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The car experts at TheCarConnection.com studied a wide range of road tests of the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe to compile this conclusive review. TheCarConnection.com's resident enthusiasts also drove the new Civic Coupe to help you decide which reviews to trust where opinions differ, to add more impressions and details, and to provide you with the best information.
When Honda engineers set out to redesign the Civic lineup for 2006, it was the two-door model that captured a good deal of their attention. Its reputation had gone stale, and it needed more power. The resulting car has brought back Honda's reputation for fun, fast two-doors, and this year, the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe keeps the good times coming with a choice of engines and a new EX-L version.
The base 2008 Honda Civic Coupe starts with a 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Either a five-speed manual or automatic can be teamed to the frugal four. It's a fine powertrain for entry-level buyers, with good power and relatively quiet operation. Handling is good, and the steering is quick and crisp, as is braking response. The ride is a little busy on the Coupe, because it's set firmer and the stabilizer bars are slightly thicker.
Moving up the horsepower charts is the Civic Si Coupe, with a 197-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. A limited-slip differential is standard. The Si models feature tweaked suspensions with 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, and Si badges, along with synthetic suede seats. It gets 21/29 mpg, and the powertrain changes the entire character of the car, turning it into an entertaining performance car with a high redline, sweet shift quality, and a talent for handling tight curves.
The 2008 Honda Civic Coupe's styling carries over. The futuristic shape works much better as a two-door than it does on the four-door sedan, and so does the unusual double-decker instrument panel. The tiered instruments look like a video game display, but in this two-door, the treatment seems appropriate. The cabin is efficient, and there's good front leg- and headroom. The body style makes it difficult to clamber into the backseat, though, and limited head- and legroom will leave those passengers wanting more space.
The DX model gets standard power windows and 15-inch wheels. Upgrade to the LX and Honda adds air conditioning, cruise control, power locks, a CD audio system with an auxiliary jack, and a folding rear seat. The EX has distinct alloy wheels, a sunroof, and an available navigation system with XM Satellite Radio, while a new EX-L edition tacks on a leather interior with heated seats and mirrors. Both the EX and EX-L sport a seven-speaker CD audio system with MP3 capability. Options include a navigation system.
Every Civic gets dual airbags, side and side curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe a "good" rating, and it earns five-star crash ratings, save for a four-star rating on passenger side impacts from the federal government's NHTSA.