1999 Honda Civic Review
Pros & Cons
- Roomier than many cars in this class, the 1999 Honda Civic sedan has agreeable levels of comfort in any trim level.
- Antilock brakes should be available on more than one trim level.
Edmunds' Expert Review
More than two decades ago, Honda introduced the Civic. It was a small, anonymous, unassuming car, competing in a market saturated by mammoth sedans sporting ornate chrome, garish styling treatments, and acres of sheetmetal. The producers of these defunct dinosaurs didn't bat an eye at Honda's fuel sipping entry, despite the fuel crisis of 1973. Big mistake.
Since then, Americans have seen four generations of the Civic come and go, each much improved over the previous model, and each becoming immensely popular with consumers. 1996 brought us a new generation; certainly improved but not so much so that we'd consider it revolutionary. Available in hatchback, sedan and coupe body styles, Honda has heeded customers who claimed the 1992-1995 Civic was too sporty looking. A grille was tacked on up front, sheetmetal contours provide a squarish profile, and larger rear taillamps give the Civic a more conservative look. Sedans, coupes and hatchbacks have been given more individualistic styling themes, with the hatchback retaining honors as most odd among the trio.
Dual airbags are part of the package, with antilock brakes standard on EX sedan and coupe models equipped with an automatic transmission. HX coupes carry through with an available continuously variable transmission, making it the most interesting Civic offered, unless you count the new Si. Available in coupe format only, the Si is powered by a high-strung 160-horsepower VTEC motor that can sling the Civic to 60-mph in just seven seconds.
Four different versions of the 1.6-liter SOHC four-cylinder aluminum engine are available on the Civic. The most common variety has an output of 106 horsepower at 6,200 rpm. EX models get 127 VTEC-inspired horsepower at 6,600 rpm, and the HX Coupe uses an economical VTEC-E engine with 115 horsepower at 6,300 rpm. Si coupes make 160 horsepower at a lofty 7600 rpm.
The Civic has few shortcomings, aside from its anonymous personality. Hondas tend to be on the expensive end of the scale when new, but over time, they are a far better value than most of their contemporaries. The Civic is no exception to the rule. It is a car for people who don't enjoy repair shop waiting rooms. It is a car that holds its resale value better than most of the cars it competes with. It is a car that easily endears itself to its owner.
The Civic is a solid buy. For those who like a bit of spice in their commute, try the EX version of the coupe. Want a fuel miser? The HX coupe is your car, getting up to 44 mpg. Strict budgets demand a look at the CX, while sedans are aimed more at the creature comfort side of the scale. Style-conscious buyers will go for the svelte coupe, or the suave EX sedan. Whatever your needs, Honda offers a Civic that will meet them - that is, unless your needs include towing trailers or carrying a family of five.