1987 Honda Civic DX 1.3 from North America


A very reliable compact car


All factory scheduled maintenance performed until 75,000 miles; tuneups, brakes, lubes,...etc.

Air conditioning compressor replaced at 30,000 miles.

New battery at 30,000 miles. This car was not started regularly for a few years.

Outer CV joint boots replaced at 60,000 miles.

The exhaust system (from the converter back) has been replaced twice.

Currently the car needs the following repairs (at 80,000 miles) :

Replace CV joints (half-shafts).

Replace drive belts.

Replace front/rear brake pads/shoes.

"Major" tuneup needed; it wouldn't be, if the mechanic who did the last "major" tuneup actually adjusted the valves (they rarely do, unless they are ticking.) I know this, because I was a dealership mechanic myself.

Body was small amounts of rust-through at rear wheel well corners. This could have easily been prevented by installing mud flaps, and more trips through the car wash. Rest of body is excellent.

General Comments:

I know the entire history of this car, as my father bought it new. He religiously had scheduled maintenance done, but do to his advanced age he did little for the car's cosmetics (wash, wax, interior cleaning.)

The motor starts and runs flawlessly in all weather, never leaking or burning a drop of oil. Power is adequate, but it doesn't belong at the drag strip. Transmission is a 4-speed (overdrive) automatic, and it functions perfectly.

The suspension travel is a little short, and it can bottom-out rather easily. It is not noisy otherwise.

The steering and handling is much better than most other small cars of it's vintage. It is responsive, but also forgiving enough. It's very easy and relaxing to drive.

The body and related hardware is above average.

Electronics are reliable.

I'm 6'1". The front seats are usable, but I could definitely use more leg/head/butt room on long trips. Rear seats are best used by (small) kids.

For a reliable, cheap to operate commuter mobile, this car would be hard to beat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2003

21st Mar 2004, 19:38

I once had one for a 150-miles a day trip. Bought for $1,000 at 132 miles, put in only a rad, a couple of brake jobs, tires, a few mufflers. In return the old grey mare did another 207 miles! Mostly expressway at 70 miles an hour! I never felt at nervous at all - ever! At 14 years she broke a torsion bar and it was over. The wrecker gave me $50 and I drove her through the gates and parked her. This was the Seabiscuit of cars. The 5-speed was simply great. It steered itself.

1987 Honda Civic 25R 1.5 12 valve petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Do you need a cheap second car as a local runaround? Buy one of these, you'll be satisfied


The car didn't run very well when we bought it, but I thought a tune up would resolve most of the problems. However, the independent dealer we got to do the work was great at oil changes and brake repairs, but hopeless at tuning. I ended up playing with the timing and the fuel settings myself in order to get a bit of power back!

Most other problems are as you would expect for a 15 year old car. There isn't any rust in it, but it has a few minor car park dents, and the front bumper is misaligned slightly, probably from a previous minor incident. The seats are sagging, and the trim is looking a bit fragile, but I can live with that.

General Comments:

The Engine is still smooth and quiet, even more so since I fiddled with the fuel and ignition settings. The Gearbox too is nice now - the previous owner used the wrong oil in the box (it should have 20/50 engine oil in the gearbox surprisingly). Economy is OK.

Now that cars with sharply angled panels (ie, Focus, Mondeo, etc) are coming back, my old Honda is looking fresher than a lot of newer rounded shape cars!

Generally, it's a really good buy for the money. There are a lot around here in New Zealand, but some were New Zealand new, and some are Japanese imports so look out for these as they have odd injection, carburettor and emissions kit.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st August, 2002