Introduced in 1973, the Honda Civic has a long and storied past, with the first generation being a sporty four-door hatchback that predated Volkswagen’s famous Golf by a year. It has since gone on to become something of a shapeshifter among automobiles, having appeared as a four-door sedan, a sporty coupe, and a hot hatch, while the recent 11th-generation has a liftback profile. By 2020, Kelley Blue Book had rated it the Best Buy within its compact segment six years in a row.
With such a varied production history that included some vastly different models, there is much to consider when deciding upon the top Civic, but the 2012 model year offering was most likely the best so far in terms of reliability. Produced as a sedan or coupe for the North American market and a hatchback for the more compact-friendly Europeans, the former had a demure profile, while the latter looked fresh and sporty.
The previous eighth-generation Civic, which arrived in 2006, had been dogged by reliability issues after the odometer hit the 100,000-mile mark, as cracks, quite literally, began to appear in its engine block. After the global financial crisis hit, Honda must have realized that dependability was their customers’ biggest priority, and the ninth-generation 2011 Honda Civic was a vast improvement. It set the standard for subsequent generations of Civic, with a lifespan of around 250,000 miles that outclassed rivals such as Toyota’s pricier Corolla.