Manufactured by Honda between 2005 and 2012, the 8th-generation Civic is considered by many as the last great Civic of the ‘old order’. Robust, stylish, practical, and even loveable for those same traits – the FD will remain in many a motorist’s heart.
Following its global debut in the mid-2000s, it went on to sell in record numbers and took the brand to new heights, cementing Honda as the brand to beat in the still-competitive C-segment.
Most people (including ourselves) consider the 9th-gen FB as its evolutionary successor instead of an outright replacement, nor can most people even really tell (or care to) at first glance which one they’re looking at. It’s almost as if Honda was buying more time for the development of the ambitious 10th-generation Civic (FC).
Fast forward to 2022, its workhorse qualities and well-aged design is evidenced each day by how many are still being driven on our roads today.
Sleek styling with a tinge of the futuristic but underpinned by agile dynamics and, of course, a range of rev-hungry naturally aspirated VTEC four-cylinder petrol engines. There was even a Prius-rivalling hybrid.
Four body styles were introduced throughout its production run on the international stage, that being both three-door and five-door hatchbacks, a four-door sedan (which was how it was sold to Malaysians exclusively) and a two-door coupe. Arguably it’s the latter that’s the most interesting form factor, but those all combined to cement its status a the consummate all-rounder.
What Is The Civic FD/FB?
The 8th-generation version of Honda’s popular Civic, which first appeared in the mid-1970s as an even more petite 3-door hatchback has over the decades grew in size as well as repute in many different circles.
Some remember it for their unwavering reliability, surprising practicality (boot space: 450-litres), well-priced accessibility, and driving ease. For many, it was the gateway drug to Hondas. Like previous Civics, the FD’s eager engine had a hyperactivity complex past 5,000rpm that made for uncommon thrills, and aftermarket and enthusiast scene was eager to push its mechanical boundaries.
The car’s performance pedigree peaked with the sedan-based FD2 Type R. Unlike the hatch-based FN2, the FD2 was originally intended to be exclusive to the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM), a label that made it much more desirable, though other markets such as Malaysia were particularly grateful to have it be offered locally in an official capacity.
The FD, overall, is the legacy of that golden age with many of the same key ingredients left very much intact. At the same time, Honda was keeping up with its primary class rivals in spectacular fashion, managing to enjoy strong sales worldwide of which contributed to the many investments made in product line, and continues today.
Why Were They So Loved?
Compared to its Japanese compatriots of the era, the Mazda 3 (first of the SkyActive era) and Toyota Corolla, the Civic was clearly a little ahead of the game. The aeronautics-inspired exterior not only matched the tiered and graphics-heavy ‘dashboard and instrument cluster with digital readouts, but was legitimately informed by wind tunnel testing to reduce its drag coefficient, improving fuel economy, increasing sales.
Behind the wheel, the Civic pleased drivers who were after a good steer. This is in no small part due to the Civic’s suspension. Honda used MacPherson struts for the front and independent double wishbone at the rear, which was unprecedented at that time in its segment where a less sophisticated torsion beam is the norm (also used by Honda for European-market Civics at the time).
As a result, the non-EU Civics were endowed with sparkling driving dynamics that belied its usually composed road demeanour and cushy ride.
The engine range is perhaps where the biggest differences lie between the FD/FB and the 10th-gen FC that would replace it. Besides the aforementioned hybrid, the standard offering was spread between a couple of naturally aspirated i-VTEC four-cylinder petrols.
140PS @ 6,300rpm
174Nm @ 4,300rpm
155PS @ 6,500rpm
188Nm @ 4,500rpm
Type R (FD2)
225PS @ 8,000rpm
215Nm @ 6,100rpm
Of course, a lot of these same characteristics were echoed in the FB – a so-called all-new Civic according to Honda. It did streamline a lot of features and smoothen out any rough edges the FD had, but in large, it was the 8th-gen Civic done over again.
This is no bad thing and there’s definitely an argument to be made for the merits of a more evolutionary approach of vehicle design and development. And if you’re not a fan of Honda’s going all-in with CVT gearboxes, the FB 9th-gen Civics are at the apex of that tipping point.
On The Used Market
While FD Civics have got a few more years on them and therefore might be out of reach for anyone looking for to have the car financed, late model FB units that were sold in few the years just prior to the 2016 launch of the 10th-gen Civic FC are still plentiful and fair game for hire purchase seekers.
Prospective buyers can be a little more confident that these cars have been proven to be pretty hardy with lifecycle improvements meaning that any faults or manufacturing quirks have been ironed out by that point in its lifecycle.
Uncommon among other used cars is a tendency to find that these cars, FB and FD alike, tend to have found homes/owners that refrained from abusing them, meaning you’re more likely to find them in good condition relative to their age.
And even if you find a coveted FD2 Type R, used buyers report that the cars still feel tight and as mechanically sound despite them previously (and inevitably) being used as VTEC thrill rides. They almost thrive on high-revving abuse.
Here’s a few examples we found on Carlist.my:
A white 2.0-litre FB with less than 100k on the odometer for the price of a new Myvi AV. Not bad?
Or a newer black one for about the same price and mileage, but it has the smaller 1.8-litre engine.
How about this? A very tempting FD2R in championship white and an 8,000rpm redline.