1999 Honda Civic EX 1.6L SOHC VTEC from North America


Old faithful!


Car had been heavily rear-ended when I bought it, and had it straightened out. Luckily, the rear left damage stopped at the wheel well, so the suspension has been perfect. Got it straightened out.

According to the service records I picked up with the car:

99k miles: replaced catalytic convertor

110k miles: replaced clutch, synchros, resurfaced flywheel.

3rd gear will grind going in 1 time out of 50. Not a big deal.

Reverse takes a few tries to properly get into. Reverse gears have never been serviced, however.

General Comments:

Acceptable power if you keep the rpms above 3000; fairly pathetic pedal response below that. Going from 0-10mph is painful due to lack of low end torque. It takes some skill to move forward after being completely stopped on an incline due to this. Wouldn't reccomend this car to a first time manual transmission driver, but I learned to drive stick on it, so it's possible.

Would not reccomend an automatic civic of this generation. This generation of car has very little low end torque and makes it a pain to drive in the city / stop and go. An automatic transmission just makes things worse.

In comparison, the previous 92-95 civic EX has more torque at lower rpm and is a little smoother to drive because of this. Those cars have much less emissions equipment however (obd1), whereas this car is obd2 so if you have problems with emissions or other things, it is much easier to diagnose via computer.

Downshifting into 3rd on the highway is a thrill as it is almost guaranteed to kick you into VTEC @ 60mph. Passing power in 3rd is very strong, 4th is fairly useless.

Handling around corners is fairly good for an economy car. I have Integra GSR wheels, and feel like they are the perfect upgrade over the stock 14's.

I would not say this is the most comfortable car. The seats are kind of hard and small. The dashboard layout and the rest of the interior is very good, however.

The car is more visually and ergonomically refined than my Cavalier on the inside, yet seems to be far flimsier. I did buy this car as a salvage, but it seems like even after refitting many of the plastic panels, there are plenty of mystery rattles in the car. I am hoping that some dynamat will ease this. The Cavalier had a very dumpy interior, and the dashboard cracked, but the seats were very comfortable and there were very few, very minor rattles.

The engine still runs & starts very well. I would not be suprised if I got 250k miles out of this car. I never have to worry about it breaking down. Even if it does, a used engine is $500 at most.

Very cheap to run and maintain, but rattling, halfway good seats, and very low torque makes this car kind of funky.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2008

1st Feb 2009, 19:09

Slow acceleration? Wow, I just bought myself a 99 Civic EX and it's an automatic tranny, and this car hauls ass for the amount of horse power (127hp). I can spin the tires slightly off the line and it goes. I find it hard to do the speed limit in this car because it just wants to go faster with a slight touch of the gas pedal.

I used to own a 95 Mitsubishi Galant with a 2.4 SOHC with a cold air intake, high flow exhaust and redone transmission, and this Civic is a lot quicker. The Galant came stock with 142 ponies. So really I don't see how the Civic is quicker, but it definitely is. I'm anxious to see how quick it gets after I do some modding on it.

But no offense, something must be wrong with yours cos mine hauls ass, and you having a standard, yours should be slightly quicker than the automatic. So either you're falsely knocking the Civic or something is wrong with your car. I'd have it checked.

2nd Feb 2010, 14:03

I as well own a 99 Civic EX. Had it about 3 years now. 5 speed trans does not get out of its own way, but other than that, the best car you could ever own. I love it and will drive it to the ground.

I've had very minor issues with it; blower motor went bad around 80k, sway bar links went bad around 100k. This car has yet to let me down.

To the first comment, all 5 spd trans in any Honda seem to have trouble going in reverse. Put it in 1st then reverse, it's just a Honda thing. I believe it may be to prevent you from throwing the car in reverse while moving and ending up blowing the trans, but definitely an awesome car!!!

29th Mar 2010, 22:16

Most 5 speed cars require you to shift to 1st (or another gear of your choice), and then to the reverse gear. Both my Integra, and my Chevette are like that.

30th Mar 2010, 16:12

I agree. My Hyundai does the same thing. It has difficulty going into reverse if you don't shift into first, well, first. As long as you do that, it goes into reverse with no problems.

1999 Honda Civic SIR 1.6 DOHC VTEC from North America


Quick, sporty looking, uncomfortable, and high prices, but overall reliable


Bought the car used with 118000kms, fully certified and etested from a genuine Honda dealership (Unfortunately with no warranty).

When I bought the vehicle the power windows worked OK. They've progressively gotten worse, and I'm just waiting for the day they don't go up, or down for that matter. I've neglected to fix this problem because of all the money I paid for the vehicle and all the repairs I've paid for so far in the 6 months I've owned it. I've heard power windows can be a problem in all types of Civics though.

At 120000kms both front wheel barrings went. Unfortunately this being a Canadian car driven in the winter not only the barrings, but the hubs had to be replaced because the barrings couldn't be removed from the hubs due to rust. All this at a cost of just under $1200CND. I wonder how that was missed during certification?

At 128000kms my engine light came on and my wheels were making a squeaking noise. All it took was 4 new sets of brakes and an O2 censor. At only a cost of around $700CND.

Things seem fine now, but I think I'm going to sell the car and get something just as reliable for half the price I bought the SIR for.

General Comments:

I wanted a reliable car that is quick, but good on gas. And I almost got that after I worked oot all the kinks. The engine never failed me and always worked smoothly. As for good on gas, ya it is, but you have to fill it with premium.

The B16 DOHC VTEC engine Honda put in this vehicle really purrs when you're just cruising, but once you open it up it has such a satisfying roar. It gets pretty good gas mileage like I said, but if you're always opening it up it can really go down.

For a compact sports car this car almost has it all. The looks, the feel, the sounds, but there's one thing that it is lacking, and that's comfort. I'm 6'6" and I just barely fit into this vehicle. That part I don't mind much because it's hard to find many 4cyl cars that I fit well in. The part I really mind is the cheap quality seats. I've driven to and from Toronto to Sault Ste Marie (aboot 900km) twice with this beast and it's the most uncomfortable car I've ever driven (and I used to drive a Hyundai, one of the cheapest cars made on the market). There's very little back padding, and the seats are constantly squeaking because of the cheap springs in them. I also think that the lack of a lumbar support contributes to the uncomfortableness.

This cars is of course a sports car so it doesn't have that much cabin room. Forget aboot rear passengers unless they are toddlers, or small. The trunk provides pretty good room considering.

Overall this car is a power house considering the engine size. Unfortunately I guess the dealership I bought it from neglected some things, leaving a sour taste in my mouth, but I do believe the Honda reliability does exist in this car. If you don't mind paying high premium fuel prices, high oil change prices for synthetics, high price for parts and labour, and the high cost for the vehicle overall and can stand some lack in comfort, but desire a fairly quick and reliable car smaller engined vehicle, the Honda Civic SIR is for you (or SI in America).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd January, 2008

16th Feb 2011, 20:57

So I originally reviewed this post. Just thought I'd stop by to give and update.

Despite the lack of comfort and high premium fuel prices, I'd decided to keep the car. She's still running great with 210,000 kms on her. I've only had 1 major repair/tune up to do on her since my last review. I had all the brakes and rotors replaced, as well as my brake and fuel lines (due to rusting, cause of the Canadian winters), had my rear calipers replaced because they were seized making my e-brake useless, and both upper ball joints replaced. I had all this done at 1 time, and I can't remember the exact cost, but off the top of my head it was around $2000 Cnd.

Other than that, the only other major problem I've encountered is both windows falling out of their tracks, at different times though. The passenger window a couple of summers ago, and the drivers side just a couple of weeks ago in the dead of winter. I was able to repair both of them myself, which wasn't hard, just annoying, especially in the winter.

The car runs great still, and I expect to get another 100,000 kms out of her easily without much hassle.