2001-2005 Honda Civic sedan
2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005
Matt Holliday was one of Crutchfield's ace car enthusiasts for several years. He brought a lifetime of knowledge and experience to our team. He has since left the company to join the family business and pursue other interests.
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2001 Honda Civic LX sedan (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Thanks to near-legendary reliability, affordability and efficiency, the Honda Civic has long been one of the most popular cars around. They're also known for impressive longevity, so if your seventh-generation Civic is still running strong, a new stereo is probably a wise investment.
Designing a stereo system that suits your musical tastes is one way to make your Civic stand out from the crowd. There are plenty of simple upgrades that will make a big difference in your car's sound, not to mention a variety of add-ons that will allow you to use all of your favorite electronic devices with your car stereo.
The standard stereo in the Civic is an AM/FM/CD radio with the option for a CD changer. The sound system is rounded out by either a 4- or 6-speaker configuration, with standard factory sizes that make upgrading easy.
The Civic's factory CD receiver (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Replacing your factory radio
After you remove a few dash panels, getting the Civic's factory stereo out of the dash is a snap. The dash opening also easily accepts any regular-sized (single-DIN) stereo, from budget-friendly units that improve on the factory radio to top-of-the-line decks that give you Bluetooth® connectivity and a world of add-on options.
How you use your Civic will help you decide the best choice for you, so pick the stereo that will do all the things you need it to do -- plus a few things you might want it to do eventually -- so you can avoid having to upgrade your system again in the near future.
If your car has a factory CD changer, it won't work with a new stereo. But the loss of that component will be made up for by a dramatic improvement in sound quality and the more modern features of most new receivers.
Tools needed: Phillips screw driver, flat-blade screw driver, 8mm driver, panel tool
Removing the factory stereo (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Steering wheel audio controls
It's relatively easy to retain the steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo in your Civic. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.
Replacing your factory speakers
The Civic's front door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Your Civic came from the factory with one of a couple of speaker options for the front doors: a standard 2-speaker setup, or a 4-speaker configuration with tweeters in the sail panels. Most 6-1/2 inch speakers fit easily with the help of a mounting bracket, and the common size means there are upgrades for any budget. The factory speakers are kind of an odd size, so you'll have to drill some new screw holes to replace your speakers no matter what you put in there.
The larger size also makes it possible to get solid low notes, and adding a set of component speakers will give you a full, rich sound up front, right where it should be. The door panels are easy to remove to get to all the necessary connection points, so it's a great way to get comfortable with doing your own upgrades to your Civic’s stereo.
Rear deck speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The rear shelf speakers in the Civic sedan are a simple, bolt-in upgrade, with large openings that hold 3-bolt 6-3/4" 3-ohm speakers. A set of 5-1/4 inch speakers are the easiest fit, with the help of mounting brackets.
This isn't quite as hard as it looks. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
There are several interior panels that need to be removed to get to the factory speakers, but removal and installation is straight-forward and yields big results. Again, you’re only limited by your budget, and swapping out these rear speakers will really fill out the sounds in your Civic.
Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, flat-blade screwdriver, 10mm driver, panel tool, drill and a 1/8" bit
Adding bass to your Civic
Honda didn’t put much thump in the Civic, so adding a subwoofer will really wake up any style of music. The Civic has impressive trunk space for a compact car, so there's plenty of room to add the necessary amp to go along with a sub and enclosure. Make sure you pick a deck with preamp outputs to make installation easier, and match your new sub to an amp with enough power to push it. If you're looking for something simpler, try a powered subwoofer, like the Infinity Basslink.
Infinity Basslink powered subwoofer
There are plenty of ways to improve your Civic's audio and entertainment quality. Here are some of our favorite stereo upgrades:
No amps were offered from the Honda factory, but they’re a must if you want the best possible sound. Just how much sound is up to you, but a good place to start is added power for your front speakers. If you’re adding a sub, you’ll also need a way to power it, so look at multichannel amps that can handle the subwoofer and your door speakers. There is plenty of room for the additional juice, with ample trunk space and room under the seats.
This wasn’t an option on your Civic, but it's a necessity if you find yourself on the road a lot. Most receivers have the ability to add and control SiriusXM tuners, or you can pick up a portable satellite radio that can be easily transferred between vehicles. Your favorite stations will be right there wherever you go, and you’ll love the variety of music, sports and news, as well as hearing music you probably wouldn’t ever hear on terrestrial radio.
With so many Civics being utilized as commuter cars, a navigation system can really come in handy. Double-DIN stereos won't fit in the Civic’s dash, so you'll have to find a single-DIN navigation receiver or rely on a portable GPS device. They’re easy to move from car to car, packed with handy points of interest and come with trusted software and maps pre-loaded for your journey.
Security and remote start
Installing a security system in your Civic isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.
The Civic is a great first car, so this is probably the first time many people will be making stereo upgrades. The car’s simplicity makes it easy for these first-timers, and even little improvements make a big difference. Add a new stereo for a little more power and greater listening options, as most new stereos have the ability to play and control your iPod so you can pack more of your music into your ride. New front door speakers are easy to install and can really respond well with the added juice from a more powerful receiver. But you’ve been warned: once you hear how great these simple upgrades sound, you’ll be hungry for more.
Improve your commute
If you’re using your Civic as a commuter to take advantage of its great fuel mileage, you’re probably spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Consider adding a new stereo that’s satellite radio-ready to give yourself options for great music, news and sports anytime, anywhere. Adding new speakers and powering them with an amplifier will make sure your music is crisp and clear. Sound deadening material like Dynamat will help keep the road noise out during rush hour traffic.
The ultimate tuner
You can’t be a real tuner without great tunes, and the stereo is often the first thing that gets swapped out of a Civic. Upgrading to a new receiver means better looks, more sound control, and a world of extras like iPod control, Bluetooth connectivity and more. Tuning is all about power, and the stereo is no exception, so amps and a thumping sub are a must. Look for a quality multi-channel amp that will power all your speakers and a sub without taking up too much space in your car.