I always like shots that show the progression of cars over the years and decades. Of course, by 1986, the Civic already wasn’t as small as it started out a couple generations earlier. But a red Civic Si is always worth celebrating with a post, given what a fine little pocket-rocket it was.
This was posted at the cohort by CJCars (CJin SD), a place where one might well find a red Civic Si. Actually, there’s one parked a couple of blocks from my house too, but I’ve never got around to it yet.
Wit its fuel-injected 1.5 L four making 91 hp, the Si was a genuine VW GTI competitor, but with Honda reliability. Hot stuff.
We had a pair of forth-gen Civic hatchbacks, but sold the LX after about two years when we learned of Son Number One’s impending arrival and Beth’s subsequent career change to full-time mommy.
We kept the ’90, which was a base model with the same 1.5l engine and manual four-speed. It was light, quick on its feet and got low-mid 40s on the highway, a great car all around. Easy to work on, too – I could adjust all sixteen valves in about an hour, tools out to drive away.
Good lord—practically every vehicle in these pics is a Honda!
Yea, the regional variation in vehicles throughout the country is quite interesting.
The variance is narrowing, sadly.
Yesterday on the block next to my street, every single car on one side was a Honda, while on the other all were Honda’s except one, which was a Toyota.
Yes, they are very popular as they make excellent urban cars.
Length of a third-generation Civic hatchback: 150 in.
Length of the current Fit: 162 in.
In a similar vein, here’s a comparison of the current Audi A3 to the A4 of twenty years earlier. You guessed it: the A4 used to be about the same size that the A3 is now. The smaller cars are still available, they just get new names.
Woah, TTAC flashback. Glad to see you here; you were consistently interesting back in the day. Also, we have zero trolls, except me once in a while.
It is true, CC is troll-free. Also, unlike TTAC, you (Pch101) aren’t considered a troll. Nice to see you here Pch101, you may recognize me under my previous TTAC alias, Muttley Alfa Barker during the Top Troll Poll Herr Editor created.
Not to turn this into the TTAC Refugee Zone, but hey, since you brought it up…it’s funny, but at the time that those “polls” were posted, I was sure that the intent was to find some sort of justification for banning me. (I believe that Herr Schmitt took particular offense to my comments here, as he mentioned them in a later thread): http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/grade-the-analysts-jessica-caldwell-crowned-most-reliable-analyst-of-2012/ ) But since the troll polls went down with a dull thud, he had to find some other pretense for doing it while trying to make it look legitimate.
Sadly, my knowledge of specific models from the malaise era is more miss than hit, so here I’m mostly just a lurker and try to learn what I can.
A least you can give knowledge about non-Malaise era cars among other things.
FYI: While you are waiting, why not talk to VanillaDude, if he appears anytime soon. You two seem to have similar personalities from my comments section analysis of you two.
I’m honored by your presence! Seriously, I learned more from you about many subjects over the years from your comments at TTAC than from any of the writers, or many other sources. It was like a continuing educational forum for years. I’m not at all surprised at how it ended; you made them look dumb way too often.
You’re too kind. At this rate, I’m going to have to bone up on my knowledge of Caprices in order to keep up.
Another member of the fan club. The absurdity of a site with Truth in its name banning someone whose posts were informed, thoughtful, and measured was the final straw for many.
I drive the white generation and while I love the digital dash, clutch and shifter, I REALLY wish I could subtract ohhh….about 600 pounds from that car.
Here’s a photo I took of an 8th generation Civic with a 2nd generation model. The size difference is even more dramatic. I haven’t managed to get one of an 8th generation Civic with a 1st generation car, but I will if I get the chance. I’ve seen a few still on the road here, but I didn’t think to snap a photo. The 9th generation car is a bit smaller than the 8th generation was, but the weight lost during the transition was put back on when the 2013 facelift was instituted. As big as the recent Civics seem compared to the early ones, they’re still the smallest and lightest cars in their class, while being among the roomiest. I balked when I first sat in one with the two-tiered dashboard, but now I miss the clear speedometer and giant tachometer whenever I drive something else.
It takes a picture like this to really make you realize how tall cars have gotten in the past 20 years.
Honda built nice light cars once upon a time not any more I get tired of following fat lurching civics, There used to be a CRX around the corner but now I see its been replaced with an Integra R another once good Honda. Most here however have been riced to death and the rust has eaten them away, Honda in this era did not bother galvanising their cars like other Japanese makers so Hondas rust like they always have, Quickly.
“Fat lurching Civics?” Bryce, have you driven one recently?
Yes, the modern Civic is larger but so is its intended audience. I’ve got some terrible news: youngsters are not remotely interested in cars. My two boys don’t give a hoot. A 2013 Civic is going to be bought by someone like me and I don’t want a teeny car. I want all the power toys, safety equipment and enough room.
Look at the “youth market” CRZ. Total floppola. It’s people over 40 who buy the Civic now as they have money and credit to swing them. There ain’t no 84 month 0% money for subprime clients on a Civic.
Were I to buy a new car, it would be a Civic EX. I am the exact market it’s aimed at, too.
The CRZ has flopped because it’s neither fish nor fowl. The handling and performance don’t stand out enough for sports car buffs, while people who buy hybrids generally want more utility. They want something with four seats and four doors. People still equate “two seats” with “sports cars,” and the CRZ fails to deliver on that score.
The CRZ was a gutless turd. No more sporty than a Hyundai Accent. Except maybe slower. . .
Fat, lurching Civics are lighter, often by hundreds of pounds, than their competitors. They’re also dimensionally smaller. They’re compacts now, meant to be capable of fulfilling the duties of real sedans. They’re as big as the Chevrolet Citation was, one of the smaller compacts of 30 years ago. If it was still a subcompact built with a low roof, it would have the utility of a Fiat 500. Car and Driver just completed a 40,000 mile test of a 500. It took them about twice as long as usual to put the miles on, as few people want or need that little capability. The Civic does the job once performed by the Accord. If it were called the Accord and Fit wore the Civic badge, would that silence the critics? All Honda would have to do is surrender their entrant in the best selling car race and about a fifth of their US volume.
It would be one thing to complain if the old hatchbacks were capable of seating four 6′ adults in comfort, but they were essentially 2+2s. The newer Civics have as much room as is needed for me to sit in the back seat for hours without kissing my knees, having the headliner rub my head, or turning sideways. I appreciate that, particularly its absence when I’m wedged in a Volt, Focus or A4. The Fit surprises with the lack of contortions required to sit in the back seat, but then it’s a foot longer than this old Civic Si, and it looks to be a foot taller too. There are a couple of really tiny cars on the market, such as the 500 mentioned above. None of them sell in Civic numbers, and that’s why most brands don’t bother with the segment in North America.
Actually American Honda Financial does do sub prime loans, and sadly I know from first hand experience. After my divorce and the bankruptcy I was forced into, they were more than happy to give me a 60 month loan at 19.99% on a new Civic LX. Of course I made 9 payments, and refinanced through my credit union for a much nicer 8.99%. So yes, they are out there.
You’re right…and not right.
“Fat lurching Civics” and other Asian brands, are going to be bought by old fossils like you and I…but not all of us like them. I never owned an original Civic…dammit, I tried; but the Honda dealers in my area had a two-month waiting list. Maybe I dodged the bullet; those things rusted faster than you could pay for them; but the Chevette I got instead was no better.
For me, the epiphany was, the Geo Metro. Lighter than the Civic; as tossable; more thrifty because we’d gotten into the FI generation. And the original early-1990s two-door, fit a big guy like myself. I like power windows; music options, digital displays…but not enough to compromise weight and cost.
Give me a pared-down elementary-transportation device…light and roadworthy, and designed by people who know what they’re doing…over the slick, laden, bloated, expensive and HEAVY modern designs we see today.
How about a Toyobaru BR-86 RA/RC or a Dodge/Plymouth Neon ACR? They are very sparsely equipped from the factory.
Also, at least insofar as the Neon goes, not very well engineered.
I don’t know the BR-86. Would a six-three driver fit in it?
You can always make a Neon be more reliable (improved 3-layer steel head gasket, for example).
The side view (and the photo posted by CJinSD) shows it most apparently the word that comes to mind when comparing cars of a few decades ago to today’s cars: BLOAT.
I see it every time there is one of these “now and then” comparo shots. The fact that a modern Honda Fit is bigger than the 3rd gen Civic. I’m not positive, but I think that a 1st gen Camry is smaller than a current Corolla. If it’s not, it is pretty darn close. And, why does a modern BMW 3-Series need to be so large (and heavy)? This bothers me to no end. If there is truly a light, simple, minimalist car that is on the market today, I can’t think of one. Is there really not a market for small, light, simple, and therefore cheap? Or, do the car companies just want to sell us MORE, not LESS? Yes, many buyers want all the bells and whistles, but surely many do not.
I get the safety thing….more has been put into cars, much of it by requirement, over the last twenty years that have made cars safer. Fair enough. I am talking more about the rampant over-contenting that is the norm now, coupled with the blatant growth of cars within the same nameplate.
“If there is truly a light, simple, minimalist car that is on the market today, I can’t think of one”
The Nissan Versa probably qualifies. But who among us really wants one?
On another tier, there is the Scion FR-S. But it’s constantly criticized for the cheaped-out interior (which probably would have been considered to be just fine 20 years ago), the lousy radio (ditto) and for its lack of power. (These days, 200 hp is considered to be anemic for a sports car.)
Most buyers don’t want minimal. Manufacturers have to make each succeeding model better than the last, which requires adding power, size and weight in order to keep the loyalists loyal.
Those who want a smaller version have to choose a car with a different name. You can get an updated version of the old 3-series if you want it, but now they call it a 1-series.
I have a 2013 Versa. Very minimalist, the only ‘options’ are a cd player and a/c – which came standard. I figure the lack of gadgets will mean a lack of things to break later and all I really need is reliable transportation that won’t nickle and dime me to death. I’m averaging 36.6 mpg in a mix of street/highway driving.
What feels strange is that even though this is NIssan’s smallest and least expensive car, it feels bigger than my 2005 Sentra SE-R Spec V. The Sentras have moved into Altima territory, while the Altimas have become Maximas.
I think the only company that sucessfully resisted generational bloat was Volkswagen up ’til about 1979 or so.
I’d say my gen1 xB qualifies (which is why I like it), but it’s not all that small inside (good), and no longer available, of course.
Mazda 2 is pretty basic and quite tossable.
I think the CRZ does poorly because no one buys two seaters anymore unless they’re sports cars. The CRZ tries to be too many things to too many people and ends up being nothing to nobody.
Not all “youngsters” are disinterested in cars. But the prospects of people coming out of college since the mid-2000s are so poor, they’ve really become lost to much of the new car market. But those of us in good economic shape care about what we drive.
For youngsters, I mean 16-20 years. I have not met a single one in the last year that is remotely interested in cars. Computer games and cell phones, yes, but cars, no way. My line of work keeps my in contact with young people every single day.
“Over contenting” is what buyers want. There is no way anyone is going to buy a new car these days without keyless entry, a/c and power windows. I speak from experience on this. It took me seven weeks to sell my stripper Fit DX. Every call but two wanted an automatic and, at the very least, a/c.
The take rate in Canada for the Civic DX is less than 2%.
The Civic DX is gone from the US, and I’m pretty sure we never had the Fit DX.
What did we do to kids that they reach their teenage years and don’t want the freedom of car ownership? Looking back at my high school days, I can only think of one male friend that didn’t talk about wanting a car as soon as he was eligible. Even though he didn’t talk about it, or participate in many of our ill-judged automotive projects, he still had a car before he graduated. All the girls I remember had cars too, even if theirs didn’t have blown fuses from backyard cassette deck installations and dirt hiding dents from unintended off-road adventures. Meeting kids that don’t care about cars is as bad as meeting people that never learned to ride a bike. What happens when too many people that don’t value freedom are adults?
Yes, in the US we had either a Fit or a Fit Sport. I believe that the DX was positioned below the regular Fit.
I think Canucklehead is right. All of my kids’ friends drive hand-me-downs from their parents. Can’t think of a single one that went out and bought a cool car. Therefore, a big collection of older Accords, Civics, Odysseys, Tauri, a Saturn, an Avalon, and even a Windstar. My own son is the exception, and he probably caught the bug from me. He is still enjoying his 89 Grand Marquis.
My friends and I often had hand me down cars too, and any Avalon would have cleaned the clocks of pretty much all the cars available to us in the ’80s. I’m not surprised that teenagers don’t have the sorts of jobs that let them buy their own cars. I was more concerned that Canucknucklehead seemed to be indicating that they didn’t even want cars.
It surprises me,too, that many, it not most, of the kids I see have zero interest in cars. Perhaps it’s because I live in a heavily urbanised area with excellent public transportation. In fact, if I worked in an office downtown, I probably wouldn’t have a car, either. Public transportation is just a lot easier.
…until you want to go where it doesn’t.
Cost is a factor, of course. If the cost of ownership of an automobile is such that it’s not a reasonable sacrifice…then a person has to find another solution.
But I don’t think it’s progress. What takes twenty minutes in the city, by expressway, is a seventy-minute or more bus ride. With plenty of strangers, some of which have issues in personality or hygiene.
It’s a shame…since the 1930s, cars, and especially modified old cars, have been a big part of being young. Now you say that where you are (I believe I know and I’ve been there) the kids don’t care.
“For youngsters, I mean 16-20 years. I have not met a single one in the last year that is remotely interested in cars. Computer games and cell phones, yes, but cars, no way.”
Would I be considered an exception to this observation (oh wait, you & I haven’t met) or not Canucklehead?
I know plenty that are interested in cars. Who do you think drives “stance” cars, bro-dozers, and ricers?
No, 16-20-year-olds can’t afford a new car unless they were born into an oil tycoon family. Would they like one? Absolutely.
Time “to 86” this tabloid headline, pun intended.
Also, I thought urban areas were never a fun place to drive a car.
Thats a nice looking car there. No honda rear quarter panel rust on that(those cars rusted in the desert). Yes times have changed.
How many of them have drivers’ licenses? One thin I’ve noticed is that kids seem to be waiting longer to get their license. I’m not sure whether it’s the cost of insurance, these graduated license schemes, or parents just not letting their kids learn how to drive. It’s probably a combination of all of them.
I think too many kids these days want to stay in childhood and let Mommy and Daddy support them far beyond what was considered normal even 10-12 years ago. Part of it is our recession, and part of it is, I think, selfishness. Why budget, why get a job, why be self-sufficient when you don’t have to?
My mother’s best friend gets regularly taken by her 40-something daughter–guilting her into buying them expensive Christmas presents she can’t afford, watching her kids over and over and OVER because they “need a break.” She just can’t say no, to her detriment. We all wish she’d stand up for herself and say ENOUGH! to her daughter.
“Kids these days…” guess I’m officially old 🙂
I have a 2010 Civic of that color. We got it for reliability, economy, driving qualities, & room. As stated, it sure is bigger, big enough to haul family of 4 cross-country in reasonable comfort.
1) typical Honda drivetrain: smooth, lots of useful power despite auto trans (wife must have or airbag deadly). Sometimes surprises with responsiveness. Imagine this in an ’80s Civic!;
2) great freeway cruiser, very smooth (but see Cons)
3) handles like go-cart, std. low-profile tires one reason why;
4) quick steering
5) responsive suspension keeps you awake;
6) As of ~30Kmi, no mechanical issues. 32-37 MPG (I try to baby it but it’s hard sometimes)
1) lots of road noise on coarse pavements;
2) unpredictable resonance in parts of interior while on said coarse pavements. Some days there’s none, very odd. Do not recall this in ’88 Accord; somebody was asleep on this one;
3) cracking noise from struts while turning @ parking speeds; dealer says factory has no fix but benign, incredible for a company w/ long experience in struts;
4) old-school auto shifter, prefer gated type;
5) lose the cloth armrests, not as easy to clean as vinyl
6) decklid a bit short for bulky items
So while I’m generally satisfied, it could’ve used some NVH work.
I have the same cracking noise in mine, and my engine mounts had to be replaced at 40k. I was told by a friend who is a Honda tech that this is a common issue.
Correction: my current mileage is 38K, so I’ll bear that in mind, thanks!
Forgot to mention, there is enough longitudinal space inside to carry 10′ long pipes.
BTW I like that old breadvan-shaped Civic. But it’s effectively a different class of car now, more comparable to the Mazda2, or possibly the Fit.
While living in Japan I had a 1987 JDM Si – a 1.6 PGM-Fi screamer with 125 HP @ 6000 rpm or something like that. Totally gutless below 2000 though. It was the last pre-VTEC sporty engine.
Had tons of fun with it and drove all over Southern and South-Western parts of Japan.
My mother has a 12 that I use occasionally for long runs to appointments. I really like the car and it gets great gas mileage but the road noise is shocking and put along with tire noise it is tireing to drive. BUT at least the very light electric assist steering gives you somthing to concentrate on and take your mind off the noise. The steering is so light at highway speeds that if you try to turn your head in a conversation with your passenger you will turn the car with the motion of your head.
Honda started building cars for adults not kids now. When I was 17 I could put up with an early Civic, now h*ll no. So I guess they responded….
There are no more basic cars, Its all about lowering costs for the auto company. They are Assuming that the avg customer dose not like the whole car buying process. Give them easy choices limited selection which decreases their cost out the factory door.
Think about the 80s when you stepped on the lot you had a choice in every model:
equipped or stripped. Ford escort pony no air, am radio, no instruments, bad seating material and a 4 spd. An Escort DX added better material, a cassette, a 5 spd, more instruments, pinstripes, mud flaps. EX or LX added even more. YOu had 10 different options.
There are no more minimal cars because we want ease and we want more.
I think the Japanese were responsible for popularizing “bundled” options as opposed to Detroit’s “Can we build one for you?” For a long time Honda, perhaps for logistical reasons more than anything, minimized factory option variations in their cars (besides color & tranny), leaving most options to the dealer to install after purchase. And they gave you enough goodies std. that you didn’t feel like you were getting a stripper if you got few or no options. If that was marketing psychology, it was ingenius.
current accord next to 1979 accord talk about changes. My old E28 5er is smaller than todays 3 series. We are just fatter, me included.
The ’86 Si was a nice car – I had a co-worker friend back then that had one – but the 2004 Si I owned and the new one are reliable, appliance-like transportation… a real yawn.