Used 1996 Honda Civic del Sol VTEC

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1996 Honda Civic del Sol
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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The del Sol is Honda's fun-in-the-sun offering, competing with the likes of the Mazda Miata and the Volkswagen Cabrio for the hearts and pocketbooks of active young Americans. Based on the previous generation Civic, this rendition of the del Sol is reaching the end of its run. That doesn't mean, however, that you should disregard this version of Honda's open-air two-seater. It still offers a great deal of fun in an attractive little package.

Honda buyers can catch rays in three different ways. The first is in the economical S model with a peppy 106-horsepower engine borrowed from the totally redesigned Honda Civic. Prices for the S model start just over $15,000. The sporty Si model has a 127-horsepower SOHC VTEC engine and a beefier suspension than the S. In addition to more horsepower, Si's have aluminum wheels, power door locks and power mirrors. The top-of-the-line del Sol VTEC offers a whopping 160-horsepower engine and antilock brakes. As with all Hondas, equipment is determined by which model you choose. For example, if you want antilock brakes, the only way to get them is to buy a VTEC. If you want power door locks and mirrors, you will have to spend the money for an Si. If you want an automatic transmission you won't be able to get the power of the VTEC. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

Since its introduction, the del Sol has been compared, often unfairly, to the segment-leading Mazda Miata. The Miata has gained undying love from the press due to its traditional styling and enthusiast-oriented rear-wheel drive. The del Sol, on the other hand, has been characterized as nothing more than a two-seater Civic with a toy-like appearance. In this battle of micro-machines, Honda defenders are quick to point to the numbers, showing the del Sol VTEC's superior acceleration and superb braking figures. Others point to the del Sol's excellent convenience features such as its hardtop capability and useable storage space. Still other's point to Honda's unsinkable reliability and high resale values. One thing is certain, in the match-up between the del Sol and the Miata there is a lot of pointing.

Edmund's staff is split on the issue. Some favor the livability and acceleration of the Honda; others wouldn't trade the Miata's classical design, capable handling and rear-wheel drive configuration for the world. We do know, however, that the purchaser of either of these cars is guaranteed a great deal of driving pleasure for years to come.

1996 Highlights

The base S model gets more power by swapping its 1.5-liter four for a 1.6-liter unit, gaining four horsepower. The front fascia is freshened and the Si gets the suspension upgrades of the VTEC.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Honda Civic del Sol.

Car of the year!
Soccershortz, 5/25/2002
This is a car that I would reccoment anyone have as long as it is the vtech and has some power with aftermarket parts. Featured in Fast and the Furious
A car you could take to bed...
SRS, 6/21/2002
My Del Sol VTEC has been the best car I've ever owned. It responds willingly to any request for performance, rides reasonably well for a sports car, and has unique and attractive styling. Talk about a pocket rocket! It kills me to sell mine, but we've got a baby coming...
Wifes forever car
gramps48, 12/26/2013
Just hit 200K asked wife about a new car, Daggers flew. SO time for a new timing belt, going to have seats upgraded and a paint job. Nobody builds a car like Honda 200k still runs like new uses no oil and 30mpg on premium of course. Have never replaced anything, except tires Batteries and belts. A 5 speed standard shift. I know gramps drives easy. Wrong! WE live in TX speed limit 70 here 80 mph West TX. If your not running 90 your in the way. THis is one fun car and what can I say 200k and we are keeping it. Is it a soft riding blimpmobile. Nope It is a fun little roadster; Can you travel in it? with a good friend and hard bottom yes WE have done 900 mile trips in one day;
VTEC model
TM, 11/20/2010
I picked up my del Sol VTEC a year or so ago and have loved every bit of it. I was lucky to find the top model with the DOHC 160 HP engine, and still get 30+ MPG highway and about the same in city. The acceleration is great, ride is smooth and driving with the targa top off is possibly the most fun next to a real convertible, it's a blast cruising around in, even with close to 180K miles! Aftermarket upgrade are easily and readily available for it still which is great. Overall, if you have the opportunity to find a del Sol and drive it, it would be well worth it at any age.
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Features & Specs

MPG
23 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
160 hp @ 7600 rpm
See all Used 1996 Honda Civic del Sol VTEC features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1996 Honda Civic del Sol
Used 1996 Honda Civic del Sol VTEC Overview

The Used 1996 Honda Civic del Sol VTEC is offered in the following styles: , and VTEC 2dr Coupe.

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