The second generation Honda Civic debuted in June 1979 with a more angular shape, increased engine power, and larger dimensions in all models. The design was closer aligned to its larger sister, the Accord and the car was generally more comfortable and sophisticated than the first generation Honda Civic.
Honda Civic Country
Sportier Honda Civic S
The wheelbase now measured 88.6 inches (2,250 mm) for the hatchback (the two-door “sedan” was dropped) and 91.3 inches (2,319 mm) for the wagon. The Civic engines came in cross flow and CVCC design depending on the market they were sold in; in North America the base 1335 cc (“1300”) CVCC engine made 55 hp (41 kW), while the 1488 cc (“1500”) CVCC engine produced 67 hp (50 kW). Three transmissions were offered: a four-speed manual (on base models), a five-speed manual, a two-speed Hondamatic, and then from 1981 a three-speed automatic.
In North America, the Civic 1300 and 1500 both came in base and DX versions. The latter featured a five-speed manual transmission, partial cloth seats, carpet, rear window defroster, intermittent wipers, and a cigarette lighter. The 1500 GL added radial tires, a rear window wiper/washer, tachometer, clock, and body side moldings. The Civic wagon came in a single version that was similar to the DX trim level. The rather underpowered 1300 was not available in California and in some mountainous areas. While still a CVCC design, the stratified charge design was muted and emissions control was assisted by a small two-way catalyst.
In September 1980 for model year 1981 a three-box four-door sedan debuted, as did a three-speed automatic transmission that replaced the aging two-speed unit fitted to the first generation Civic. The four-door was also marketed as the Honda Ballade in the Japanese domestic market.
A minor facelift arrived in late 1980. In early 1982 another facelift added larger plastic bumpers, a new grille and rectangular headlights.
A somewhat larger Civic-based five-door hatchback arrived, called the Honda Quint in Japan. It was marketed at a Japanese dealership sales channel called Honda Verno along with the Honda Ballade, a high luxury model based on the Civic sedan. Also introduced was a new highly fuel efficient I4 model, the five-speed “FE” (Fuel Economy) which was rated at 41 mpg‑US (5.7 L/100 km; 49 mpg) in the city and 55 mpg‑US (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg) on the highway. However, even the standard 1500-cc model achieves 34 mpg‑US (6.9 L/100 km; 41 mpg‑imp) city, and 47 mpg‑US (5.0 L/100 km; 56 mpg) highway when driven 55 mph (89 km/h), the maximum U.S. speed limit at the time (California mileage ratings).
The slogan for 1983 Civic was We Make It Simple. A sport-oriented Civic “S” was introduced in 1983 and was fitted with firmer suspension (with rear stabilizer bar) and 165/70R13 Michelin tires. A red accent encircled the S and set it apart from other Civics as well as a black grille and blackout paint around the window frames. This model was fitted with two different motors. In some markets it was fitted with the high performance 1335 cc EN4, which was of traditional cross-flow design, and was fitted with twin Keihin CV carburettors, and the same camshaft that was fitted to the earlier 1st generation GL models. The twin carburettors shared much in common with the legendary RS models of the mid-70s, using the same intake manifold, however Honda updated the configuration by fitting twin velocity stacks to help increase bottom-end and mid-range response. The Civic “S” was available in Red, and in Black. The Civic platform also spawned a new car, with an emphasis on performance, called the Honda Prelude.
A restyled saloon version of this model was also sold, badged as the Ballade. This model was also made under licence by British Leyland, badged as the Triumph Acclaim, featuring new front and rear styling, as well as a revised interior.