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Published on June 13th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Used 1988 Honda Civic Si Sedan

A good little car became a great little car in 1988. The fourth generation Civic was billed as stronger, roomier and more aerodynamic and it elevated this small car beyond its economical mini transporter roots. Its long wheelbase cab-forward design, a double wishbone suspension and a fuel injected, four valve all-aluminum engine were performance enhancements previously reserved for more expensive vehicles. The ’88 Civic came in four body styles: 2-door hatchback; 4-door sedan; a 2 or 4-wheel-drive, 4-door wagon and the CRX, a 2-seater fastback. Even the base 2-door DX offers sports car like handing and is capable of zipping from 0 to 100km/hour in about 9 seconds. It is also an extremely fuel efficient vehicle returning class leading consumption. Wearable components like brakes and exhaust always need checking when buying a used car
and the Civic is no exception. However, an engine valve timing belt replacement is a particularly critical long term maintenance item on a Civic. The normal timing belt service life is 90,000 km. If not replaced the belt could slip or break, pistons hit valves and the engine is toast. The under-body should also be checked for structural corrosion problems, especially if it’s spent time near the sea.

But the Civic that has been beating the used car residual market with its strong resale value, almost ‘0’ value reduction in recent years has been the 1998 Civic SiR! Appearance-wise, the SiR does not immediately stand out. The basic Civic shape has been retained and the first thing usually noticed is that the built-in bumper guards have been dropped. A mesh grille and 15-inch wheels give the car a sporty look, but not much else – two-tone seats and a three-spoke steering wheel contribute to its looks. Under the hood, however, is where it matters. The DOHC VTEC pumps 160 horses at 7,600 rpm (compare this with the relatively sedate locally assembled models 125 ps of VTi). Even more features are found where the sun don’t shine: a front tower bar to stiffen the body and improve handling; independent double wishbone suspensions with stabilizer bars in both front and rear; and disc brakes with Proportional Control Valve all around. Owners are able to rev the engine to near redline levels before shifting to second. The package comes at a price, however. Finding one for sale will be your first tough problem to solve, next is the
average asking price of RM22k upwards. No need to ‘crack’ your brain trying to figure out why this car depreciates at a very very slow rate even though it is the subject of numerous highway thrashings and mod jobs, just take one for a spin! The Civic SiR is a mechanically sound and durable little car that retains it’s value quite well on the used car market. So, yes, expect to pay more for a nice
used one – it’s worth the added investment.

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