Honda Civic sedans and hatchbacks, which recently underwent a full redesign, have long been some of the best-selling affordable compact cars on the market. While the Honda Civic is a great new-car option, it’s also a budget-friendly choice for a used car, according to our used vehicle ranking system. U.S. News & World Report’s used vehicle rankings consider dependability data from J.D. Power and Associates, safety test ratings, and expert test drivers’ opinions to determine the best used cars available.
Our rankings sort late-model used cars into different price brackets based on average used car prices. Generally, used Civics from the 2009 to 2011 model years are in the small cars under $10,000 and $10,000-$12,000 price brackets, while 2012 to 2014 models fall into the $12,000-$14,000 and $14,000 and up price categories. There are no set rules when dealing with used car prices, as they vary for certain cars and regions.
There are a couple of interesting observations to be made about the used Honda Civic market. First, note that during each of the years we’ll be looking at, a hybrid version of the Civic was available. These tend to be lower-ranked and less expensive than the regular Civic. Interestingly, for some model years, the subcompact Honda Fit – designed to fit a lower price point than the Civic – actually ranked higher. We won’t talk anyone out of buying a used or certified pre-owned Civic, but the Fit may be a good alternative for some buyers.
Used car prices for Civics from 2009 to 2011, whether sold by a private party or as a certified pre-owned model on a dealer lot, are competitive with other compact cars of this era. It should be easy to find a 2009 Civic or Civic Hybrid for less than $10,000. For a couple thousand bucks more, buyers can purchase a 2010 or 2011 Civic or Civic Hybrid.
Of these models, the 2011 Civic scores best in our used car rankings and the 2010 hybrid fares worst. Granted, there are only a few points between these highest and lowest scores, but the discrepancies are worth examining – especially since these cars all fall within the same generation. The 2010 Civic Hybrid scores well in safety, but offers average reliability according to J.D. Power. In comparison, the 2011 Civic offers excellent reliability but suffers a drop in safety, even compared to other vehicles in the class.
Crash-test procedures were changed in 2011, which may account for the discrepancies in results for what is essentially the same vehicle. And closer examination of the J.D. Power results shows that the gas powertrain earns more favorable reviews than its hybrid counterpart. Critics praise the gas-powered Civic for its performance, but call the hybrid sluggish and underwhelming, despite its excellent fuel economy. Models that fall outside of our best- and worst-performing Civics are generally safe buys.
Despite minor fluctuations in quality, used Honda Civics fare well in our used vehicle rankings.
In addition to the Honda Fit, other top competitors from the 2009 to 2011 model years include the Mazda3 and various compact Scions and Toyotas. The Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid are strong alternatives to the Civic Hybrid.
Honda rolled out a new generation of Civics for the 2012 model year, which also marks the point that used Honda Civics were bumped up a price bracket in our used vehicle rankings. Used car prices for the 2012 Civic and Civic Hybrid tend to be about $12,000-$14,000, while 2013 and 2014 Civics and Civic Hybrids are slotted into the $14,000 and up category. The 2014 model year is the most recent year on our list.
Of the models in these price groups, the 2012 Civic has the best score, and the 2014 Civic Hybrid has the worst score. The ratings of both versions decline over this two-year period. The 2012 to 2014 Civics all fare very well in terms of reliability, but critics’ ratings declined over the years. Civic Hybrids also scored very well in reliability, but critics simply did not enjoy driving them.
Both versions of the Civic showed a drop-off in safety scores between 2012 and 2013, which affects their average scores. However, this alone should not concern buyers, as safety scores are still very strong across the board. Though the Honda Civic Hybrid’s excellent fuel economy was not enough to offset criticism of the car’s sluggish acceleration, average consumers may find the compromise worthwhile.
While a Honda Civic from 2012 to 2014 is generally a good option for a used or pre-owned vehicle, it’s worth considering the competition as well. Gas-powered 2012 to 2014 Civics faced the same strong competition as the earlier models (namely, the Honda Fit and the Scion xD), in addition to the Mazda3 and the Chevrolet Cruze.
While the Civic Hybrid from these years hovers near the bottom of the U.S. News rankings for used hybrid cars, it’s worth mentioning that the Honda Accord Hybrid topped the rankings when it was introduced in 2014. Other notable competitors include the Toyota Prius lineup (which also fares well against regular compacts), the Toyota Camry and Avalon Hybrids, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevrolet Volt.