Compact car; Built in USA, Canada, England, Japan
  • 2-door coupe
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,100 – $7,500*

2001 Honda Civic LX 4-door sedan

2001 Honda Civic LX 2-door coupe

2001 Honda Civic interior

2002 Honda Civic HX 2-door coupe

2002 Honda Civic Si 2-door hatchback

  • Acceleration (Si)
  • Build quality
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling (Si)
  • Visibility
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (coupes, Si)
  • Steering feel (except Si)

Civic has long been tops for small-car refinement and driving fun, and the current generation shapes up as the best one yet. With its fine reliability records, Honda’s solidly built subcompact is a hands-down Best Buy, despite a few workmanship glitches on test models. Competitors cannot match Civic’s blend of comfort, refinement, excellent ergonomics, and fuel thrift. Strong resale values keep secondhand prices high.


This perennial Best Buy began its seventh design generation with all-new models, offering front side airbags as a first-time option. Interiors and trunks grew in size. Sedan and coupe body styles returned, but the Civic hatchback was gone–at least for a while.

The Civic lineup consisted of DX, LX, and top-rung EX coupes and sedans. The LX coupe was new. A high-mileage HX coupe also joined the group, as did a low-emissions GX sedan that ran on compressed natural gas (CNG). The sporty Si coupe was dropped, but would return after a year’s absence.

Civic’s previous 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines gave way to 1.7-liter derivatives with 9 more horsepower for DX and LX models. The HX engine gained 2 horsepower. Civic EX models were unchanged in power, but gained a little torque output. All models had longer oil-change and tune-up intervals.

A five-speed manual transmission was standard. The extra-cost automatic was a conventional four-speed unit, except for the HX coupe, which again offered Honda’s continuously variable transmission (CVT), with a belt-and-pulley system providing an infinite number of “gears.”

Wheelbases were unchanged, but overall length was marginally shorter and all models were taller with slightly larger cabins and trunks. The standard dual-stage airbags were designed to deploy with force appropriate to occupant size and weight. Front side airbags were a line-wide option and included a sensor that deactivates the passenger bag if the occupant is not positioned for proper protection. Antilock brakes were standard on EX models, but unavailable elsewhere. Civics competed against the Ford Focus, Mazda Protege, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Golf/Jetta.

Yearly Updates

2002 Civic
A sporty new Si hatchback joined the Civic lineup for 2002, packing a 160-horsepower engine and measuring 9 inches shorter than other body styles. Offered only with a manual transmission, the performance-focused Si came with antilock braking, electric-assist power steering, a sport suspension, and a sunroof. Front side airbags were optional. Regular coupes and sedans got suspension revisions to improve ride and handling, as well as additional sound insulation.
2003 Civic
Changes were modest for 2003. Most Civics got new gauges, and the HX and LX gained a CD player as standard equipment. The LX joined the EX as the only Civic models with a height-adjustable driver’s seat. EX coupes adopted alloy wheels and sedans gained restyled taillights. A Civic Hybrid sedan with a gasoline-electric powertrain joined the lineup as an early 2003 model. Honda had introduced a two-passenger Insight hybrid previously.
2004 Civic
All Civics get revised front and rear styling this year. Also, LX models get standard keyless entry and 15-inch wheels to replace 14s. EX models get standard alloy wheels, and the Hybrid joins the LX and EX as the only models that offer a height-adjustable driver seat.
2005 Civic
No changes were made on Civic in 2005, but expect a redesigned Civic for 2006.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

All regular Civics had 1.7-liter four-cylinder engines, but ratings varied according to model. A 115-horsepower version went into DX and LX models, while the economy-oriented HX got a 117-hp engine and the EX four-cylinder made 127 horsepower. Honda’s Civic Si hatchback, introduced for 2002, held a dual-overhead-cam 2.0-liter engine that produced 160 horsepower. Either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission could be installed in DX, LX and EX models, but the HX used a continuously variable transmission as the alternative to manual shift, and the Si was manual-only. The 2003 Civic Hybrid used a gasoline-electric powertrain, with either manual shift or Honda’s continuously variable transmission.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.7/102
Engine HP 115
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 110
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.7/102
Engine HP 117
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 110-111
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
CVT automatic
ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.7/102
Engine HP 127
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 114
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/122
Engine HP 160
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 132
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual


Road Test

Civic EX and Si are fairly quick with slick-shifting manual transmission: 9.4 sec 0-60 mph for test EX and about 8.0 for more lively Si. Other models, including the Hybrid, have only modest acceleration, even more so when equipped with slow-shifting automatic transmission. The CVT is always smooth and keeps the engine working with impressive efficiency. Extended-use EX sedans with automatic have averaged 30.5 mpg. In an even mix of city/highway driving, an LX/automatic sedan averaged 26.8 mpg, an EX/manual sedan got 26.5, and an HX CVT managed 28.9 mpg. A 2003 Civic Hybrid sedan squeezed out 47.6 mpg.

Though not as quiet as the Volkswagen Jetta, Civics beat most subcompacts in noise control. Road and engine boom can intrude at high rpm, but Civics deliver a generally solid feel. Handling remains nimble and assured. Firmer-damped EX and Si models have the best body control, but cornering lean is evident in all models. Tires furnish only modest grip, and allow mild wander in crosswinds and along road grooves. The sporty Si feels spirited, and avoids the floatiness of other models. Steering is a bit numb and overassisted. Coupes and sedans ride better than the subcompact norm. Suspension tuning is on the soft side, so there’s mild float over large humps and dips. Most bumps register, but few are jarring. Braking with ABS is generally good.

With its added interior volume, Civic moved from the EPA’s subcompact to its compact-size category. Civic drivers sit on slightly higher and wider seats than before, which should aid long-distance comfort. Visibility is clear to all quarters, though the driver cannot see the car’s rear corners when parking. Most gauges and controls are high and handy. Honda’s exemplary ergonomics keep everything simple. Shoulder room is still lacking for three grown-ups in back, but sedans have comfortable head room. Coupes offer less rear head room and much less rear leg room than sedans. Entry/exit is simple in sedans, aided by their elevated roofline, but a squeeze to the rear in coupes. Trunks are spacious for the car’s exterior size, but old-fashioned sickle-shaped hinges steal space and could crunch cargo, while the aperture won’t swallow big boxes.


Model Tested: 2002 Honda Civic LX sedan w/automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 4
Fuel Economy - 7
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 10

Total: 56


2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.1 174.7 66.7 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.9 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.0 35.4 42.5 32.8
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
101.2 165.6 66.7 56.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
21.6 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.8 36.7 42.2 33.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
103.1 174.6 67.5 56.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
12.9 13.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.8 37.2 42.2 36.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: The adjuster tabs for the center vents in the dash break off. (2001)
Engine noise
Description: Engine noise due to timing belt tensioner wear on 1.7L engine allows belt to rub cover and an updated tensioner is now available. (2001-02)
Description: The rear seatback lock may not turn or is hard to turn, requiring lock rod replacement. (2001-02)
Steering problems
Description: The steering wheel may be hard to turn or make noise due to a faulty power-steering pump. (2001)
Suspension noise
Description: Front coil springs clash, causing a popping, or knocking noise. (2001)
Transmission slippage
Description: The shift cable corrodes at the end near the transmission, making it difficult to shift and/or causing it to pop out of second or fifth gear. (2001)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the trunk because there was insufficient seam sealer applied to the fenders at the factory. (2001)

Recall History

1998-07 Civic GX compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle
Description: In the event of a severe interior fire, the CNG tank may rupture, explode, and be ejected from the vehicle.
2001 Civic
Description: Two recalls for defective rear seatbelt buckles.
2001 Civic
Description: Fuel-filler neck may have insufficient clamping and could become dislodged in an accident resulting in fuel leakage and fire. Dealers will inspect and adjust hose clamps.
2001 Civic sedan
Description: A small amount of water in electrical connection of fuel pump could lead to corrosion and engine stalling. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2001-02 Civic
Description: Air-cleaner box cover may be damaged resulting in a broken piece possibly lodging in throttle linkage. This could lead to erratic throttle behavior. Dealers will inspect air cleaner box for damage, locate and remove broken piece, and replace cleaner-box lid.
2001-02 Civic
Description: The headlight wire harness may overheat and cause the low beams to fail. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2001-03 Civic
Description: The driver’s airbag inflator could produce excessive internal pressure. If an affected airbag deploys, the increased internal pressure may cause the inflator to rupture. Metal fragments could pass through the air bag cushion material possibly causing injury to vehicle occupants.
2001-05 Civic
Description: Incorrect washer on some front seatbelt anchors could restrict anchor movement, making seatbelt improperly positioned for certain occupants.
2001-2001 Civic 2-door and 4-door
Description: This recall is related to a series of recalls on these vehicles in which Honda is replacing the inflators within the driver’s side air bag to address a defective condition. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the driver’s air bag, the inflator could produce excessive internal pressure that could cause the inflator to rupture with metal fragments striking and injuring the driver or other occupants.
2001-2003 Civic
Description: Passenger-side frontal airbag inflator may rupture upon deployment and potentially spray the passenger with metal fragments.
2002-2003 Civic
Description: Wear on the surface of the electrical terminal can increase electrical resistance, potentially disabling the low-beam headlights.
2003 2- and 4-door models
Description: The interlock lever of the ignition switch may unexpectedly deform, which can allow the interlock function of a vehicle with an automatic transmission to be defeated. Removal of the ignition key when the gear selector of a vehicle with an automatic transmission has not been shifted to the park position can allow the vehicle to roll away, increasing the risk of a crash.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

Share this: