- Hot Si version
- Front-seat comfort
- Five-star crash safety
- Spacey styling works on two-door
- Rear-seat room and access
- Busy ride on all versions
The 2008 Honda Civic Coupe brings back Honda's sporty reputation, with the Si version a particularly fun and engaging ride.
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.