Civic Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary
This year Honda is celebrating 50 years of its iconic Civic. Developed as a ‘Car for the World’, more than 27.5 million Civics have been sold in 170 countries since the model was first launched in 1972. As it enters its sixth decade with the launch of the 11th generation, the Civic continues to set new class benchmarks and exceed the expectations of customers around the world.
The Civics’ enduring popularity is testament to the pioneering work of Honda engineers over the past half a century. Each generation has introduced its own progressive evolution of the original Civic design, advanced technologies, and new levels of performance, while maintaining the same purpose as the first Civic: a spacious and fun to drive compact car.
1972 – 1979: A Civic for all citizens
The first Civic was developed as a global car for all markets, offering exceptional practicality in everyday driving. It was one of the first Honda cars to be sold globally, achieving instant acclaim for its compact design, impressive fuel economy and usability. Equipped with a revolutionary Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion (CVCC) engine, the Civic became the first vehicle to comply with the world’s strictest emission regulations at the time, the 1970 California Clean Air Act, setting the standard for future emissions targets across the global automotive industry. The first generation Civic was first produced in Suzuka Factory, Japan. Accumulated production volume reached 1 million units within the first four years.
Into the 80s: Civic comes of age
In 1979 the second generation Civic arrived along with an improved CVCC-II engine, building on the success of the original Civic with a 1.3 litre engine that offered a smoother delivery of power as well as being more economical. The range of models was also extended with a 1.5 litre sedan, hatchback, and a wagon. A five-speed manual transmission was also added to the line-up. The model introduced a new distinctive two-box trapezoidal design with the front grille and headlights getting a more angular look. However, this shape was short lived as the Civic grew in popularity and a new model was required to meet consumer demand for larger cars.
The third-generation Civic arrived in 1983 with a wider wheelbase and a more angular design. A new concept of development was introduced with Honda’s ‘Man Maximum-Machine Minimum’ principle, a human-centric approach to design which ensured technology and layout served the needs of the driver and passengers. Today, this principle still helps define all Honda models, to help deliver the space and usability expected by modern drivers.
1987 – 2000: New standards of quality and performance
In 1987, the fourth-generation Civic introduced a new range of engine options with 1.6 litre twin carb and a 1.5 litre fuel injection model (in some countries). The ‘Hot Hatch’ race had started, with eye watering performance and revs that kept climbing and climbing for the ultimate ‘fun to drive’ vehicle.
The fifth-generation Civic quickly followed in 1991, debuting a sleeker and more aerodynamic form, for a sportier appeal – while maintaining the everyday functionality the car had become synonymous with. The split rear tailgate added a new dimension to the Civic functionality. Honda’s world renowned VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system was introduced. Its variable timing mechanism revolutionised engine technology, delivering greater performance at high revs and improved fuel consumption at low revs – landing the Civic several awards.
The sixth-generation Civic was developed to create a higher value than its class. In 1990s, lower fuel consumption and other environmental actions became more significant. As such, this model had a newly developed 1.5 liter engine. It also featured ‘Hondamatic Transmission’. The SiR grade of the Civic with DOHC VTEC mated to a manual transmission took the GCC market by storm.
2001 – 2021: The Millennial Civic
The seventh generation arrived in 2000 and became the first Civic to offer hybrid technology globally. For the MENA region, a 1.6 litre i-VTEC engine model was introduced. The Hybrid Civic recorded the world’s most fuel-efficient 5-seater production gasoline vehicle with ultra-high fuel economy of 29.5km/l.
In 2006, the eighth-generation Civic arrived in the GCC where Honda rewrote the rules of a compact sedan with added fuel efficiency, was feature rich, emphasized on comfort, and a 1.8 litre i-VTEC SOHC engine. This model was accessorised by many Civic lovers to give it the Type R look which still turns heads.
The ninth-generation Civic added further refinement to create a well-rounded package for customers, including class-leading efficiency. Featuring a revised 1.8 i-VTEC engine, a digital speedometer ,a dual screen infortainment system and enhanced safety features set the Civic aside from its competitors. This model set new standards within its segment with its unique blend of futuristic exterior design, advanced technology, and superb performance.
A completely remodelled 10th generation Civic arrived in 2016 which set an even higher standard in compact car style and performance. With sleek, sporty lines and an improved power-to-weight ratio, the 2016 Civic was fun to drive, charismatic, spacious, and stylish. It was introduced with two fuel efficient engines namely the 2.0 litre with the LXi and EXi grade and a more powerful 1.5 liter DOHC Direct Injected VTEC Turbo engine with the RS grade. The 10th generation Civic won the ‘Middle East Car of the Year 2017’ in the ‘Best Compact Sedan’ segment.
In 2018, the line-up offering for the GCC was further strengthened with a 1.6L engine, with the grades DX, LX and LX Sport. The additional grade line-up ensured that more options were available for the needs of the compact car customer. Powering the Civic 1.6L was the SOHC i-VTEC engine producing a peak horsepower of 123 @ 6500 rpm and a torque of 152 N-m @ 4300 rpm.
2022: A New Era of Civic
Building on 50 years of heritage, the 11th generation Civic launched in the GCC in 2022 combined strong performance and efficiency with improved levels of interior comfort, visual appeal, and overall usability. The latest model of Civic marked a major milestone for Honda in the GCC, as it was regarded a breath of fresh air and focused on the original Honda design approach of “Man-Maximum, Machine-Minimum” (or “M/M”). The 2022 Honda Civic is engineered with a turbo charged 1.5L DOHC VTEC engine paired with continuously variable transmission (CVT) that delivers 180hp@6000 rpm. For the first time for this region, the Civic is equipped with Honda Sensing® suite of active safety and driver assistive technologies.
The 2022 Honda Civic is fun-to-drive and technologically advanced with multilink rear suspension, better weight distribution and driver engagement. The 2022 Civic also won the ‘North American Car of the Year’ award at the end of Jan 2022.
Further to the launch of the 11th generation, Honda will introduce the All-New Type R in this region early next year. Honda’s next-generation Civic Type R has set a new lap record for a front-wheel drive car at the world-famous Suzuka Circuit in Japan. It lapped the 5.8km track in 2 minutes 23.120 seconds*, 0.873 seconds faster than its predecessor, the stripped back 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition.