Used Honda Civic Hatchback 1995 - 2002 review

Category: Family car

It's incredibly well made and durable, but misses the twinkle of some rivals. Getting old now, too

      Used Honda Civic Hatchback 1995 - 2002 review
      Star rating

      What's the used Honda Civic hatchback like?

      If someone were to finally invent a perpetual motion machine, it would probably look a lot like the Honda Civic. These cars have a hard-earned and well deserved reputation for reliability and toughness.

      These three- and five-door hatchback are the most widely available model from this generation of Civic in the UK (there's also a coupe and an estate, but they're rare). The interiors are spacious and very well put together, though some of the plastics and trim finishes look plain compared to some rivals'.


      It's incredibly well made and durable, but misses the twinkle of some rivals. Getting old now, too

      • The Civic enjoys the sort of reliability that most car manufacturers can only dream about
      • It's not the most inspiring car to drive
      • Faults are rare but pricey to fix when they occur

      The boot is a good size and all Civics came with decent levels of equipment - even the most basic models had air-con from early 1999.

      The 1.4-, 1.5- and 1.6-litre petrol engines all do sterling service, but it's the more potent 1.6- and 1.8 VTi models that will set your pulse racing. They may not look like hot hatches, but they have more power and performance, along with even better handling, than the standard models.

      Ownership cost

      What used Honda Civic hatchback will I get for my budget?

      How much does it cost to run a Honda Civic hatchback?

      Despite its reliability, running a Civic is not cheap if you want to keep it in the best health. Service intervals crop up every 9000 miles and the engine's complexity means you'll need a Honda dealer or a trusted specialist to keep the engine in tune.

      A new cambelt is required every 72,000 miles or six years and, if you don't bother, the engine could go bang in a very expensive way.

      Fuel economy is good on most of the engines, but if you often use their full power, the high revs you have to use will soon see the fuel consumption take a dive. This is even more prevalent in the VTi performance models that thrive on sky-high revs.

      Insurance for most Civics is very reasonable and even the hot VTi models are not too high, with up to group 15 ratings to match their subtle looks.

      Our recommendations

      Which used Honda Civic hatchback should I buy?

      The best bet for daily driving is the five-door Civic with the 123bhp 1.6-litre engine, built from late 1999. It's the most flexible of the petrol engines and will easily return fuel economy in the mid-30mpg bracket. It's also one of the more refined engines in the Civic.

      The 1.4-litre engine has its work cut out shifting a car of this size and it's noisy, too. The same can be said of the short-lived 1.5-litre petrol engine, while the rare 2.0-litre turbodiesel models are also noisier than most contemporary rivals.

      The VTi models in 158bhp 1.6-litre form or storming 167bhp 1.8 are real hot hatch sleepers, but don't expect much low-down pull, because they both use Honda's VTEC variable valve timing to produce their peak power high in the rev range.

      That means you have to work these units even harder than the standard engines and there's a consequent increase in noise. And, like all Civics, they already suffer from considerable road noise.


      What alternatives should I consider to a used Honda Civic hatchback?