2008 Honda Civic Review
2008 Honda Civic Review
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- Engine lineup that offers both fuel-efficiency and performance, roomy and refined interior, high crash test scores, available as a sedan or coupe.
- Controversial gauge cluster design, slow acceleration times of Hybrid and GX models.
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.
Comfortable, smartly designed and available in a wide array of configurations, the 2008 Honda Civic sets the bar for the small car segment.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2008 Honda Civic DX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$132/mo for Civic DX
Avg. Compact Car
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.
Performance & mpg
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.
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.
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.
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.
2008 Honda Civic models
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.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Just bought a 2008 Civic LX
2008 Honda Civic DX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Bought a used Civic last week for my daughter. Got a good deal at 113000 miles and wanted to post for others that might be lookng at this car to let you know how it has held up. Body was in great shape - a few minor dings and what not but no paint chipping, fade, or peeling. No rust. Interior, which has been critized, has held up well. No scratches or anything detracting from the … interior. Cruise control, A/C, displays, radio, etc., all working with no issues. Also, I'm 6'2" and have zero issues sitting in the front seats...back seats might be an issue but driving it I'm very comfortable. Engine still runs strong, no leaks, and the transmission shifts very smoothly even under full acceleration onto the interstate. Plus, these vehicles have a timing chain vice belt, so you don't have to concern yourself with the inevitable 100,000 mile, $1000, timing belt replacement. Power steering works great with no noise from the power steering pump. Car tracks straight and true down the road and handlng is solid. You definitely feel the bumps in the road but this isn't a luxury car with the associated suspension. Engine does vibrate and you can feel it sitting at a stop light esp with the A/C on. But, again, it's a 4 cyl and it isn't really distracting. Road noise is definitely there on the highway but I don't sense there are any leaks through the weather stripping...it's just an economy car. Couple of issues that are to be expected with this car's history. The passenger side visor had failed...a quick fix through Amazon at $50. Also, the starter, no kidding, quit the same day we bought it. Don't naively send your wife off to the store to get the battery replaced because the car won't start without a jump...you'll wind up replacing a perfectly good battery when its really the starter. I've always done minor maintenance like this on my vehicles but after seeing what was involved (starter placed above the front axle and exhaust) I took it to a shop to get replaced. Getting lazy in my old age. Also, and this is unique to my car I'm sure, what I thought might be a simple alignment to fix an off-center steering wheel resulted in the removal and adjustment of the steering column...all told, about $450 to get everything fixed. Driver's side power steering boot is leaking and there is a minor rattling, knocking sound when we turn all the way to the right...will probably have to replace that sometime but not today. Flushed the power steering fluid...helped somewhat but not totally. So, am I pleased with the car? Yes...with a whole week with my daughter driving it. But the engine works well, transmission shifts very well, the A/C and everything else is holding up well (knock on wood). Believe it will be a good car for my daughter as she finishes H.S. and moves onto college. So, if you are wondering about this car with over 7 years on it, I think its held up very well. Definitely one to check out for a new driver.
5 out of 5 stars
The Best car you could ever have if you needed one made in 2008
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.
3.38 out of 5 stars
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.
4 out of 5 stars
Very Solid High MPG Car
2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I puchased this unit used, recently in very good condition. ($13k, 44k miles). Hybrids are certainly a different breed of cat. They drive a bit differently, though I like the driving dynamics much better than the Prius. (Brakes seem "grabby" and steering doesn't fit me; HCH has a telescoping and tilt wheel that allows a more aggressive steering position). I find the car to be plenty … peppy as to acceleration. Handling and braking are very good in my opinion. Car feels sporty. Hybrid system is a little distracting, and does some odd things (sudden battery "dumps" at times, MPG drops on cold weather). Ride is a bit stiff, bordering on harsh on poor pavement.
2008 Civic Highlights
|Combined MPG||29 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$132/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood