Just because the Honda Civic is the best-selling compact in the U.S.—above the Toyota Corolla and others—doesn’t mean Honda has always had a Midas touch with the model. Plenty of Civic variants have come and gone over the nameplate’s four decades in production. So after you check out the state of new Civics—you can check out our first drive of the freshly updated and new-for-2019 Honda Civic review here—scroll on see how many of these long-gone Civic variants you can recall.
Honda didn’t just offer a Civic wagon during the 1980s, it offered an all-wheel-drive wagon. Today, that role is filled by the HR-V, but years ago, the wagon was sold alongside a sedan and hatch. And if this sounds intriguing, know that an entire community of enthusiasts shares that feeling. The Instagram feed of @officialcivicwagon alone features a healthy dose of slammed models as well as more rugged—but still adorable—off-road-ready versions.
The Civic of the Sun
Although it wasn’t quite a convertible, the boldly styled Civic Del Sol arrived in the ’90s for those who wanted a less stodgy compact car than the sedan body style most opted for. The Del Sol, which was called the Civic Del Sol in the U.S. before Honda dropped “Civic” from its name, had a removable top, an Si version, and more interesting styling than you might expect from a small car.
The Mugen Si
Imagine, a Civic with a $30,000-plus price tag! Well, the sublime Civic Type R—a 2018 Automobile All-Star—isn’t the first high-performance and high-dollar model from Honda. For the 2008 model year, Honda offered the 1,000-unit Mugen Si in the U.S. Power remained at 197 horsepower from a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four mated to a six-speed manual, but compared to a stock Civic Si, the car was lowered 0.6 inch, rolled on forged 18-inch wheels with stickier tires, used an upgraded exhaust system, and, like today’s Civic Type R, it wore an obnoxious rear wing. Put it all together, and you get impressive results.
The Natural-Gas Ones
More than once, Honda has also offered a natural-gas-version Civic. Reading a 10-year-old press release on the Civic GX, it’s striking how many parallels there are to today’s affordable electric cars. Honda touts the Civic GX’s average driving range of more than 220 miles and mentions a $4,000 federal tax credit. At one time, natural-gas Civics were also eligible for single-occupancy carpool-lane access in California, but buyers in all 50 states would have to stomach a much higher price than for normal compact sedans. Honda first offered a natural-gas Civic in 1998.
True, the 2019 Honda Civic is available as a coupe, sedan, and four-door hatchback, but the Civic badge used to be affixed to small two-door hatchbacks, too. Across multiple generations and in normal and Si forms, the two-door Civic hatch first arrived in the 1970s and remained in the lineup until the eighth-generation Civic dropped the body style.