1998 Honda Civic VTi 1.8 from UK and Ireland
All go, no show - I'd have another
Back box failed 1wk after purchase - no quibble replacement under Honda warranty.
A/C Belt tensioner bolt snapped. RAC repaired under Honda warranty.
I am truly a VTEC convert after having owned this car for two years. The engine is the best part of the package providing excellent performance on the one hand, and good 35mpg economy on the other. The gearbox is OK, but engaging reverse can sometimes be difficult (a common fault I have read). I get over this by raising the clutch slowly whilst pulling the gear lever (gently) into place before pressing the clutch back down again. The clutch squeaks when engaging sometimes which is mildly annoying.
The handling is pretty good; independent rear suspension and an LSD at the front make it good fun. I found the steering heavy at first, but it does provide good feedback because of this. I have found that the car will eat tyres when driven hard, particularly at the front. But I suppose this inevitable in a car that will spin the wheels in second gear when on-cam.
The interior is no oil painting though. Lots of shiny plastic (which creaks), faux granite, and Roveresque switchgear. I would definitely try to find one with the half-leather interior next time – the velour is OK, but looks a little tacky and is wearing out on the driver’s seat. I must say however that I find driving position very good (even for me at 6’5”) and there is even space beside the clutch pedal for your left foot!
The exterior is quite understated when compared with its (less powerful) contemporaries. The deeper front spoiler, side skirts, rear spoiler and ‘DOHC VTEC’ decals are the only things that differentiate it from the lesser Civic models. Nobody realises what it is which can be great fun at times. The bodywork itself is a little bit flimsy – I dented the door by shunting it closed with my hip! The paintwork is still in good nick after 7 years - there are some stone chips, but no real blemishes or oxidisation of the lacquer.
The main dealer I use has (so far) been very good. Servicing is reasonably priced, and the service is good there too.
All in all I would recommend the 1.8 VTi as a great alternative to other hot-hatches of a similar age. The three-door version is probably more fun, but I think the five-door is better for its added practicality.
I would liken it to a mini version of the Accord Type-R.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 10th October, 2005
11th Dec 2005, 09:15
I have just sold my 1.8 VTi after 2 years of trouble free motoring. The car was a high miler with dubious history, but it was fantastic from the beginning (even though I do think I was losing power slightly) The half leather was great and the ac was OK, but the styling on the cloth was a bit lame. 5 doors were practical. You can find good examples now for under 3000. Good luck!