By KBB.com Editors
As Honda's best-known and best-loved car line, the 2009 Civic Sedan and Coupe continue to set the bar in the compact-car arena. Long considered the standard by which all other compacts are measured, the Civic is able to lure buyers thanks to its impressive fuel economy, unrivaled reliability and repair history and class-leading resale values. Once considered the Civic's only weak point, exterior styling is now one of the car's most appealing attributes. With its sharply raked windshield and low profile, the sleek Civic Coupe looks like nothing else on the road. The car's appeal to younger drivers has put Honda back into the good graces of the tuner and aftermarket crowd.
If you appreciate world-class refinement (along with impressive mileage), and you're looking to spend anywhere from $16,000 to $24,000 for a new car, your test-drive schedule might not continue past the Honda dealer.
If the Civic's $16,000 starting price is the most you want to spend, you might be disappointed to find out the least-expensive DX model doesn't include a factory-installed audio system, air conditioning, power locks, center console or even map lights.
The entire Civic lineup benefits from a freshening of the front and rear ends, new alloy wheel designs and new colors. Two new trims are added to the DX and LX sedan lines. The DX-VP adds air conditioning and an AM/FM/CD audio system, while the LX-S gains alloy wheels, a sportier interior and a rear spoiler. EX-L models now feature electronic stability control as well as Bluetooth connectivity with the optional navigation system.
Driving Impressions We drove the Civic in both coupe and sedan form and found them both notable for what you don't hear or feel – the ride is smooth and quiet, while...cornering and acceleration are easy and nearly effortless. The whole experience is more in line with what you'd expect from a bigger or pricier vehicle. The refined 140-horsepower engine never overwhelms you with power, but even when you run the tachometer up to its redline you don't feel like you're bullying the car. The coupe version gets a slightly sportier suspension to go with its decidedly sportier posture, but we found it to be still comfortable after hour-plus drives. Whether you're in the driver's seat or one of the Civic's other seating positions, the 2009 Honda Civic is a perfectly enjoyable way to travel.
Listen to MP3s on CD. Listen to MP3s on a memory card. Listen to MP3s on an iPod. Listen to XM Satellite Radio. Listen through a 350-watt system with a subwoofer (coupe only). When you're feeling nostalgic, you can even listen to AM and FM radio broadcasts.
Two-Tier Instrument Panel
While some non-traditional instrument panel layouts come across as gimmicky, the Civic's two-tier execution seems to make all the sense in the world.
In addition to offering more in-cabin technology than we've come to expect, the 2009 Honda Civic also features the most visually futuristic interior of any vehicle on the market. Take a seat behind the wheel and your first impression is dominated by a uniquely sculpted steering wheel and an unconventional two-tier instrument panel. Technological highlights include an available navigation system and a broad array of digital audio options. Third, fourth and fifth passengers would be happier in the sedan's backseat than in the coupe's, because the sedan features about four more inches of legroom and two more inches of headroom than the cozy coupe. The fit, finish and design found inside the Civic are first-rate.Exterior
Although the 2009 Honda Civic Coupe and Sedan are both distinguished by a low-profile front end, short hood and long, laid-back windshield, the two models have never been more different. The taller sedan rides on a longer wheelbase than the sleeker, sportier coupe that also includes a decklid spoiler as standard equipment. Small gaps between the tires and body contribute to each model having a stance with better proportions and more balance. Beneath the sheet metal, the Civic features an advanced body structure designed to better absorb and distribute collision forces, especially in impacts involving taller sport utility vehicles and the like.
Notable standard equipment on the base Civic Sedan and Coupe models includes power windows, a four-way adjustable steering column, height-adjustable driver's seat, fold-down rear seatback and an impressive list of safety equipment such as front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, active head restraints, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and more. The DX-VP adds to the base DX trim an AM/FM/CD stereo and air conditioning, but still lacks power locks/mirrors.
The Civic's list of optional equipment is highlighted by a navigation system with voice-recognition software and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. An advanced 350-watt AM/FM/XM/CD sound system with subwoofer is available on the Si Sedan and EX, EX-L and Si Coupe, but there are several iterations of a 160-watt CD sound system – and all audio systems have MP3/WMA CD playback capability and, on LX and higher trims, an auxiliary audio input jack. Getting the navigation system also gives you the ability to play music stored on a variety of digital media cards. More familiar options are included within the various trim levels and include an automatic transmission, one-touch power moonroof, leather seating, power door locks with keyless remote, power mirrors, air conditioning, cruise control and steering wheel-mounted cruise/audio/navigation controls.
Bridging the gap between the 197-horsepower high-output engine in the Civic Si and the 45-miles per gallon powerplant in the Civic Hybrid, the Civic sedan and coupe feature a 140-horsepower unit that delivers impressive city/highway mileage of up to 25/36-miles per gallon. A five-speed manual is standard, but a five-speed automatic mitigates the performance penalty normally associated with combining a small four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission. Performance fans who can't work a manual gearbox are shut out of the Si, as no automatic is offered.
1.8-liter in-line 4
140 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/34 (manual), 25/36 (automatic)
2.0-liter in-line 4
197 horsepower @ 7800 rpm
139 lb.-ft. of torque @ 6100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29
By Hazyshade on Sunday, October 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "great gas mileage"
Cons: "manual locks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Great on gas and reliable. Interior design is fair to poor,in my opinion. Front seats are not so comfortable and headrests are poorly positioned. Steering wheel blocks view of odometer. Must lean forward to see cars on left side as design blocks your view. Design also blocks view in rear corners. Manual locks are a pain! I LOVE Honda's reliability, but this model's design has a lot to be desired. Wish I kept my Saturn...will probably trade in for a different Honda model."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By fatz on Thursday, October 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "economical, fun to drive"
Cons: "low ground clearance, donut spare"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought this with intentions of wearing it out. Have to replace it with something with an automatic transmission because my wife is having problems shifting gears. It has gotten 43 mpg typically. The mileage drops to the rated 36 mpg only when the AC is operating. It has required nothing beyond normal maintenance in the 40kmiles we have owned it. Two negatives: My wife's only objection is the low ground clearance; she calls it her snowplow in the winter. We don't care for the artificial spare tire because we live a significant distance from the big name tire dealers. We replaced it with a full-size spare, which does not fit well in the trunk."
9 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Beaver on Tuesday, October 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Hybrid battery started to die while still under warrantee, but held out until just after. (Honda did reimburse replacement cost as result of a class action suit.) Steering is sloppy; brakes are erratic. Acceleration varies immensely depending on the charge status of the hybrid battery. Seats are uncomfortable (cut off circulation behind the knees and force me to hold me head forward, not upright). Visors would not stay in place and eventually fell to pieces. Highway mileage is much worse than commute mileage."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Boiler on Sunday, September 28, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Pros: "Gas mileage, agility, reliable"
Cons: "road noise, engine power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"As a startup car, this Honda Civic is really the way to go. Gas mileage is incredible, as 34+ mpg mixed is a norm even with traffic. It is also agile enough for driving in crowded place. I like the handling and comfort on making any turns. There were no problems at all for any important part of the car after 7 years of ownership. The only issue is the documented sun visor problem, which can be replaced at dealership at no cost. Two major cons are unavoidable with this car. First, the engine is not powerful for those who like to accelerate fast (mine was a LX version). Secondly, this car is not designated for quiet drive. However, as a startup car, these are not the major factors for consideration."
19 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By manny on Friday, September 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"only problem,front brake pads.replaced 6 times,3 of those Honda paid,its crazy never had a car that needed pads so quick.my odyssey last for more that 50k and its a van.also plastic sunvisors brake often from the heat I guess.im on my third one,first one under warranty. paint default also I have a black one,got letter from dealer to repaint at no cost but they need the car for 5 days and no loaners.hood,fenders,roof and trunk and its only 3 year old car go figure!!!"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By TLR on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage"
Cons: "very un-comfortable seats, no sun-roof, poor AC"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Great gas mileage, very un-comfortable seats. Seats are so bad that 1/2 hour long trips, create a sore back. Car is to low to the ground, poor look ahead visibility. The car is gutless. no acceleration power. I'm scared every time I get in the freeway or have to speed up to avoid traffic."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful