Car Reviews

1998 Honda Civic

ANCAP safety rating (unknown)
Green Vehicle Rating (unknown)

RAA Review

Price range CXi Hatch manual $8,200 - $11,700*VTiR Hatch manual $12,900 - $17,000

*Price as new CXi Hatch manual $21,700 VTiR Hatch manual $32,950 

Average km 109,000km

ANCAP Rating Three stars

Honda entered the Australian market over 50 years ago as a bike brand then later as a small car importer. The Japanese manufacturer’s humble beginnings are akin to the progress of the Korean manufacturers today. But the release of the Civic in 1972 with its 1200cc engine and two-speed Hondamatic was the beginning of Honda’s great reputation for durability and quality that the Honda Civic continues to enjoy today.

Honda has a reputation for using multiple valve technology to extract good performance from their small-capacity, high-revving engines. The four cylinder, 1.6-litre, 16-valve engine used in the Civic is a case in point, achieving 88kW at 6,400rpm. The dual cam version used in the VTi-R model requires the more expensive premium ULP, producing 118kW at 7,600rpm. The legacy of this technology is that the engine needs good lubrication to ensure that it does not wear out prematurely because of the high revving. So, make sure the genuine service records are available and that it has been maintained using Honda special oils and fluid.

The Civic came with three transmission options: the five speed manual, four speed automatic and, in the VTi sedan, a Continuously Variable Transmission. All need to be serviced and the CVT in particular needs to have an upgrade oil used to reduce transmission shudder on take off. If a flush and adjust doesn’t get rid of the shudder, it’ll be you who shudders when you receive a repair quote of up to $6,000.None of the Civics came with air conditioning but the base model CXI did have a driver’s air bag, which helped it get its three-star ANCAP crash rating. They also had power steering and mirrors, with later models getting remote central locking. VTi models have a better overall safety package having driver and passenger air bags and ABS.

RAA Technical staff and the repair industry say other than the transmission fault, which is a rare anyway, they haven’t seen any serious problems emerging with the Civic. But as most Civics of this age are approaching the 100,000km service they will need a timing belt costing about $350.

Report provided by RAA
Test vehicle supplied by Honda