For the better part of 20 years, the Honda Civic Tour intended to put cars kids like in front of music kids like. Some seriously big artists toured under this banner, and most of the time, each headlining artist got a Civic themed after them, which was usually given away in a contest.
Think of it a bit like Honda’s equivalent of Scion’s concert, CD sampler, and record label initiative. Sure, blog digging for obscure stuff wasn’t Honda’s jam, but Warped Tour bands were. Well, they were up to a point, because as with many initiatives meant to target youth, the Civic Tour developed a bad case of “How do you do, fellow kids?” Still, with a multitude of customized Civics to ponder, let’s take a closer look.
We’re only including Civics that were indisputable centerpieces of tour promotion. Sadly, this means Nick Jonas’ bike doesn’t count, and it also means that the FL5 Civic Type R on The Future X’s tour doesn’t count because, well, it had to share the spotlight with an HR-V. However, so many of these Civics are so bad, so let’s rank them from worst to best. We’re going to use three sensible criteria here: How good is the Civic, how good is the music, and how well does the visual treatment fit? This is all completely subjective and so you can feel free to tell us why we’re wrong.
Maroon 5 FG4 Si
This is a fail on all fronts. The kids weren’t into Maroon 5 in 2013, and that whole year was a rebuilding one for the Honda Civic. Frankly, we were all sick and tired of Adam Levine, and this Civic seems to feature the same sort of effort Maroon 5 put into their music around that time. Would it have killed Honda to throw on a set of aftermarket wheels, or at least color-match the center caps? This one’s getting sent straight to the shadow realm, even if it is an Si.
[Counterpoint: That body of yours is absurd! – MH]
Speaking of questionable graphics, in the current day, this 2001 Civic Coupe looks like a $1,000 example that someone went hard in the rattle cans on. It looks particularly crap, but hey, it seems vaguely era-appropriate, and Everclear makes better music than Maroon 5.
Black Eyed Peas FA3 Hybrid
This also belongs in the “dear god, no” camp. While the eighth-generation Civic Hybrid is a good car, the Black Eyed Peas allegedly make “music.” Yeah, this would be particularly embarrassing to be seen in. Enough said.
[Ed note: Another counterpoint, when you have a young daughter, if you ever do, you can appreciate the odd Black Eyed Peas song. Mazel Tov! – MH]
Linkin Park FG4 Si
This would’ve ranked lower if it weren’t for Hybrid Theory, Meteora, and the Numb/Encore crossover with Jay-Z. Look, 2012 wasn’t a great year for the Civic, this one looks particularly wanky, and Linkin Park’s discography is a mixed bag. However, the highs are high, and the custom car itself is more artistic than Everclear’s Civic. Still, could you imagine being seen in this?
Blink 182 EM2
Well, this is basically a stock Honda Civic with a few dealer-installed accessories and some stickers. Sure, it’s a bit amateur-ish, but it certainly hasn’t aged like milk. Arguably the most boring branded Civic, this one blends in, and Blink-182 circa 2001 had quite the discography. Yep, this one’s buoyed almost entirely by the music and the fact that worse branded Civics exist. How about that?
I have nothing against 3BallMTY or the ninth-generation Honda Civic Coupe, but something about the argyle-like pattern feels very local delivery service. It’s curiously bland for what should be a bit of an art car, so the whole thing gets a shrug.
Speaking of bland, American Authors’ Honda Civic looks like the packaging to an iPod Touch accessory. It’s less boring than 3BallMTY’s livery, but still oddly corporate. Also, while I’d like to congratulate American Authors for winning the fluke indie hit sweepstakes of 2013, but “Best Day Of My Life” is music for car commercials. Next!
Charlie Puth FK8 Type R
This might seem like an odd pairing, but “See You Again” and fast Honda Civics go together like Corona and excessively tight vests. Sure, the graphics on this thing look positively amateurish and the music is bland, but the FK8 Type R is so good that you might be able to drive it with tinted windows instead of, I don’t know, a bag over your head.
One Direction FG3
Sure, the 2015 Honda Civic isn’t the most inspiring Civic ever made, and One Direction is a divisive boy band, but this graphics package is fun in an Easter Egg way. This is a car that’s hard to hate, I just wish it were an Si or something.
Grouplove and Portugal, The Man FG3
It was properly tough choosing between this and the One Direction livery, but I have to give it to Grouplove and Portugal, The Man on discography alone. Two great liveries, two okay Civics, but the music stacks the deck. Them’s the breaks, I guess.
Fall Out Boy FA3 Hybrid
Remember when Fall Out Boy was just a pop-punk band from Chicago? By 2007, the four-piece act had already pushed its way to the forefront of the scene, but that whole pop-punk thing was scrappy enough for the Honda Civic Tour. Unfortunately, the elevation we saw on Infinity On High just isn’t present on this Civic. It’s not the most cringe example, but it certainly isn’t the least. On the plus side, the Civic Hybrid was an efficient and well-built car, and Fall Out Boy made some great stuff.
Paramore FG2 Si
Paramore makes some great music. The eighth-generation Civic Si is a great sport compact car. This particular Paramore-branded eighth-generation Civic Si? It hasn’t aged the greatest. Still, how about that redline, though?
However, the aging of this Civic doesn’t change the fact that This Is Why was one of the best albums of 2023. If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend giving it a spin. It’s a mature post-punk project that’s clever, catchy, and well-written overall.
Demi Lovato FC1
Hey, not bad. Now we’re getting somewhere. Like much of Lovato’s discography, this particular Civic is easy to like, although not massively memorable. Look, the bar is low here, and this thing exceeds it by quite some margin.
Sure, it might be too new to have really aged in or out of anything, but that’s not a bad thing when it comes to longevity. After all, 2016 was eight years ago.
OneRepublic FL5 Type R
I don’t know how OneRepublic got the memo, but taking the cartoonish FK8 Type R and amplifying its existing attributes isn’t the worst way to create a custom Civic, especially when you look at what happened for Everclear. After all, the Type R already had some red accents, so why not add a whole lot more red? Is the execution flawless? Absolutely not, but I’ve seen worse. Granted, this one’s buoyed substantially by the fact that the FK8 Type R is phenomenal. “Good Life” is also a solid feel-good pop song, but it’s not enough to get this thing on the podium.
Panic! At The Disco FA3 Hybrid
Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. Admittedly, the discography of Panic! At The Disco is a mess, but this Civic comes from the act’s Pretty, Odd album run, and the psychedelia-inspired nature motifs rock pretty hard. With a little more low, I’d actually rock this.
New Found Glory EP3 Si
It’s hard to tell from the press photo, but like the Good Charlotte Civic, this thing’s been extensively kitted-out, with a widebody, two spoilers, a fade-out paint job, and ghost flames. This is 2003 in a bottle, just like New Found Glory’s particular brand of pop-punk. Sure, the music isn’t phenomenal, but the car is a wicked snapshot of a moment in time. So why doesn’t this beat that other Civic from 2003? Simply put, Good Charlotte has a slightly less checkered history.
Blink-182 FG4 Si
Blink-182 returned to headline the Honda Civic Tour in 2011, and man, what an improvement over the band’s last branded Civic. Sure, matte black is stale, but that cartoon rabbit is looking fresh. It’s not the most labor-intensive Civic ever made for the concert series, but it’s up there with the better examples.
I wouldn’t be surprise if someone eventually co-opts a take on this livery for a drift car or something, given how it’s simple but translates well.
Dashboard Confessional EM2
Yeah, this works. While Dashboard Confessional’s reputation for somewhat sappy love songs seems at odds with this Civic’s appearance, it’s all just right for 2004. Body kit? Check. Loud but not entirely ridiculous graphics? Check. Multi-tone paint? Check. Lip kit and cheap wheels? Check. This right here is a tuner time capsule done well. Points are docked for being an EM2, but that’s about it. Hands down, this is the best Civic coupe ever created for the tour.
Good Charlotte EP3 Si
Weirdly, this isn’t the only time Honda co-opted Good Charlotte, as “Motivation Proclamation” was on the promo CD for the Acura RSX. However, this is most certainly the most brash pairing of that particular band and this particular brand. Flares? Check. Skirts? Check. Wings? Check. Chrome wheels? Check.
Like the historical Civic lineup, Good Charlotte has had some bangers like “The Anthem” and “Little Things,” so why hasn’t this collab ranked higher? Well, the green script on each door hasn’t aged well at all, and the rear end could use a pop of color. It’s a good effort, but a better all-around package exists.
Incubus EP3 Si
Who’d have thought that Incubus could have what is undeniably the best music-themed Honda Civic? The Calabasas alt-rockers first headlined the Honda Civic Tour in 2002, and that year’s specially branded Civic feels right on-brand for the time. Flashy wheels? Check. Loud graphics? Check. Lip kit? Check. It also helps that Incubus has some solid hits. “Drive,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Anna-Molly” still get the people going. Mind you, the first Incubus Civic isn’t perfect — the band’s name on the rear bumper is far too large — but it’s the best of the bunch.
So, if you had to drive one of these band-themed Civics, modifications and all, which one are you picking? As ever, make your voice heard in the comments below. Now if you excuse me, I’m gonna go queue up “Nice to Know You” on Spotify.
(Photo credits: Honda)
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