1989 Honda Civic GL 1.4 16v from UK and Ireland


Good performance, great reliability and dirt cheap these days. Well worth a look


Body work a little patchy (mostly due to neglect).

Drivers seat has a hole in it (made worse by family dog!) and tends to drop back if sat on too hard.

Clutch has been replaced (no necessary, but needed it eventually).

A few rattles in the interior (some caused by the dog chewing seals).

General Comments:

Car has 16 valves, twin carburettors, power steering, electric windows, mirrors and sunroof, wishbone suspension and runs on unleaded petrol.

This was a family car passed on to me quite recently, so has previously been incredibly well serviced and not thrashed at all, thus the engine is in impeccable working order. Still gets great fuel economy about 45mpg max with sensible driving, 35+ with thrashing.

Now I've got my hands on it I can finally see what it does. Hit 120mph in it without too much complaint and I do wonder if it will go further, but I am too scared to test it with all the speed cameras on our roads these days. Acceleration is impressive, generally pulls as good as most "hot hatches" out there, but you do have to know how to push it and how to handle it to get the best out of it (I am still learning with it, but at times it really does throw you back in your seat).

Handling wise it feels like a sports car. The low nature of it as standard coupled with the bucket-like seats make the driving position quite exhilarating and comfortable at the same time. Its very easy to push round corners at high speeds and holds the road really well. I feel very confident in its ability cornering and don't feel the need to pull off the gas in case it slips.

The cabin is comfortable for driver and front passenger, back seats are a little squashed due to my long legs and the far back driving position I like, and they only have lap belts. No airbags anywhere to be seen (but on a car that old what do you expect!). Radio is still original and is really starting to show its age. Install speakers aren't much to shout about either.

Dealerships tend to be expansive, but you get what you pay for and they are very professional and thorough and do all work to the highest standards. Have generally had the car self serviced over the years (hence the neglect to bodywork) but have had cause to go to the dealers.

Generally, 13 years down the line and 134,000 miles later the engine is in perfect working order and will keep going for years (and miles) to come. Comfortable driving position and great acceleration with a top speed suited to legal limits, it's a great car suitable for petrol head and families alike.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th October, 2002

2nd Jan 2003, 06:05

I have the same car as you? what 0-60mph time do you get?

24th Feb 2003, 10:15

Never measured my 0-60, must get round to that.

Undecided whether to mod or not, its pretty good as standard and could save the money for a newer civic (or a type-r mmmmmmm)

Interesting to hear what other people are doing with theirs.

14th May 2005, 18:12

Some info from my may 1988 wheels magazine where the civic GL was compared against 4 other cars (it came equal first btw).

0-100 kph in 10.1

400 meters (bit over a 1/4 mile) in 17.1.

24th Oct 2005, 06:53

I have an auto as well I find the car goes very well for what it is. I find if you leave it in d4 and floor it, it actually goes quite well, but then lags a lot till it finds higher revs in 2nd gear.

I've never had mine past 160km/h, but think it has a lot more in it, but I ran out of road. the car likes being reved quite high, in d4 my car gets to about 43 km/h then I drop it into d2 and get it up to 115km/h then change into d3 to 160km/h.

It drags most hatches well, handles well around corners and has a good pick up.

Only problems I have with it is, the lag in the gear changes. can be made into a very good sports car...

7th Feb 2009, 07:42

I have a manual, my mum has an automatic, and believe me the auto is not a patch on the manual. There has been talk of these cars giving GTi's and such cars a run for their money and some have laughed at this. I can tell you now, if these cars are in good nick they are capable of blowing a lot of hot hatches into the weeds, especially Saxo's and Corsa's. With some simple modifications these cars can also beat Golf GTi's and such. I know for a fact that mine is quicker than a Subaru Impreza Sport (non-turbo).

1989 Honda Civic DX 1.5L from North America


It is a great little car


I am the third owner of this car. I'm not aware of past problems or when parts were changed. The only thing I know is that the car was previously owned by a Honda mechanic.

So far, the only problem I have had with the car is the radiator. About 8 months ago it cracked right at the top where it gets bolted to hold it in place. and for 8 months now every other day I put anti-freeze in the overflow and off I go.

At 160,000 or so I had to replace the CV boot on the right front side.

I expect that as I put more miles on the car, other problems will come up, but I believe that it will just be part of maintaining the car and not real problems.

General Comments:

I can drive between 300 to 350 miles on a tank of gas.

I like the way the dash has a flat area. And all the controls are easy to reach.

The car has the best air conditioning. I doesn't just cool you off, it freezes you, and that is only on the first setting.

The fabric on the seats is uncomfortable, but it is nothing that a seat cover can't fix.

There is a lot more room inside then you think. My husband who is 6 foot plus has no problems getting in my car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th September, 2002