It was introduced in July 1972 as a two-door coupe, followed by a three-door hatchback that September. With the transverse engine mounting of its 1169cc engine and front-wheel drive like the British Mini, the car provided good interior space despite overall small dimensions. Early models of the Civic were typically outfitted with a basic AM radio, a rudimentary heater, foam-cushioned plastic trim, two-speed wipers and painted steel rims with a chromed wheel nut cap. The current Civic has become much more luxurious with air conditioning, power locks, and power windows, plus options like leather upholstery, satellite-linked navigation, and a six-speed manual transmission. Initially gaining a reputation for being fuel-efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly, later iterations have become well-known for performance and sportiness, especially the Civic Type-R and Civic Si.
The Civic has been rebadged for international markets with such models as the Honda Ballade and Honda Domani/Acura EL. The Civic platform also served as the basis for the CR-X sport compact, the CR-X del Sol targa convertible, and the CR-V compact SUV.
As of 2008, the Civic has been the top-selling car in Canada for ten straight years. With high gas prices and a weak economy in June 2008, the Civic supplanted the Ford F-150 to become the top-selling vehicle in the United States.
Main article: First-generation Honda Civic
The first generation Honda Civic was introduced in 1973. Equipped with a 1,169ml (71.3cuin) four-cylinder engine, the first generation Civic was designed to compete with American compact vehicles and offered features such as front power disc brakes and reclining vinyl bucket seats and AM radio. The Civic was available as coupe, both three and five door hatchback as well as a five door station wagon body style. Due to the 1973 oil crisis demand for fuel efficient vehicles was high and the Civic's build quality matched its fuel economy allowing it to succeed in the market.