Reviews the 2009 Honda Civic


In a brutal car market, the Honda Civic remains one of the few bright spots: A small, affordable, fuel-efficient car that doesn't make you feel like you're riding around in a glorified tin can. Enjoying a banner year after having briefly become the best-selling car in the country in May, the 2009 Civic looks to keep up its momentum. reviewer Mike Hanley explains why it is likely to do so, but how a few minor irritants might also trip up buyers.

2009 Honda Civic Review

By Stephen Markley | November 18, 2008 | Comments (40)



The Civic is a fine car, but it looks like a doorstop on four wheels, and costs as much as the much larger Chevy Malibu. The Four cylinder Malibu with the six speed automatic gets the same mileage as the Civic and is much more luxurious. I know brand loyalty is a big thing with Honda buyers, and with good reason, but some serious comparison shopping right now would do Detroit and consumers a lot of good. Please do your part for the domestic manufacturers by at least looking at American cars before buying.

Troy S.


I look at my car as an investment. In 5 years, what will the trade in value of the Malibu be as compared to the Civic?

I have limited funds and need to invest in an automobile that I know has a reliable track record, good resale/trade in value and will not make me wonder if my local dealer will even be in business a couple years down the road. I simply don't feel as if a domestic vehicle will do that for me right now.

i prefer the Euro civic better!


Costs as much as the larger Malibu?

hm...last time I checked, the 4 cylinder Malibu that can mate with the 6AT starts at about 24 grand.
The Civic on the other hand, starts at about 15 grand on the stripped-down-bare-bone model, and fully loaded (if you can have it without leather) at 20 grand plus 5 bucks for a EX 5AT.

So, what does that mean "costs as much"?


The Malibu doesn't get anywhere near the Civic in terms of mileage.

You can get 30/40 if you drive like a Grandma.
You can get over 40mpg is you know how the R18 engine works, and you have a sensitive right foot.


J, I'm talking the red tag sale price for the Malibu with the six speed of just over 20K - that's Civic territory. The Malibu might cost a touch more than the Civic, but its mileage is really good and it rides nicer than the Civic.


George, according to the EPA the 33 mpg Malibu nearly matches the highway mileage of not just the Civic, but the Fit as well - in a much safer package.


I've driven a civic (I hate the civic) on a 300mile road trip.
The overall mileage was 44mpg, and that is on E10 regular grade fuel, and we saw 90mph.



If you have to go as far as including all the bargain pricing just to get it close to the price range of the Civic, I have nothing else to say to you; and that is NOT Civic territory.

You are using a rebated starter car comparing to a fully loaded model. And saying so righteously that it is in the same price range. Nice try.


One last note, try driving that Malibu and beat my city mileage number of 36mpg in the winter before spouting any nonsense might help.


I bought 2009 Honda Civic EX thinking I was going to save money on gas compared to my small truck 1996. The civic was very disappointing to me. It is giving me 23 miles in city. You have to drive like an 90 year old grandma if you expect to get 25 or more. I think HONDA is a ripoff. Way too much money for this type of car. And trust me you folks out there who think you can get a better resale value on honda or toyota for that matter you don't. Been there done it. It was very very disappointed how much I could get on my toyota after 3 years. Its value lost more than 7000 dollars in 3 years. Do your research people. To add to this the Honda civic insurance will go up much more than a toyota.


You either have a rare Honda that has issues or you need to take another look at how you drive. I have a 2009 Honda Civic EX and the worst MPG it got was 26 mpg in the middle of winter when I would also let the car run 15 minutes or so to warm up as there were several days below 0 degrees. You are also wrong about the resale value. The resale value blows away most "domestic" cars. Another note: the Honda Civic is built in Ohio with 60% US made parts. Many so-called American made cars have 60% parts made from other countries. Some Fords are made in Mexico. So, yes buying a Civic is buying American and helping American jobs.


I traded my 2009 Honda Accord EX-L today for a more basic 2009 Honda Civic LX-S. I hate the hard leather seats in the Accord. It got 31mpg on 3 separate road trips and I drove it hard. I'm hoping that my new Civic will set more comfortable.

stan brown

Just traded in 1998 CRV with a broken axial and got 4K for it as a tradin on an EX-L. It needs 1,200 work. By the way I have a 2004 Volvo S60T (turbo) that gets 30 on flat highway. It's fairly heavy, fast, luxurious and SAFE.


i had a 98 chevy malibu, and it was a piece of junk from day 1. a month after i bought it would randomly stall going down hills and the dealor couldnt figure out why.
I had it for 10 years and there wasnt a year when i didnt spend over 1000 dollars in repairs. I made a mistake of being sentimental and tried to keep that car as long as i did. It was fun to drive and was spacious but sucuked at gas and after 160,000 miles and 10 years ther head gasket was starting to crack and there were somany problems.

I had a chevy celibrity before this (1987) which lasted me over 200,000 miles and was a great car I dont know what the heck GM is doing making horrible cars. I wanted to by another GM car but I just dont have enough money to fix cars. So last week I bought a 2009 civic-ex and its a great car so far. gives me very good gas mileage 35 so far and its drives really well, and has as much room as my 98 malibu, and I am also very impressed with its acceleration considering its only a 1.8L and it feels like a solid car to drive. and i am just happy my dashboard doesnt vibrate and my car wont die going down hills.

So if Chevy doesnt care about its consumers by making such horrible cars then why should i care about Chevy.

Veri Tas

I bought a New 2009 Civic EX on April 28, 2009 from my local Honda dealer for $16788 plus tax. I can't tell you how delighted I am. I've had 3 Volvos (before Ford ruined them)and several Buicks. My love affair for both ended 5 minutes after the dealer handed me my new keys. The seamless blending of ride/handling, performance/economy, luxury/economy makes me drop my jaw every time I throw it into a sharp turn at high speed. It's like they gave me a baby beemer without the extra horsepower in exchange for much better gas mileage ... at half the price. I can't even imagine where a Malibu would enter into a logical comparison.


I'm 95 percent the way to trading in my 98 Honda Civic for a '09 LX. One thing that bothers me is the speedometer being above the dashboard and above the steering wheel. I'm short and it's hard to see it there. Also, is it easily visible in bright daylight?


We just purchased a 2009 Honda Civic LX this weekend, it appears to be every bit as good as the reviews state. I tried many different models before buying including the Chevy Malibu. The Malibu pricing in our area is 5K more than the Civic LX. I drove the Malibu, there is no way anyone can convince me it will be as fuel efficient and reliable as the Honda Civic. The Civic's cool blue speedometer above the dash is very nice, easy to see in the daytime,and I am only 5 foot 5 and can see if perfectly.


Debbie, You shouldn't have a problem seeing the speedometer. The driver's seat adjusts for height. It is easily seen day or night. I live in Florida, and even with sunglasses, I see it fine. It's a great car! Take a look at the EX. You'll get a sunroof and larger tires.


The argument that you are doing your part as an American by buying a GM is bunk.

As a tax payer, I already own a piece of every single POS new GM rolling off the lots. The last thing I need is to own another POS GM.

I just bought a 2009 Civic EX, and I supported REAL American working families who built my car in East Liberty, OHIO!!!

Real Americans don't work for companies that are run by a bunch of crooked Union Thugs that turn around and steal tax payer money.

Yeah, I bought AMERICAN! It just happens to have a Japanese brand on it;)

where's this MPG I keep hearing about

I am 6000 miles into my 2009 Honda Civic EX and I'm extremely disapointed in my MPG. I still have not averaged > 30 MPG yet. The dealer tells me it should get better after the first 5000 miles, but so far I have not seen any improvment.
Other than the MPG, it's the best car I have ever owned.


yea but profit is sent overseas, sure its not built there, but the profits FROM the sale go overseas.

My sister bought an 08 Civic Sedan. What a pile. Has been in for warrenty work from the axle breakin, to the wheel bearings going bad, to airbag lights, and inoperative power windows. The speedometer is retarded. The engine is a gutless noisy rice box. The auto transmission seems to get confused and gear hunt. The interior REEKS of cheap awful plastic, stereos positiond too far away, the seats are about as plush as a carboard box.....Some value.....


I just bought a Civic LX the other day. I love it overall, especially the interior. However, the engine seems to rev more than expected, I am feeling some vibration coming from the rear right side, and the rear defogger seems to take a long time to work. Oh, and I feel a little nudge when it changes gears, too. I am still observing it and am hoping that it is all due to its being new and all, but is anyone having the same observations?


I rented the Malibu a couple weeks ago. So silent you can't even hear the 4 cylinder idling. Average mileage was 31 mpg over the week. The review points out the Civic's lousy ride and the road noise that Honda is now famous for. The Malibu is more of a grown up car with a beautiful interior and a silent smooth ride. Trainer makes a good point that the Malibu gets the same or better mileage than the civic without the penalty box feel.


I bought an '09 Civic EX in May. My MPGs keep going lower with each tank. I started in the high 20s, even two 30, but I am now down to 23 MPGs! Is this normal? Do I need to get it checked? I bought a Honda Civic because of the MPG claims.


I own a 2006 Civic EX and it gets a consistent 35 mpg in the city with a high of 46 on the hwy. And NO, it isn't driven like Grandma's Xmas present. The trick in town is to keep out of the VVTI system (Honda cleverly designed the valve system so that traffic can be kept up with, without getting into the bigger valves and more hp with less gas mileage), and on the hwy, keep it on the cruise control at a sane speed (70-80 mph). However, there is a problem with Hondas in general, and not sure why it is, but out of the last 4 that I've owned (two Integras and one V6 Accord), the spark plugs came incorrectly gapped from the factory, and on newer cars they can't be corrected without ruining them. Simple fix, replace the spark plugs with NGK. Mine was stalling pretty badly right out of the dealer's showroom, got it home, let it cool, and checked the plugs--none were correctly gapped. Replaced all 4 at $10.00 each (iridium plugs) and watched the gas mileage go up each time the tank was filled (this might be why some owners report lousy gas mileage). By 1,000 miles it was getting 35 in the city with some stop and go, and some 40-45 mph speeds. The only complaint that I have with the engine is that despite Honda saying it runs on regular, it really likes premium gas better. It usually loses 2-3 mpg with regular in the city and runs noticeably rougher.

There are lots of complaints about the standard tires. Yeah, there are better ones made, but the speedo is dead accurate and they handle beautifully in snow. Have read complaints how the tires suck on snow and ice and I disagree completely (maybe their suspension is out of whack?). Went up one hill that was covered with ice--didn't feel a thing and later walked up the same hill and it was hard to keep from slipping. The tires are a bit noisy on certain roads, but for the avg driver they are good tires and do their job well.

Love the new split speed-o/tach instrument cluster--that thing is great! Honda should put it across the board--didn't think it would be liked, but it took very little time to grow on me. The seats are some of the best in any Honda owned to date...very comfortable.

All in all, have very few complaints about this car and have owned it for 3.5 years now. Have no intention of selling it, not even looking. It's fun to drive, decently powerful with the 5spd manual, handles well for an econo car, comfortable even on long trips, great stereo with the factory speakers and "subwoofer", takes loads of luggage and has personality to boot. What more could a buyer want?


My 2009, which now has 3.500 miles on it, has never gotten above 27 nMPG. And I do not drive in the city and the tires are properly infalted. I have used regular 10% ethanol gas and also 5% ethaonl gas, nd milegae still sucks. My 2 previous civics from 2001 and 1997 got 36-40 MPG. This 2009 sucks.


I just called Honda dealership over poor gas mileage concerns (22-27 MPG verses sticker that said 26-36 MPG)- they said nothing they can do unless a check engine light is on in the car. SO NOT ACCEPTABLE. I called Honda USA @ 1-800-999-1009- I shoukld hear from a case manager in 24-48 hours. My previous 2 civics all got 36 MPG average and 40 MPG on straight highway. So not happy with gas mileage on this 2009 Civic LX.


I never thought in a million years I would buy a foreign car, but due to a horrible experience I had with a Dodge plus all the bail-outs I finally considered getting one. First was a Honda Odyssey - I love it. That was for the wife. I just bought a Civic LX and traded in my POS Dodge Intrepid. So far the Civic has been exactly what I expected. Great design, great gas mileage. I fully expect to put 200K miles on both cars. Consider me a Honda believer.


I purchased a 2009 Honda Civic 4 door sedan, the one with electric windows/doorlocks. I love this car but I've been frustrated with the gas mileage. My 1st 6k miles I consistently got 30/36 city/hwy mpg. After my oil change I started getting 27,28 mpg and worst case 26 mpg in the city and haven't been on trip since my last oil change. I changed my tire pressure and got another 1 mpg. I've had some issue with idling so I checked and found information about idling problems and gasoline containting MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl) use to boost octane levels, but normally not used in the US, but sited areas in the country where the MMT has been found. I found it interesting that the owners manual didn't say anything about the "MMT" additive. The website mentioned above stated damaged cause by the additive MMT might not be covered under warranty. My next plan is to use the "TOP TIER GASOLINE" to see if my idle problem and mpg will change. I'll keep you posted.


I've been having the same MPG issues as many of the folks here. My situation is practically identical to @Tracy's: my 2009 Civic good mileage for about the first 6-8k miles, and now I'm just over 16k and lucky to be in the high 20s highway. I kept thinking it was the winter fuel blend, but this have been happening since last summer.

The car is an absolute pleasure to drive - I love almost everything about it - but the poor mileage is unbelievable! I'm a conservative driver and I'm checking my mileage with every tank of gas...and it's consistently in the low-mid 20s. So yeah, this is extremely frustrating considering the fuel economy is one of the major reasons I bought the car.

John Shea

Bought a 2008 Honda civic EX manual 5 speed and have been getting consistent MPG of 30 city / 35 Hwy. Now has 37k miles. The ride is stiffer but not terrible. overall very happy.


I have a question about this car. Are year 2008 and up honda civic cars easy to steal? I heard many honda civics are easily to break into????


@Trixie Its not that the Honda Civic is easy to steal, its that they are an extremely customizable car, they tend to be stolen for spare parts. They are making cars increasingly hard to break into these days, plus alarms and such.


Anyone have axle problems? I have a 2009 civic ex, bad axle.

Rich Boy

2008 Civic driver side front axle cracked while wife on way to work ( a bit unnerving) at ONLY 52,000 MILES!!!! Dealership charged me a "core fee" even though the car is still under warranty. Used to like Honda, too...dealership says part is outsourced


I recently bought a used 2009 Honda civic with 45000 miles on it and I would like to give my opinion of the car. I just got back from a trip to grand junction Co from rapid city SD all the driving was done with the air conditioner running full blast in the middle of August. THe gas mileage I got was beyond my expectations on the way to grand junction I got 38 mpg and that is including the drive up and over the mountains on I 70. On the way home I got just over 40 mpg same route on the way back. All the driving was interstate with the cruise set at 80mph other than the drive up and over the mountains with the average speed of probably 60 mph. I am very pleased with the car because I bought it mostly for the fuel mileage. In town I have not been quite as happy with my mileage averaging around 29 mpg. Overall for a gas combustion engine this car has been above my expectations all the way around.

Christina G.

I drive a 2009 honda civic AT and currently I'm at 275 miles on a 9.5 gallons (city). If you do the math, that is 28.95 almost 29 city mpg which is not bad at all. I don't drive like a grandma but I accelerate conservatively. I don't hit the gas real hard.

AJ Carter

My 2009 Civic EX is my first automatic transmission, and I'm okay with it, but miss driving myself. My mileage is consistently 30-32/40-42. One problem is visibility. With a passenger and the headrest in the way, turning onto an angle street is iffy unless the passenger navigates for me. I'm 55'6". bit have to life myself to see my speed because I like the wheel in high position. I'm a bit irked to need tires soon at 42,500. My Accord got 70,000 mi. on its stock tires. This is my fourth Honda.

AJ Carter

Sorry about the typos--didn't see them while I was typing. I'm 5'6" BUT have to LIFT myself to see the speed.

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