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 Cfan on Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, fun, good looking."
Cons: "Paint scratches too easily."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is my third Civic and my second Si. Best bang for the buck if you sometimes need a back seat. Reliability is exceptional. My car has never needed a mechanical repair. I change oil, wiper blades and tires. The paint (black) is way too soft. It scratches if I look at it too hard showing the white primer underneath. The finish is crackled on the horizontal surfaces from exposure to the summer sun. My previous Civics and my Odyssey had much more durable paint."
By wannabee on Monday, April 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "mileage, reliability, handling, safety record,"
Cons: "not comfortable seating, couple of serious recalls"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have really enjoyed this vehicle and yes I would probably purchase another. The mileage is great 30/42 on average on 87+ octane fuel. The vehicle has been most reliable. A couple of serious recalls but they were done totally free of charge and promptly. The only problems is that I am a large person and the interior is a bit close. As I get older and less flexible the vehicle is harder to get out of, especially after a long trip. The back seat is great for children to early adolescent but is not big enough to be comfortable for an adult. Overall I really do enjoy my Honda Civic."
By Rick O on Sunday, April 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Handles as well as my S2000. excellent mileage driven sensibly. Wonderful engine and mechanicals, highly reliable. Excellent ride/handling/cornering, etc. I have driven it more than my S2000 Have added front/rear air dams, side skirts, power sun roof visor, front/rear window visors, I really like this car."
By ggin64 on Sunday, April 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "extremely well built and reliable"
Cons: "gutless acceleration"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"purchased new at the beginning of the new model (2006 new body style)- totally reliable and other than routine maintenance, this car is the least expensive car we've ever owned. Gas mileage from spring through fall was always 47-49 mpg while winter in MN dropped it to 39-42 mpg. Never had a burned out light bulb and every electronic & mechanical system continues to work flawlessly. It's got a comfortable ride (many 2K - 4K driving trips across country) but it's not so great in the mountains as should be expected with a 1.2 liter engine. Giving it to our daughter & her husband on the expected arrival of another grandchild."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Jan on Friday, April 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 132,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Vehicle was purchased for safety. Car has terrible suspension and is dangerous on bumpy roads. HVAC has been repaired twice and still works on intermittently (including defrosters). Has had new wheel bearings at 23K and 52K, upgraded the suspension (without handling results), HVAC repairs, and car hits parking blocks and destroys front bumper (husband can't seem to be careful pulling into spaces). It is difficult to clean due to long dash. Defrosters, when working, do not clear windows well. Difficult to get in or out without bumping your head."
By curley on Friday, March 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We have never needed repairs other than regular maintinance. Great milage. Super power. Great looking."
6 people out of 9 found this review helpful