2008 Honda Civic Si is priced around $9102 with average odometer reading of 103977 miles.
The used 2008 Honda Civic LX is priced around $7218 with average odometer reading of 100061 miles.
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What options are available on the 2008 Honda Civic?
Available Honda Civic 2008 Submodel Types: Hatchback, Sedan, Coupe, Hybrid, Si, Type R Touring, Si w/Navigation, Type R, Si w/Summer Tires, Natural Gas, Si w/Navigation and Summer Tires
Available Honda Civic 2008 Trims: EX-T, Sport, EX w/Honda Sensing, Sport Touring, SE, Touring, LX, LX-P, LX w/Honda Sensing, EX, EX-L Navigation, EX-L Navigation and Honda Sensing, EX-L w/Navigation, LX-S, DX, Hybrid, Si, Si w/Summer Tires, Value Package, EX-T w/Honda Sensing, DX-VP, EX-L, Type R Touring, Si w/Navigation, Type R, EX-L w/Honda Sensing, HF, VP, EX Special Edition, Hybrid w/Navigation, EX w/Navigation, GX, Hybrid PZEV, Hybrid w/Leather, LX Special Edition, Natural Gas, Si w/Navigation and Summer Tires
Exterior Colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, Aegean Blue Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic, White Orchid Pearl, Cosmic Blue Metallic, Polished Metal Metallic, Dyno Blue Pearl, Crimson Pearl, Urban Titanium Metallic, Burgundy Night Pearl, Kona Coffee Metallic, Sonic Gray Pearl, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Satin Silver Metallic, Galaxy Gray Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Satin Silver, Eternal Blue Pearl, Royal Blue Pearl, Energy Green Pearl, Shoreline Mist Metallic, Cool Mist Metallic, Magnesium Metallic, Championship White, Clover Green Pearl, Orange Fire Pearl, Sunburst Orange Pearl, Atomic Blue Metallic, Taffeta White, Tango Red Pearl, Radiant Ruby Pearl, Green Opal Metallic, Opal Silver Blue Metallic, Borrego Beige Metallic, Cypress Green Pearl Metallic, Fiji Blue Pearl, Rallye Red, Vivid Blue, Adriatic Blue Pearl Metallic, Clover Green, Flamenco Black Pearl, Frost White, Galapagos Green, Granada Black Pearl, Inza Red Pearl, Magnetic Pearl, Spectrum White Pearl, Titanium Metallic, Vogue Silver Metallic
Interior Colors: Beige cloth, Black leather, Black/Ivory cloth, Gray leather, Black/Gray cloth, Black/Red premium cloth, Black premium cloth, Gray cloth, Gray, Ivory, Black/Gray leather, Black/Ivory leather, Stone cloth, Beige leather, Black, Ivory cloth, Ivory leather, Red/Black Suede-Effect Fabric suede/cloth, Black cloth, Beige, Blue cloth
Popular Features: USB Inputs, Bluetooth, Back-up camera, Keyless Entry/Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Remote Start, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning, Post-collision safety system, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Power Driver Seat, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Upgraded Headlights, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Rear Bench Seats, Tire Pressure Warning, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Sunroof/Moonroof, Auto Climate Control, Stability Control, Trip Computer, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Navigation
The used 2008 Honda Civic is offered in the following submodels: Coupe, Si, MUGEN Si, Natural Gas, Hybrid, Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), LX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A), and DX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A). Pre-owned Civic models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2008 Civic comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.