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 EBounding on Monday, March 02, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, reliability"
Cons: "Road Noise, rear power locks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car in 2006 and it's now 8 years old. I'm pretty pleased with it and have had no major mechanical issues. It's basically a "point and shoot" vehicle. Cost of ownership has been in line with what I expected when I researched the car before I purchased it. Repair costs could probably be even lower since nearly all the work was done at the dealership. The car gets great gas mileage. Even at 8 years old, it still can get 48MPG on the freeway while driving consistently at 60MPH. Normal driving however is more like 36 highway and 23 city. I like the large windshield and it has decent legroom for a subcompact. Some people don't like the "digital" readout on the dashboard, but I'm fond of it. The trunk has a lot of space and is even more practical with the split rear seating. Road noise is a problem but I drown it out with the radio--this isn't a luxury vehicle. I don't care for the Daytime running lamps either--they'll turn on if the accessories are on and the parking brake isn't engaged. The most frustrating thing with the car has been the rear power locks-they've already been replaced twice. I have gone through two sets of brakes and the sway bar link broke recently. Other than that there have been no major issues--certainly none with the engine, pumps, transmission, or suspension (other than the swaybar link). I'm just an average driver and compared to may last car, the Civic is very responsive, fun to drive and reliable. It has a relatively low cost of ownership and should be a hassle free experience as long as you keep up with the maintenance."
By Ed on Monday, February 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles nice"
Cons: "Worst of the 4 Hondas owned!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned 4 Honda vehicles - this will be my last. I would rather drive my 1998 Civic because I don't know what will go wrong next with this one. Wind shield wiper motor after 30 months, sun visors that deformed from heat, AC unit had to be replaced, starter had to be replaced, interior finished on steering wheel wore off in 4 years, HVAC lite buttons almost all out. Sad but my 1998 has only needed a catalytic converter at 230,000 miles."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By From Flyover Country on Sunday, February 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price/value and very economical"
Cons: "Sun Visor melted--that's it"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I knew I was going to be driving a lot and wanted and reliable but comfortable car that was economic to drive. This EX civic met every expectation I had."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Scott on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
I owned and sold this car
Pros: "Reliability, Fuel Economy, Handling, Safety"
Cons: "Fit/Finish, Cosmetic Issues, Motor Mounts"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"We bought our 2009 Honda Civic LX in June of 2010 with 30,000 miles on it. It replaced a 1996 Toyota Camry that had well over 225,000 miles on it. I put over 120,000 miles on it in 4.5 years. I was planning on keeping it for at least 5 more years, but I was hit head on at 35 mph by a girl that ran a red light, totaling the car. I walked away from the accident unharmed, as the airbag and seatbelt protected me. Over the course of 120,000 miles, the only major service performed was replacing the motor mounts at 110,00 miles which seemed a little premature, but a $300 service for 120,000 miles is nothing. Other that that, I put on 2 new sets of front brakes and 2 new sets of tires over the time I had it. I was very surprised at how well the car drove for such a basic econobox. Crisp handling, good steering feel, great fuel economy (always 31+ even with Max A/C and 35+ no A/C highway driving), safety, reliability, smooth transmission. Good car for basic transportation! Only complaint is the premature motor mount failure and fit/finish issues. The black trim outside on the window frames faded and peeled, chrome Honda logo on steering wheel tarnished, grip on steering wheel peeled off, sun visors broke 4 times, hubcaps peeled, weatherstripping around doors did not fit properly. But all those issues were purely cosmetic and did not affect the drivability of the car."
7 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Mr. "G" on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "great mileage and good commuter car"
Cons: "50,000 mi. and a cracked engine block."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"The only issue I have with the car is it started leaking water back in Nov. of 2014.The engine had 50,166 mile. I took it to a couple of local shops hoping to get the problem recitified. They were unable to locate the problem. I took it to the Honda dealer and they found a cracked block. I was told the car was out of warranty but "Honda had decided to extend the warranty and replace the engine". I was very thankful and it has been humming along for 2 monthes now. It concerns me a little that I ddin't get the 1/2 million miles out of engine but Honda was right there to back me up."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By paddy on Wednesday, February 04, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "see my comments above"
Cons: "smaller wheel base for snow not as good -"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"everything was awesome, i wanted manual windows because in RI she might not start because of the battery so i could still get in and drive if anything battery powered did not work. also Amazing 360 degree visibility which more than once kept me safe on the highway :)"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful