The 2008 Honda Civic Coupe once again rides high on its reputation as a reliable vehicle that maintains its edge as sporty and fun to drive.
From the base model's 140-hp, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine to the 197-hp, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine found in the Civic Si Coupe, the 2008 Civic offers fuel-saving engines and sporting choices.
Car and Driver cites the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe’s smaller four-cylinder engine as a bit slow: “You need to wind the engine up to find the power." This is in line with Kelley Blue Book, who says that although the "refined" 140-hp powerplant "never overwhelms you with power…even when you run the tachometer up to its redline you don't feel like you're bullying the car." Motor Trend says this Civic “failed to impress us as energetic.” The Si version, however, is the key to enthusiasts’ hearts. Its 197-hp engine has an energetic feel, and it motivates the Civic Coupe with authority. “When you slam on the gas the tachometer flies to an 8,000-rpm redline — that's high — and it doesn't feel like it will stop there,” Cars.com says of the engine. Edmunds calls it “delightfully fizzy.”
A pair of five-speed transmissions is offered on the Civic Coupe, while only a six-speed manual comes with the Si. Cars.com feels the "five-speed automatic mitigates the performance penalty normally associated with combining a small four-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission." They add, "Performance fans who can't work a manual gearbox are shut out of the Si." Car and Driver likes the “slick-shifting five-speed manual” in base cars, but Motor Trend notes, “Further, the Civic lacks a true manual mode -- just Drive, D3, 2, and 1 -- making it impossible to lock in fourth gear and difficult to easily exploit the power.”
Fuel economy performance of the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe is just as strong, according to J.D. Power, which rates the Civic Coupe with a fuel economy range of “21 mpg city to 36 mpg highway.” According to Automobile, “The real bonus is at the pumps, where the Civic Coupe's estimated fuel economy rates at 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, making it easy on the pocketbook.” The latter numbers apply to a Civic with the smaller four-cylinder and a manual transmission; with an automatic, the Civic gets 25/36 mpg, and the Si, 21/29 mpg.
In terms of handling, the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe's performance is, according to Cars.com, "nimble, with tight steering that also adds to the fun-to-drive factor." Car and Driver refers to its “somewhat sporty driving experience” in base versions. Edmunds praises how in the 2008 Civic, the "suspension, steering and brakes all work together seamlessly" and calls "even the mainstream models…somewhat sporty to drive." It goes on to note that the 2008 Honda Civic Si provides "nimble handling"; the Si, it says, "is one of the few cars available in any price range that makes you want to drive it just for the sake of driving." Cars.com wraps up its review of the 2008 Honda Civic Coupe by declaring, "The Civic still rules -- in statistical categories as well as in the real world of commuting and soaring gas prices."