Since its introduction in 1972, the Honda Civic has been an enduring favorite among car owners. From its humble start, Civics evolved considerably into an array of sedans and coupes with considerable space for cars of their class. The 2011 models are available in hybrid and non-hybrid formats, all with four-cylinder engines.
Always notable for their thrifty fuel consumption, Civics continue to be easy on the gas. EPA statistics for city driving range from 23 miles per gallon (mpg) for the Civic Si coupe to 49 mpg for the hybrid sedan. On the highway, EPA ratings trend from 32 mph for the Si coupe to 51 mph for the hybrid sedan. All versions of the Civic seat four people. The Civic is manufactured for U.S. distribution in East Liberty, Ohio, as well as Greensburg, Indiana. Horsepower ranges from 110 for the hybrid to 197 for the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder model. Civics are available with six-speed automatic transmissions, as well as five- or six-speed manual transmissions. The hybrid version sports a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The first Civic measured just under 140 inches in length, and had 12-inch wheels. Amazingly, the little car seated four people, and achieved a speed upwards of 40 miles per hour (mph). Its independent suspension and well-designed interior made it a formidable competitor to American small cars of the time. In the mid-1970s, when gas prices started to increase significantly, sales of Civics began to soar. They began to acquire a reputation as a suitable first car, or an inexpensive second car. In their first ten years of existence, Civics were notorious for developing rust prematurely, often within three years after they were purchased. This condition has long since been mitigated, and Civics are now famous for solid, reliable construction. The cars have grown significantly, to a current length of 175 inches and a width of 69 inches.
Current Civics offer a wide range of trims and options. A recent redesign threw Honda's historically conservative styling approach to the wind, and new Civics are much more aerodynamic than their predecessors. Civics are now available with leather interiors, satellite-powered navigation systems, and hands-free phone jacks. Upscale audio systems, satellite radio, USB ports, and MP3 jacks are available in selected EX and EX-L models.
The Civic has won many industry awards in its long life. One of its earliest prizes came in 1974, when U.S. Road Test magazine named the Civic its Import Car of the Year". It won Motor Trend magazine's 1980 "Import Car of the Year" award, and the same publication's "Car of the Year" award in 2006. For six times, Car and Driver magazine honored the Civic in its "Ten Best Cars" list.
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