1988 Honda Civic LX Builds on Excellence

1988 Honda Civic LX Builds on Excellence

Automobile and Driver

Our analysis of the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic sedan is approaching 6/16, till then we determined to look as soon as extra on the Civic’s largest hits and the easiest way Honda’s iconic compact automotive has developed over time.

From the November 1988 downside of Automobile and Driver.

Within the occasion you are the kind of one who thinks a small automotive is a small automotive is a small automotive, you could be excused from studying this analysis. In all probability nothing we’re able to say will alter your notion that the Honda Civic LX is as interchangeable with completely completely different small journey dwelling instruments as one toaster oven is with one completely different.

If, nonetheless, your automotive palate is refined sufficient to savor vehicles as throughout the event that that that they had been environment friendly wine, you’ll notice that that the Civic LX four-door sedan is a budget-­priced address. The 1988 primary presents nuance, integrity, and full-bodied fashion. Its dynamics are sturdy, and its persona is buoyant.

We aren’t capable of pronounce the Civic LX the best small automotive on this planet, however it’s arguably the best small sedan you can purchase for $11,930—or one factor shut. Completely completely different small vehicles go sooner or nook bigger, and a complete lot of the Civic’s rivals ship roughly the same quantity of people-and-cargo room. The Civic LX, like completely completely different Honda merchandise, isn’t on the highest of its class in any class. Its administration derives from its being close to the perfect in almost each class.

The Civic has been worthwhile small-car taste-offs for lots of of this decade, and the rationale why is one factor however a secret. Most automotive firms depart their vehicles in manufacturing for a minimum of 5 years and as a lot as ten. Honda, nonetheless, insists on holding its designs more energizing than anybody else’s; new fashions have solely three years to thrive—4 years on the surface—prior to giving methodology to replacements.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

The 1988 Civic is the third all-new small Honda of the eighties, and every one has improved on its predecessor in almost each home. For 1988, virtually the entire objects between the doorway and rear license-plate brackets was as rapidly as as quickly as additional reformulated. Honda fairly actually expanded on the Civic theme by making its new automotive longer, decrease, and wider. It is usually roomier, additional extraordinarily environment friendly, bigger outfitted, and extra refined.

Regarding the one factors unchanged are the mannequin lineup and the factories the place the quite a few variations are assembled. The Civic household unit is populated by a 3­-door hatchback, a four-door sedan, a 5­-door wagon—with every front- or 4­-wheel drive—and the three-door, two-­seat CRX sportster. Greater than three-­quarters of all Civic four-doors bought in America could also be screwed collectively at Honda’s U.S. plant in Marysville, Ohio; the remaining could also be shipped from the land of the rising yen.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

The LX four-door is the little Accord of the lineup, more than likely most likely essentially the most completely outfitted Civic ever. The LX’s standard-equipment labor-saving gadgets embrace vitality steering, vitality dwelling house home windows, vitality door locks, vitality brakes, vitality mirrors, and distant releases for the trunk and the fuel-filler door. Along with, the steering-column angle is adjustable, the seats and doorways are lined in a thick woven supplies, the instrumentation accommodates a tach, and the outboard rear-seat riders are protected by three-point harnesses. The rear seat flips down for additional carrying performance and will probably be locked contained in the up place for added safety. (If heaping luxo gear on a penny­-pincher sedan upsets your sensibilities or taxes your money switch, Honda presents the underside four-door DX mannequin with so much a lot much less adornment.)

Honda engineers will be the first to agree that gluing a truckload of extras on to an rising outdated machine wouldn’t a mannequin new automotive make. That is the explanation the entire objects mechanical concerning the brand new Civic is freshly pressed as correctly. The LX is constructed on an all-new floorpan, is powered by an all-new engine, and rides on an all-new suspension. The mannequin new automotive’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than prior to, and its physique is 2 inches wider. Each adjustments stretch the passenger cell. Widespread dimension is up by 3.3 inches—just some of it added to the trunk, which is roomier by almost a cubic foot.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

The Civic’s new engine, much like the sooner, displaces 1.5 liters, is forged fully in alu­minum alloy, and is topped by a single overhead cam. Now, nonetheless, the cam­shaft opens sixteen valves instead of twelve, which permits freer respiratory and produces additional vitality. A twin-throttle­physique fuel-injection system feeds the hungry cylinders, which say “thanks” to the tune of 92 horsepower at 6000 rpm, a 21-percent enchancment. The transmission decisions are a mannequin new four-speed computerized and a do-it-yourself five-speed info.

Honda didn’t scrimp on suspension design, every. The mannequin new Civic makes use of unequal-length administration arms in entrance, the same building that works so correctly on the Prelude. In as soon as extra, the Civic rides on the latest in multilink setups, consisting of a single trailing arm, two lateral hyperlinks, and one toe­-control hyperlink per side.

The Civic LX, we’re blissful to report, does larger than sit there and bristle with up-to-date expertise. It areas all of it to work in a technique that is downright good. It seems good, feels good, and demonstrates cautious consideration to the environment friendly elements of carbuilding.

Settling into the corporate driver’s bucket elicits the primary “aha.” Honda designers labor to decrease the cowl peak of every new mannequin as if their success ensured divine salvation. On the mannequin new Civic, the perfect of the cowl is decrease by larger than an inch, and so is the perfect of the sprint. The window line begins so near belt-buckle peak that wanting by way of the tall windshield makes you assume you are perched behind the wheel of a kiddie automotive.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

The toy-car sensation is enhanced by a shrunken instrument pod, delicate roof pillars, expansive side glass, and a stubby shifter barely bigger than a video-game joystick. Ahead of you a big quantity as flip the important issue you end up considering, “Hey, that is nice.”

There isn’t any letdown do you have to put the instruments into movement. Driving the Civic makes you marvel why completely completely different carmakers have been so gradual to evaluation that easier is best, that operate beats flash each time, that refinement is as necessary as effectivity.

The Civic’s inside appears impressed by these discovered contained in the big-name European producers; it’s fashionable and uncluttered, and its ergonomics are almost flawless. The switches and controls are easy, low-key, flat-black gadgets completely located for useful use. The sunshine swap is on the turn-signal lever. The wiper swap is on an opposing stalk. The radio has—hallelujah—an outdated kind on-off/quantity knob, and the power-window switches are organized vertically and canted in course of the driving pressure, in order that they fall readily to finger tip.

The small factors are on no account the entire objects that Honda has gotten appropriate. Your arms, your ears, and the seat of your pants will report additional excellent news as you roll down the street. The Civic appears to be like fine quality. The engine sings the acute notes like Aretha Franklin; regardless of how laborious you push, it not at all sounds hoarse. The clutch takeup is gentle. The gearbox snicks into every gear with Parts 1 precision. The vibrations and shudders as rapidly as related to small four-cylinder sedans have been damped and deadened till all that continues to be is a mellifluous hum.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

The Civic hums fantastically, all appropriate, however it would not hum rapidly. Any ideas of the LX qualifying as a sports activities actions actions sedan evaporate with the primary laborious dash. It takes a full 11.0 seconds to comprehend 60 mph. From 70 mph on up, the look forward to additional velocity is a protracted one. Extreme velocity is a pedestrian 103 mph.

That is too unhealthy, on account of the Civic in one other case cries out for enthusiastic driving. The suspension is taut, the cornering is flat, and the steering is sharp—perhaps too sharp at circumstances, however unfailingly acceptable. There is also sufficient grip (0.77 g) to make chasing the asphalt serpent entertaining, however all of the nice occurs going into the corners; exiting them alongside alongside along with your appropriate foot buried contained in the carpet cannot fairly coax the grin meter off the peg.

The place the Civic actually shines, aside from usually civic duties, is on the open street. You presumably can drive this automotive cross-country and certainly not really actually really feel you’ve got been banished to a penalty space for unhealthy conduct. The suspension takes the thud out of the unhealthy pavement, however retains you related to the street floor. The steering has sturdy lane self-discipline. The engine is relaxed sufficient and the wind noise is low sufficient that cruising contained in the 80-to-85-mph vary is kind of cosy.

Dick KelleyAutomobile and Driver

Solely two enhancements are wished to spice up the long-haul consolation score from wonderful to great. First, the rear-seat passengers deserve an extra supportive decrease cushion—elevating it one completely different inch off the underside is often a environment friendly begin. Second, the doorway buckets should be modified so the higher cushions might probably be tilted ahead additional. The steering-wheel rim is simply too extended a attain for plenty of drivers.

These few negatives current solely that the appropriate automotive stays to be constructed. Imperfections and all, the Civic stays to be one easy operator. It goes about its enterprise as if its each half had been coated with Teflon. It is nice to drive contained in the on day by day foundation rush and a environment friendly machine for making long-distance getaways.

Honda can depart the Civic alone for the following three years and the automotive will proceed to forged an enormous shadow. Squeeze one completely different twenty horses beneath the low hood, nonetheless, and the Civic LX may flip into extra of the best small sedan for the cash. It’d flip into more than likely the perfect small sedans of all time.


As rapidly as, merely as rapidly as, I would want to drive a Honda of some description and could be discovered away with the conviction that the corporate is not so rattling competent in spite of everything. That completely completely different firms are merely virtually just about nearly as good. That there are quite a few completely completely different vehicles spherical that ship such distinctive worth for the cash.

Correctly, the Honda Civic LX is not that Honda. Not even shut.

As quickly as I obtained into the Civic LX the opposite day, it took about two minutes beneath technique prior to I discovered myself able to advocate the automotive to anybody who had twelve grand to spend and a burning want for four-person transportation that is not boring.

Truly, the Honda is boring, however in one of many easiest methods you want essential transportation to be: it would not break, it would not look humorous, and it is completely predictable.

I made my on day by day foundation 100-mile commute in consolation, buzzing alongside at speeds of as so much as 75 or 80 mph. The seats appeared a bit small, and they also’re lined in a cloth that shall be appropriate at dwelling on a recliner in a double-width cell­-home, however, in one other case, you merely isn’t going to get far more automotive synergism in your cash.

What can I say? Honda is rattling competent. —William Jeanes

A stunning variety of carmakers make no bones about their admiration for Hondas and their have to mimic them. After driving this Civic LX, likelihood is you may why.

It performs with uniform superiority, whereas most of its rivals current just a few peaks of excellence surrounded by valleys of mediocrity. Take the Civic’s chassis, as an illustration. Although it objects no report for cornering grip, it sticks tenaciously and responds exactly when hammered laborious. It furthermore affords a supple, well-controlled journey which will do credit score rating score to many bigger, costlier vehicles. The same goes for the Civic’s driveline.

Take a look at this automotive, from the highest of its trunk to the tactile choices of its defroster swap, and likewise you’ll uncover nothing however excellence. The Civic is perhaps not low-cost, however it’s nonetheless the gold customary of economic system sedans, for patrons and rivals alike. —Csaba Csere

What am I going to let you know that you just merely don’t already know? Surprises? There aren’t any. New insights? Nope. One factor that you just merely haven’t heard prior to? No technique. Let’s merely say it and get it over with: the Honda Civic might be going considered one of many best-value subcompact sedans/fun-to-drive bargains on the street. And it has been that for a extremely very very long time.

The Civic does just about the entire objects uncannily correctly. Attempt to discover a better-built automotive on this price class. You obtained’t. Attempt to take into account a better methodology to place out the dashboard and the controls. Attempt to take into account a budget-minded automotive that goes down the street with additional smoothness, precision, and gemlike really actually really feel than Honda’s marvel. Good luck. They don’t come any bigger than this.

The Civic shouldn’t be with out rivals—and there are some good ones. Nonetheless none of them matches the Civic’s all-around excellence. As a matter of actuality, the Civic can…hey, wait a minute. That is getting boring.

You understand the routine correct proper right here. The Civic LX is an environment friendly automotive, okay? I’m late for my journey. —Arthur St. Antoine

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