45 Years of Honda Civic: Ten Generations of Excellent Performance

Feb 25, 2017 10:42 AM EST | BC Tabotabo

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The Honda Civic is celebrating 45 years of automotive excellence this year. Year in and year out, this sedan is one of the Japanese automobile manufacturer's best-selling vehicles.

The Civic is now in its tenth generation. The original sedan was a humble far cry from the current model. Somehow, it still embraces many of the design philosophies and virtues that made the original car win over the crowds.

First Generation. According to Motoring, the car was first available in 1972. The original used a front-engine and front-drive platform which developed from the Honda N600. The small hatch was lightweight and had a choice of four-cylinder engines ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 liters. The engines were very economical.

Second and Third Generation. The second-generation Honda Civic was boxier and larger than its predecessor. A sedan variant was also made available for the first time.

The third generation Civic added an edgy CR-X hot hatch and an all-wheel variant for the first time. A new 12-valve fuel-injected 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine also became part of the lineup.

Fourth and Fifth Generation. The fourth-generation saw a more aerodynamic shape and a larger Civic. A VTEC (electronic variable valve timing) engine was introduced for the first time. This upped the power in high-grade models significantly.

The fifth-generation saw a bigger and engine and better performance. A sleek hatch, sedan, and wagon body styles were offered along with a new two-door coupe in 1993.

Sixth and Seventh Generation. The sixth-generation Civic grew in size. The Honda Civic Type R also debuted for this generation. High-performance models now featured four-wheel disc brakes, aerodynamic body styling, and all-wheel drive.

The seventh-generation model said goodbye to the 1.3-liter engine as a primary power source. The first Civic Hybrid was also introduced, along with a 1.7 and 2.0-liter engines.

Eighth and Ninth Generation. The eighth and ninth generation Civic's were very similar visually and mechanically. The vehicles saw marked improvements to safety, a better instrument panel, and better fuel economy. This was really when the sedan established itself as a top performer.

Tenth Generation. The 2017 Civic is the current generation. According to CNET, the new Honda Civic Type R is set to release later this year and will debut in Geneva next month.

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