Should You Take the Honda Civic Off-Road?

The Honda Civic will do you right as a daily driver but it’s worth looking elsewhere for an off-road vehicle. Read more here.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Honda Civic
is one of the most popular sedans of all time, and for good reason. This car is known for its reliability and practicality, but if you’re looking for an off-roading champion, you’ll need to move along.
Does the idea of tearing through the woods to your favorite mudhole fill you with excitement? Does your job require you to power through gravel and rocks to reach the worksite? If off-roading is a major part of your life, you’re going to need a vehicle that can keep up. What are the markers to look for to determine great off-road performance, though?
isn’t just a
car insurance
super app
—we’ve also got a great guide on off-roading in a Honda Civic that will help you decide if the Civic is right for you or not. We’ve got information on ground clearance, torque, and details on how those factors and more play into what makes a vehicle great for off-roading.
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Can the Honda Civic go off-road?

No, the Honda Civic needs to stay on the pavement to keep it in good working condition. If you’re looking for a reliable daily driver that’s great on gas and has enough room for the whole family, the Honda Civic is a great choice—just not for those off-road camping adventures. Take it down a trail and you’ll find yourself with a hefty repair bill.
A new Honda Civic won’t break the bank starting at $22,550. This sedan combines practicality and sports styling into a sedan that offers the best of both worlds. In short, the Civic is fun to drive and easy to care for.
Let’s go over the factors that make a vehicle the right choice for off-roading and how the Honda Civic compares.

Ground clearance

One crucial aspect of off-roading is a vehicle’s ground clearance. Ground clearance is the measurement between the vehicle’s lowest point and the ground. The Honda Civic has a ground clearance of 6.7 inches.
The vehicles that are best suited to off-roading have ground clearances between 8.8 and 10.8 inches, so you can see how the Honda Civic doesn’t quite measure up. Drivers whose vehicles have high ground clearances can get over rough terrain without damage to their undercarriages.
You could get away with a ground clearance of 8.5 inches, but that’s the bare minimum! This is just one reason why taking your Honda Civic off-road is a bad idea.


Another thing off-roading vehicles need is lots of power at low speeds to get them across obstacles and over rough terrains. You want your off-roading vehicle to have high low-end torque, which is a lot of torque at low RPMs. Your vehicle’s torque tells you how much turning power your vehicle has, which is extremely important in off-roading—far more than speed.
The Honda Civic’s 2.0-liter I4 engine has 138 lb-ft @ 4200 RPM. If you’re not sure what that means, here’s the sum-up: there’s not enough power for off-roading here.


The Honda Civic comes standard with P215/55HR16 tires. This is no surprise because these are practical all-season tires, which are a great choice for daily drivers. All-season tires balance performance and durability against longevity and ride feel.
All-season tires aren’t durable enough for off-roading. If you’re taking a vehicle off-road, you’re better off buying hardy
all-terrain tires


When it comes to off-roading, the best drivetrain options are AWD and 4WD. These enable each individual tire to gain traction independently of one another, which is important in case not all the tires are making contact at the same time. 
The Honda Civic has FWD, which only gives power to the front wheels. If you find yourself in a position where your front wheels are in the air, you’re stuck!


Important angles in off-roading are the approach angle and the departure angle:
  • Approach angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can climb without interference 
  • Departure angle: The maximum angle at which a vehicle can descend without interference
The Honda Civic has not had its approach or departure angles officially measured and you’d be lucky to find such information. That’s a big reason why you should keep your Honda Civic on the pavement. 
The minimum angle for mild off-roading is at least 20 degrees, with more of an angle required as the terrain roughens. It’s not recommended to go off-road if you don’t know the approach and departure angles of your vehicle.

Off-road rating: Don’t Try It

We’ve rated the Honda Civic using
super-technical DIRT rating system, broken down in the table below:
Don’t Try It
Vehicles better suited to highway conditions
In a Pinch
Vehicles that can handle off-road conditions in certain circumstances
Rough and Ready
Vehicles designed for casual off-roading
Trail Boss
True off-road vehicles capable of tackling a range of terrain
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The Honda Civic earns a D rating for off-roading. This practical sedan is well-suited for many activities and chores, but off-roading is not one of them. If taking your vehicle off-road is of the utmost importance to you, consider purchasing a vehicle designed for off-roading, like a
Toyota 4Runner
Jeep Wrangler

The best alternatives to the Honda Civic

Maybe you’re not the off-road type and are more than happy to keep your Honda Civic on solid ground. If you’re not excited by the Civic but are looking for something with similar vibes, we’ve got some suggestions.
These are the best alternatives to the Honda Civic:
Best economy alternative
Nissan Versa
Same reliability and performance as a Civic with fewer features and options at a major price break.
Best off-road choice
Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek comes standard with AWD and a ground clearance of 8.7 inches.
Best upscale option
Mazda strives to give their customers the most luxury features for their dollar and they’ve found success with the Mazda3.
MORE: Cheap off-road trucks
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How to find affordable car insurance for your Honda Civic

Insuring a vehicle for off-roading is expensive due to the risk the vehicle takes on when going off the road. Insuring a Honda Civic is expensive too—Civic insurance is higher than the national standard! Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an easy way to save on car insurance?
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