If you’re in the market to buy a Honda Civic, an important consideration for you will be whether it’s FWD or RWD. In this guide I will explain whether all Honda Civics are front wheel drive including the popular years 2006, 2008, 2012, 2017, 2018, and 2020.
Here’s the quick answer first though…
Are Honda Civics front wheel drive? Yes, all Honda Civics are front wheel drive (FWD), and not rear wheel drive (RWD). This means the engine powers only the front wheels pulling them ahead or pushing back while the rear wheels move along.
So, that’s a very simplistic overview to answer whether Honda Civics are FWD or RWD, but there’s a little more to it you might wonder about. For example, are there any Honda Civics that are RWD?
The answer, plus how one might convert a Civic from FWD to RWD are explained below. I’ve also written a few pointers for those wanting to better understand the difference between front wheel drive and rear wheel drive cars, plus the pros and cons.
Are Honda Civics FWD or RWD?
Honda Civics of all years and models are FWD, and not RWD. This includes the Honda Civic Si. Despite what you might think, the Si is front wheel drive too – none come in rear wheel drive.
To understand better what this means in terms of performance, power, and reliability regarding Honda Civics, let me start by explaining what FWD is.
Simply put, FWD in a Honda Civic means it is a car with its drive wheels in the front. This means that the transmission of power from the engine is only directed to the front wheels of the Civic.
The FWD wheels set the vehicle in motion. It’s a popular system due to advantages of performance and simplicity. FWD is often used in small compact cars like Honda Civics, family cars, and some sports cars.
The opposite is an RWD (rear wheel drive) car, where the engine and transmission are in the back of the vehicle together with the drive wheels. The engine powers the rear wheels in this drivetrain, which pushes the front wheels forward.
Technically, this system is more complicated than the front wheel and is common in muscle cars like SUVs and trucks. Does it mean every small car is FWD? No, which calls to our next answer.
Yes, all Honda Civics are front wheel cars. Honda is phenomenal for making comfortable and powerful FWD cars. However, it has made some RWD and AWD (all-wheel drive), both roadmasters.
So, to confirm, this means that:
- The 2006 Honda Civic is front wheel drive.
- The 2008 Honda Civic is front wheel drive.
- The 2010 Honda Civic is front wheel drive.
- The 2017 Honda Civic is front wheel drive.
- The 2018 Honda Civic is front wheel drive.
- The 2020 Honda Civic is front wheel drive.
There are no exceptions in Civics.
However, there is an exception in the wider family of Honda’s similar sized cars. In 2018, the Honda S660 was released with RWD (rear wheel drive). Since then, the manufacturer has not made any RWD cars again.
However, you do have an option for all-wheel drive (AWD) in Honda Civics.
Front wheel drive is a popular choice for many drivers because it offers a variety of benefits. One the main ones is fuel efficiency. Since its engine is powering only the front wheels, it doesn’t have to work as hard to move the car, which results in better gas mileage.
Here’s a great explainer from the NewRoads.ca website.
“With FWD, the front wheels are pulling the car and the rear wheels don’t receive any power on their own. The pros of a FWD vehicle are that they typically gets better fuel economy and emits less carbon dioxide. Since the weight of the engine is located over the driving wheels, a FWD vehicle can maintain better traction in the snow. However, performance enthusiasts have claimed FWD vehicles are less fun to drive.”
In addition to that, front wheel drive offers better traction on the road than rear wheel drive in Honda Civics. The system is especially helpful in wet or snowy conditions, as it helps keep you more stable and in control of your car even if the weather is challenging.
Handy Hint: I wrote some thoughts about how well a Honda Civic can handle in snow, which will help you possibly decide whether to buy this car or not.
Then the front wheel drive system is not very complicated compared to other drivetrains, thus making the car more affordable to make and maintain. That’s why Civics emerged as one of the most popular cars sold in the United States, ranking number 7 for nationwide sales in 2021.
While front wheel drive is advantageous for Civics, it has some downsides that can’t be ignored. And one of the main disadvantages is that such it means a Honda Civic can be a little harder to control under heavy acceleration.
This happens when there’s unequal power distributed to the front wheels when speeding up, making the car lean on one side. This condition is called torque steer.
Another problem is that a front wheel drive Civic makes smaller turning radiuses than a rear wheel drive. It’s mainly caused by the drivetrain equipment stuffed in the bonnet. They reduce the turning space of the front wheels.
Lastly, due to the engine’s extra weight and drivetrain system mounted on the front wheels, they tend to wear out faster than the rear wheels in FWD Honda Civics.
It is possible to convert a Honda Civic to RWD to boost the engine’s power. To convert a Honda Civic to rear wheel drive, the entire drivetrain system is shifted from the front wheel drive to the rear wheel drive.
However, the entire process needs a lot skill, excellent mechanics, lots of time, and could cost you about $25,000. This conversion can also result in wheel-spinning if the fabrication of the driveshaft is not done perfectly.
Here’s a video of how it could be done.
Here are a few more interesting questions you want to check out about the Honda Civic and how the front wheel drive can effect performance and handling.
As the Honda Civic has its engine placed between the front wheels, it can help give better traction on dry terrains or slippery snow conditions. And with a ground clearance of 6.7 inches, you can even drive in layers of snow without feeling out of control.
The Honda Civic has a front wheel drivetrain. This means that the engine’s power goes to the car’s front wheels. It is ideal for both city drivers, those living in hilly places, and in challenging weather conditions as it helps maintain traction and stability when accelerating or braking.
There are other types of drivetrains, such as rear wheel drive and all-wheel drive. So It’s important to know what kind of drivetrain your car has to understand better how it works and if it suits your needs.
These statistics are from thousands of reviews of Civic owners. With these high ratings, I can say that Honda Civic is a reliable car and one of the best among its competitors. This compact car is good because it’s economical fuel-wise, comfortable for city driving, and easy to engage.
Handy Hint: Some older generation Civics come with a D3 gear, here’s what it means and how it works.
How do you know if your car is front wheel drive?
There are a couple of ways to tell if your car is front wheel drive. The first and the simplest one is to check your car manual. You will get this information under “car specifications.” Another easy method is to research on the internet.
Alternatively, you can visit Honda’s official website and provide your Civic’s model, and the manufacturing year. Then you will get information about your car’s drivetrain. Also, read guides like this on my site where I talk about anything related to cars.
The third method is to check the engine. By looking at your car’s engine placement, you can tell if the vehicle is FWD or not.
It’s simple: If your car’s engine drive belts face the car’s sides, also known as the transverse design, the power is transmitted to the front wheels and, therefore, it’s front wheel drive.
But suppose the drive belts are not facing the sides of the car. It means the engine does not power the front wheels.
Other ways include examining the axial shaft of your car or its differential. If a vehicle is FWD, its axial shaft will be between the front wheels. To find and examine it, you’ll have to crawl down underneath your vehicle.
I understand this can be a bit tedious, so I listed them as the last and least options.
To conclude, all Honda Civics are front wheel drive (FWD), unless you go to the trouble and expense of converting yours to RWD.