The skeleton key
The Honda Civic is a car with many faces. On the one hand, it is well mannered, civilised and astoundingly easy to live with. On the other, it can be transformed into a high-powered street monster. For this particular
generation of the Civic (1996-2000), nothing could be truer. A quick glimpse into any aftermarket store window will prove that this car is still very current.
This tested Civic is the sixth generation of the car. It all started back in 1973 when Honda ingeniously introduced this compact car to a North American market that was feeling the crunch of the rising cost of fuel. Honda's mini car boasted an impressive amount of interior space and incredible fuel economy. Throughout every revamp, Honda concentrated on these two important aspects of the car as well as insuring that the latest technology was always included along with bullet-proof reliability.Styling
Subtle, elegant and uncomplicated are the best words to genuinely define the Civic. Whether in 2, 3 or in the 4-door configuration, the Civic looks
great. This overhaul added edges and crisper lines to what was a mostly rounded out 1992-95 body. Outwardly, the car is mostly characterised by its seemingly oversized head and taillights. In 1999, the Civic received very minor upgrades to both front and rear fascias to keep the model fresh.
Another great thing about the Civic is the variety of available body styles. If you find a sedan to be too sedate, you can always opt for a hatchback. If you are into the sporty look, then a coupe is the car for you.
The cabin of the Civic is thoughtfully laid out. The audio and HVAC controls are within easy reach from the driver's position. Although the design is fairly simplistic, the way the classy dash panels come together never really allows the owner of the car to think that he or she has purchased a cheap car. The seats are very firm yet offer ample support to remain comfortable on long trips. Legroom is aplenty for both front and rear passengers. The trunk also has generous dimensions. Outward visibility is excellent.Technical
Honda has always made choices for buyers very simple. In the case of this Civic, one can select between three variants of the 1.6L inline 4-cylinder engine. In basic form, the output was of 106 hp and 103 lb/ft of torque. Those that wanted to add a little spice to their life with the Civic could opt for the VTEC-equipped 1.6L in the Si coupe. It put out 127 hp and 107 lb/ft of torque. In 1999, Honda finally offered what the Civic enthusiasts really wanted: a 160 hp version of the venerable 1.6L. Only available in SiR spec, this normally aspirated motor developed 100 hp per litre of displacement. Every Civic except for the almighty SiR had front disc and rear drum brakes. The SiR had 4-wheel discs. The suspension was independent at every corner and steering was power-assisted rack and pinion.