The first Honda Civic was launched in July 1972 as a two-door model and later in September, a three-door hatchback was launched. Earlier, the majority of the Honda Civic models were subcompact which later changed to compact versions. In addition to Accord and Prelude, Honda Civic was also included in the vehicles sold in North America till 1990s.
In Civic, the 1169cc engine mounted in a transverse position and was a front-wheel drive similar to British Mini. Previously, the Civic came with AM radio, two-speed wipers, heater, painted steel rims with a chromed wheel nut cap and foam-cushioned plastic trim. However, as the time passed, some new features were introduced as well including air conditioning, power windows, power locks, satellite-linked navigation, leather upholstery and a six-speed manual transmission. Honda Civic made a good impression for being fuel-efficient, reliable and environment friendly in its early years; however the later models focused much on performance and sportiness such as the Civic SiR Civic Type-R, and Civic GTi.
For international markets, the Civic has been renamed as the Honda Ballade, Honda Domani or Honda Acura EL. There are many other models which are based on Civic platform including the CR-V compact SUV, the CR-X sport compact and the CR-X del Sol targa convertible.
According to the 2006 statistics, over 16.5 million units of Civic sold across the world with 7.3 million of units sold in United States alone. The popularity of Civic made it the best selling car in the Canada for the year 2010. In June 2008, America faced a hike in gas prices along with declining economy as a result of which the Civic substituted the Ford F-Series to hold the top position for best-selling car in the America for the month.
First Generation (1973–1979)
It was launched in 1972 and powered with an 1169cc four-cylinder engine along with front power disc brakes and reclining vinyl bucket seats and AM radio. The idea behind it was to challenge the American compact vehicles. It was offered both in coupe (three and five-door hatchback) and a five-door station wagon. The CVCC engine was launched in 1975 and offered with standard Civic engine.
Second Generation (1980-1983)
It was introduced in 1980 with an increased engine power. It was more angular and larger then its previous version. The CVCC engine design was introduced in all the Civic engines along with three transmission variants including a five-speed manual, a two-speed semi-automatic and a four-speed manual.
Third Generation (1984–1987)
In 1984, the third generation Honda Civic was launched equipped with a long running four-cylinder D series engine including a new 1.5 L CVCC engine. High-performance Si model were introduced in Japanese and American market with slight difference.
Fourth Generation (1988–1991)
The fourth generation Honda Civic launched in different trim levels and models including the Japanese market SiR, the European VTi, the UK/European 1.6i-16 and the New Zealand market GTi.
Fifth Generation (1992–1995)
Increased dimensions and enhanced aerodynamics were the characteristics of 5th generation Civic. 5th generation models were CX, VX, DX, Si (hatchbacks) along with some coupe and sedans.
Sixth Generation (1996–2000)
It was launched in 1996. All the base models including EX, DX, LX, HX, CX, Si featured 1.6-L engines. In 1999, the first Civic SI coupe EM1 was launched.
Seventh Generation (2001–2005)
The year 2001 saw the launch of 7th generation. Certain modifications were made in the new generation including dropping of front suspension of a double wishbone to a MacPherson strut. The new Honda K-series engine was also introduced.
Eighth Generation (2006-2011)
Eight generation brought a distinction between vehicles for home and North American market and the European market. For North American market sedan and coupe were offered. Si coupe launched in 2007. Type-R, Acura EL and Acura CSX were models for European market.
Ninth Generation (2012 onwards)
On April 20, 2011, the production version of the ninth generation Civic went on sale in America which is going to be offered in gasoline, hybrid and gas variants. Coupe, sedan and Si versions will be offered in gasoline lineup.