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Honda Civic celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Maxine Ashford | September 5, 2022


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This year marks quite a milestone in the history of the Honda Civic. It is celebrating its 50th year in production and we take a look back at the car over the decades.

Honda Civic celebrates its 50th anniversary

This year marks quite a milestone in the history of the Honda Civic. It is celebrating its 50th year in production and we take a look back at the car over the decades.

There have been 11 generations since the first car was launched back in 1972 and if there were ever any doubt about its popularity, the Civic has sold more than 27.5 million cars globally in 170 countries.

Over the decades, the engineers and designers at Honda have managed to keep the Civic fresh-looking and it has made its own progressive evolution through the years. But it still maintains its original DNA of being a spacious, fun-to-drive and economical compact car.

The latest model, launched this year, sees the biggest leap in the car’s history with the brand’s commitment to electrifying all its mainstream models. It marks the arrival of the Civic e:HEV full hybrid powertrain as standard across the line-up.

We are looking back through the ages of the Civic and also take a trip down memory lane with what was making the headlines, riding high in the charts and even what the cost of living was like as each new model was launched.

1st Generation (1972- 1979)

Honda Civic 1st Generation (1975) Carnaby Yellow

Registration number: MLA 993P

Powered by a 1,169cc, 50PS, 78.4Nm engine with four-speed Synchromesh transmission. There is no top speed listed for this model.

Main news stories of 1972 included: Death of the Duke of Windsor, anti-British riots in Ireland and Staines aircraft disaster. Arab terrorists murdered athletes at Olympic Games and the Watergate Scandal was unravelling

Songs of 1972 included: Don McLean’s American Pie, Lean on Me by Bill Withers, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack and My Ding-A-Ling by Chuck Berry.

Cost of living in 1972: A pint of milk was just 5p, a loaf 10p and petrol was 35p for a gallon (that’s right, a gallon).

2nd Generation (1979-1983)

Honda Civic S (1982) Sophia Red

Registration number: XRU 50Y  

Powered by a 1,335cc, 70PS, 100Nm engine mated to a five-speed Synchromesh transmission. This car had a top speed of 100mph.

Main news stories of 1979 included: The collapse of Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, Lord Mountbatten’s assassination and the eradication of the smallpox virus.

Songs of 1979 included: My Sharona by The Knack, YMCA by the Village People, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor and Tragedy by the Bee Gees.

Cost of living in 1979: A pint of milk cost 15p, a loaf was 25.5p and petrol was priced at 22.6p per litre.

3rd Generation (1983-1988)

Honda Civic DX (1987) Polar White

Registration number: DB65 APB

Powered by a 1,342cc, 71PS, 105Nm engine with a three-speed Hondamatic transmission, to deliver a maximum speed of 96mph.

Main news stories of 1983 included: Space Shuttle Challenger lands safely, UK hit with red rain caused by winds in the Sahara, Law passed making it compulsory for the driver and front seat passenger to wear seatbelts in cars, the one pound coin replaces the one pound note and approximately £26 million worth of gold bars are stolen from the Brink’s-Mat vault at Heathrow Airport.

Songs of 1983 included: Every Breath You Take by The Police, Billy Jean by Michael Jackson, Maneater by Hall & Oates and Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners.

Cost of living in 1983: A pint of milk was 21p, a loaf cost 38p, while petrol was 36.7p per litre.

4th Generation (1988-1991)

Honda Civic 1.4 GL (1991) Pewter Grey

Registration number: H958 GRK

Powered by a 1,396cc, 90PS, 112Nm engine with a five-speed manual transmission. It could reach up to 109mph.

Main news stories of 1988 included: Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest-serving British prime Minister, first test tube quintuplets are born in the US, the first BBC Red Nose Day raises £15m, Eddie Hill becomes the world’s first driver to cover the quarter mile in under five seconds, Pan Am flight 103 is downed over the Scottish town of Lockerbie killing 270 people.

Songs of 1988 included: Faith by George Michael, Is This Love by Whitesnake, Candle In The Wind by Elton John and Need You Tonight by INXS.

Cost of living in 1983: A pint of milk cost 26p, a loaf 46p and petrol 34.7p per litre.

5th Generation (1991- 1995)

Honda Civic 1.6 LS (1995) Woodland Green

Registration number: M224 VDO

Powered by a 1,590cc, 133PS, 140Nm engine matched to a five-speed manual gearbox to deliver a top speed of 119mph.

Main news stories of 1991 included: The first website goes online, Kia begins importing cars to the UK, Hostage John McCarthy is freed, Big Issue is launched and the first Sumo contest is held outside of Japan at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Songs of 1991 included: Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan and Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me by Elton John & George Michael.

Cost of living in 1991: A pint of milk was 32p, a loaf 53p and petrol cost 39.5 per litre.

6th Generation (1996-2000)

Honda Civic VTI-S Jordan 049/500 (1999) Phoenix Yellow

Registration number: T867 EHY

The model featured here was a UK-only version to celebrate Honda’s relationship with the Jordan Formula One Team. It was only built in 1999 and just 500 models were produced.

It was powered by a 1,595cc, 160PS, 153Nm engine with a five-speed manual gearbox and had a maximum speed of 134mph.

Main news stories of 1996 included: The 26th Olympic Games opens in Atlanta, Kofi Annan was appointed head of the UN, Prince Charles and Diana divorce, Mad Cow Disease hits Britain.

Songs of 1996 included: Macarena by Los del Rio, Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion, One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, plus Wonderwall by Oasis.

Cost of living in 1996: A pint of milk was 35.9p, a loaf 55p, while petrol cost 52.9p per litre.

7th Generation (2000-2005)

Honda Civic 1.4 Sport (1999) Vivid Blue

Registration number: X20 KDR

Powered by a 1,396cc, 90PS, 130Nm engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. It could achieve a top speed of 110mph.

Main news stories of 2000 included: The Millennium Dome is officially opened by HM The Queen, the Millennium bug didn’t strike and the World didn’t end, Kylie Minogue made a comeback, Big Brother was launched as was The Weakest Link.

Songs of 2000 included: Smooth by Santana featuring Rob Thomas, Breathe by Faith Hill, There You Go by Pink and Say My Name by Destiny’s Child.

Cost of living in 2000: A pint of milk was 34.2p, a loaf of bread 70p and petrol cost 76.9 per litre.

8th Generation (2005- 2011)

Honda Civic 1.8 EX Navi (2006) Cosmic Grey

Registration number: LT56 UFL

Powered by a 1,799cc, 140PS, 174Nm engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. It topped out at 127mph.

Main news stories of 2005 included: Hurricane Katrina hits Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastal areas, MG Rover goes into receivership, Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles, London wins the right to stage the 2012 Olympics.

Songs of 2005 included: Mr. Brightside by The Killers, Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day and Don’t Cha by the Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes.

Cost of living in 2005: A pint of milk cost 34.9p, a loaf was 75p and petrol cost 79.9 per litre.

9th Generation (2011-2016)

Honda Civic 1.8 SE Navi (2016) Milano Red

Registration number: Reg HV16 MTJ

Powered by a 1.8-litre, 142PS, 174Nm engine with six-speed manual transmission. It has a maximum speed of 127mph.

Main news stories of 2011 included: Game of Thrones premieres, Osama Bin Laden is killed, Fidel Castro resigns and hundreds of thousands marched in London protesting about government budget cuts.

Songs of 2011 included: Rolling In The Deep by Adele, Firework by Katy Perry, Grenade by Bruno Mars and Raise Your Glass by Pink.

Cost of living in 2011: A pint of milk was 45.3p, a loaf cost £1.22, while petrol was £1.29 per litre.

10th Generation (2016-2022)

Honda Civic 1.0 EX Sportline (2016) Lunar Silver

Registration number: RE70 KYV

Driven by a 998cc, 126PS, 200Nm engine matched to a six-speed manual gearbox. It has a top speed of 127mph.

Main news stories of 2016 included: The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday, Andy Murray wins Wimbledon, Britain votes to leave the EU and Donald trump elected as president of the US.

Songs of 2016 included: One Dance by Drake featuring Wizkid & Kyla, 7 Years by Lukas Graham, Hymn For The Weekend by Coldplay and Love Yourself by Justin Bieber.

Cost of living in 2016: A pint of milk was 42.7, a loaf cost 99p, while petrol was £1.04 per litre.

11th Generation (2022–)

Honda Civic e:HEV 2.0 i-MMD Sport (2022) Platinum Pearl white

Registration number: RA22 BHJ

Powered by a 1,993cc, 184PS, 315Nm Hybrid engine with e-CVT transmission. This latest car tops out at 112mph.

Main news stories of 2022 include: Putin-led Russia invades the Ukraine, Boris Johnson resigns, the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial and the cost of living crisis.

Songs of 2022 included: Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran, Seventeen Going Under by Sam Fender, Running Up That hill by Kate Bush and As It Was by Harry Styles.

Cost of living in 2022: A pint of milk topped £1 in smaller shops while a loaf costs £1.15. Petrol prices have risen to £1.91 per litre or £2.00-plus for diesel. 

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