1992 Honda Civic Ferio SiR sedan (modified)
Image by Aero7MY
Photographed in Cyberjaya, Malaysia
Assembly : ???
Notes : Alloy rims, front turn signal lamps, rear muffler and rear Honda badge is non-standard. Bodykit possibly non-standard, and ride height may have been reduced. Trim level (SiR) may be incorrect.
Honda’s Civic nameplate is known the world over. Whoever you are, however old you may be and wherever you live on Earth, chances are you’ve seen or heard of the Civic. The Toyota Corolla is the only other nameplate with a similar level of recognition and acclaim. The Civic has been with us since 1972, and nine generations have passed since then. The Civic in my photo above is from the fifth generation, and in my honest opinion, the best generation. Some Honda fanboys may disagree, and yes, the fifth gen Civic wasn’t to everyone’s tastes when it launched on 10 September 1991, but I still love it to bits. Allow me to explain ;
The fifth gen Civic was produced in coupé, sedan / saloon and 3-door hatchback forms. There were no less than 10 engines available, namely a 1.3L unit, five 1.5L units, three 1.6L units and a rare 1.8L unit. However, the best known and best performing of the crop would be the 1.6-litre B16Ax four-cylinder DOHC naturally aspirated series, with Honda’s VTEC system. VTEC, which is an acronym for Variable Timing and Lift Electronic Control, is a system which boosts power and even fuel economy by innovative manipulation of the engine’s mechanisms, instead of simply upping the engine size for more power, or downsizing it for fuel economy. I can’t explain in detail how VTEC works, because it would take several paragraphs worth of words which may bore you, but if you’re really interested, you can watch a simple animation of how VTEC works here. The VTEC engine has to be one of the fifth generation Civic’s highlights. It can make 160 hp at 7,600 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 7,000 rpm… that’s 160 hp from a four-cylinder 1.6-litre, non-turbocharged, non-supercharged and non-rotary engine ! And this was accomplished in 1991, over 23 years ago !
Then there’s the looks of it… I absolutely love how it blends style and simplicity. The fifth gen Civic was designed by one Kohichi Hirata, and man did he work his magic here ! Just imagine, the fifth gen Civic was supposedly the direct competitor to the seventh gen Toyota Corolla, which looked rather bland in comparison to the sleek fifth gen Civic. It’s not just the exterior that looked great either, the interior was equally impressive. The dashboard looked stylish with its ‘levelled’ design and flowing lines. The front seats on some trim levels had these unique, ‘C-headrests’ which were positively futuristic back in 1991. Honda succeeded in making such a simple, unassuming people’s car look great and desirable, and I personally think that the fifth gen Civic is the best looking in the Civic lineage.
I would love to own a fifth gen Civic someday, as I’ve always loved it since my childhood days. Unfortunately, the Civic (90s era especially) is right up there in the car modding scene, and it’s almost impossible to find a clean, unmodified and well-maintained example, anywhere in the world. Malaysia is no exception, the vast majority of fifth gen Civics on the used car classifieds have been modified to varying degrees. Unsurprisingly, the one in the photograph above is too, but fortunately, the modifications aren’t too significant or extreme.
I’m sorry for this unusually long write up… I really do love this car… very, very much. But I know I’ll never own one… it’s heart-breaking really. Sigh.
I LIKE : Amazing, innovative and ahead-of-its-time VTEC engines. Great looks, in and out. A people’s car with hot hatch levels of power. Independent suspension front and rear. Great modding potential. Strong and lasting legacy.
I DISLIKE : Not as reliable as the Toyota Corolla. Sporting credentials may be a turn-off for some. Its image has been ruined by ricers the world over.