After a series of conservative redesigns, Honda poured it on with the ninth-generation Civic. The short hood and raked windshield gave both sedan and coupe models an ultra-modern appearance, and this theme continued inside. While still as ergonomically sound as ever, this layout featured a bilevel gauge arrangement, with the tachometer behind the steering wheel and a digital speedometer situated high on the dash. Moreover, thanks to the extreme angle of the windshield, the dashboard itself was one of the deepest in recent memory. Consumers have raved over this futuristic Civic.
The eighth-generation Civic was available in either sedan or coupe form, and Honda’s familiar trim levels (DX, LX and EX) were again offered. In a change from Civics past, the DX, LX and EX models were all powered by the same SOHC 1.8-liter, inline four-cylinder engine. This engine generated 140 hp while returning very good fuel economy. A five-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual was offered.
The GX, which was endowed with a conventional five-speed automatic this time around. The hybrid sedan, outfitted as before with a CVT transmission, was powered by a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder gas engine and an integrated electric motor for a combined horsepower rating of 110. The hybrid’s fuel economy actually increased to 50 mpg city/50 highway using the EPA’s ratings at the time.
This Civic’s exciting exterior and interior styling remained at or near the head of the compact-car class. The sporty Si model, in particular, garnered rave reviews from those who reveled in its sports-carlike handling and its rev-happy motor to the 8,000-rpm redline. Even ordinary Civic models were praised for their composed handling, well-equipped interiors and frugal fuel consumption relative to the competition.
For 2008, the EX model could be equipped with leather upholstery. Also, the limited-production Mugen Si sedan debuted, boasting numerous aesthetic upgrades over the regular Si sedan.