The amazing story of the Honda Civic

By Marc Bouchard | Sunday 6 March 2022 | BlogNews

To continue this series of articles revisiting the history of the most popular models on the market, I had a hard time deciding… Which model could be worthy of following the dominant Ford F-150? My answer: the most popular passenger car on the market! You might have guessed it, or rather, you might already know it after reading the title, but today, we are talking about the Honda Civic!

From a motorcycle company…

The Honda adventure began in the 1930s, shortly before the Second World War, in Japan of course. A young Soichiro Honda founded the Tokai Seiki Heavy Industry in his native prefecture, a piston ring company. Soon, the company was bought by Toyota and Honda turned to the marketing of motorcycles. In twenty years, he had a string of successes and his company even won the Mexican Grand Prix in 1965.

In 1972, only a few years after Honda was established in Canada, the first Civic made its debut on our market. The car was not very impressive by today’s standards, with only 50 horsepower and 59 lb-ft of torque. Despite this, sales grew exponentially. By the end of the 70’s, tens of thousands of models were purchased by Canadians each year.

…to a popular car!

The Civic of that era didn’t have the sporty look for which it is known today. It was in the mid-1980s that the model began to change its look while retaining its affordability. Over the generations, the Civic has become thinner and more modern in its appearance, yes, but especially in its engineering. The fifth generation, which made its debut in 1992, could develop up to 160 horsepower with its 4-cylinder engine.

The sixth generation, starting in 1996, marked a new turning point for the Civic, introducing the much sportier and more powerful SiR version. At a time when air conditioning and CD players were still revolutionary, the Civic offered them at an exceptional price. This is probably what contributed to the resurgence in popularity that continued until 2008, a record year in which nearly 75,000 units were delivered.

Already 25 years on the podium

Although 2008 was never matched, year after year the Civic continues to perform well in Canada. The Civic has been the number one selling passenger car in the country for 24 years, selling 43,556 units in 2021. That’s over 2.25 million vehicles sold in Canada in 50 years averaging about 45,000 per year.


If you do the math quickly, there’s about a one in twenty chance you’ve owned one in your lifetime, partly because of its exceptional longevity. Whether you still have one right now or just want to advise friends, it helps to know which tires are right for it! Personally, I recommend a balanced tire like the Firestone FT140 or the Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus. Both are inexpensive and very durable choices!

About the Author

Marc Bouchard is passionate about cars... and many other things. He started out as a general journalist and has been working on cars for the past twenty years. We see him on TV, hear him on the radio and read about him everywhere. Often called upon as an expert analyst.

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