The fifth generation Honda Civic debuted in Japan on September 9, 1991. The Civic was larger than its predecessor, had a more aerodynamic body and the wheelbase was increased to 257 cm (101.3 inches) for the three-door hatchback and 262 cm (103.2 inches) for the four-door sedan. The wagon was also dropped for overseas markets, while the previous generation station wagon (“Shuttle”) continued in Japan and Europe.
At its introduction, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award for the second time.
This generation of Civic used lightweight materials to create a fuel efficient economy car. Compared to the previous generation, the cowl was raised, which allowed for more suspension travel. Along with that change, the ride became softer than that of the previous generation, which provided a more compliant ride at expense of crisper handling.
In addition, vehicles with the 1.6 L SOHC VTEC 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) engines such as the Si hatchback and EX coupe models found in the United States, provoked popularity of the (relatively) high-performance 1.6 L inline-four segment. In South Africa a unique model with the B18B3 from the Acura Integra RS was specially built to fill the gap left by the absence of the DOHC B16A VTEC engine in the range.
Trims available in the two-door coupé body style, introduced for the 1993 model year, were the DX (EJ2), EX, and EX-S (EJ1), for the United States Domestic Market (USDM), and the DX, DX “Special Edition” (EJ2), and Si (EJ1) for the Canadian Domestic Market (CDM). The coupé, built in both Canada and the United States, was also exported to European and Japanese markets. A left-hand drive version of the Civic Coupé was released as a limited edition in Japan, imported from the United States, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Honda Primo dealer network in 1994.
Introduced in 1992, trims available in the hatchback body style in the U.S. and Canada were the CX, VX, DX (EH2 models) and Si (EH3), however the VX and Si models were discontinued in Canada after model year 1993, while the DX was discontinued after 1994 (leaving only the base CX model). With a total interior room (passenger and luggage) of 90 cu.ft., the hatchback was classified by EPA of U.S. as subcompact.
CX: The economical CX was the base model equipped with all-manual features, and power brakes. In the U.S., it came with the 8-valve 70 hp (52 kW) 1.5L D15B8 engine and manual transmission. With 42/48 miles per gallon (mpg) (city/hwy) [revised to 2008 EPA rating: 35/43 mpg city/hwy] or 40/47 mpg (city/hwy) [revised to 2008 EPA rating: 33/42 mpg city/hwy], the CX was the second most fuel-efficient Civic model of the fifth generation, after the VX. CX models in Canada came with the same 16-valve 102 hp 1.5L D15B7 engine as in the DX -model, but could also be ordered with automatic transmission which also came with power steering. The 1995 CDM CX models (sometimes colloquially referred to as the “CX-Plus”) added the rear wiper/washer as a standard feature, and could be ordered with side mouldings and manual passenger-side mirror.
VX: During the late 1980s, and the early 1990s, as a result of high gasoline prices, and the consumer demand for relief, automobile companies, particularly Toyota, and Honda competed to see who could field the most fuel efficient production automobile. The Civic VX was Honda’s entry for 1992.
Fitted with the same manual transmission as the USDM CX, the VX was identical to the base model CX except that it gained improved fuel efficiency from various weight reduction methods such as reduced trim and molding, VX model-specific lightweight 13″ aluminum alloy wheels, 165/70/R13 tires, and through a 92 hp (69 kW) 1.5 L (D15Z1) VTEC-E engine. These features on the VX yielded 48/55 mpg (city/hwy) [revised to 2008 EPA rating: 39/49 mpg city/hwy] or 44/51 mpg (city/hwy) [revised to 2008 EPA rating: 36/46 mpg city/hwy]
The D15Z1 engine’s efficiency was enhanced by placing cam followers(bearings) at every cam lobe, to reduce friction, the use of only two piston rings per cylinder, to reduce friction, and the ability to burn an ultra lean(for the time) fuel air mixture at idle, and below 2500 rpm at low load. This was achieved by only opening one valve during the intake stroke, rather than both, below 2500 rpm engine speed, placing the multiport fuel injectors very near the intake valves, and by using an ultra sensitive oxygen (lambda) sensor. The oxygen sensor is mounted on the cast iron exhaust manifold, to be as close to the cylinders as possible, so the sensor will be as hot as possible for more accurate readings. It has two O2 measurement electrochemical cells, rather than the single cell that at the time was universal. This same model sensor has been adopted by racing teams to monitor the combustion in each cylinder of racing engines during the tuning process, one per cylinder, because of its sensitivity.
The opening of only one intake valve below 2,500 RPM results in much more of the pressure drop between atmospheric pressure, and the inside of the cylinder to be across the valve than would otherwise be the case. This results in an exceptionally turbulent flow, very good mixing of the charge, very high speed flame propagation at ignition, high resistance to predetonation (knock), and very low amounts of unburned hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide, and increased engine torque, and power in both lean burn mode, and at more normal fuel-air mixtures, below 2,500 rpm. As a result of, the increased torque, and power at low rpm, the engine’s torque, and power curves are between those of normally aspirated gasoline, and diesel engines. Since the VX has what was for the time an ultra low coefficient of aerodynamic drag of 0.30 cd, the car could operate at highway speeds in lean burn mode.
The D15Z1 engine was considered revolutionary for its day. To this day, the VX remains a favorite of Hypermilers.
One of the few rocks Honda left unturned in search of better fuel economy was increasing the final drive ratio of the VX, usually expressed as the number of engine revolutions per mile in the transmission’s top gear. Since the ratio of the VX is identical to the CX, despite the engine’s greater power, low end torque, and the car’s lower coefficient of drag the use of a higher final drive ratio would have resulted in a drivable car, with even higher fuel economy. The lower than necessary final drive ratio results in a vehicle that is remarkably quick off the line, for one that can get 50 MPG on the highway. A higher ratio could have been accomplished by transmission modifications, such as an overdrive top gear, a dual range transmission, or simply by using larger diameter wheels, in conjunction with a wide ratio transmission, so there would be sufficient torque on the driving wheels in first gear.
In Canada, the VX was rated by Transport Canada fuel consumption estimate: 4.7L/100 km city and 4.3L/100 km hwy. Other added features were an 8000 rpm tachometer with redline at 6000 rpm, lightweight 13-inch (330 mm) aluminum alloy wheels, as well as additional front & rear under-body trim additions to improve aerodynamic flow. The VX was also equipped with an aluminum alternator bracket, an aluminum front driver’s side engine mount, and a lightweight crank pulley. In addition, the instrument cluster of the CX and VX featured a shift indicator light that would notify the driver when to shift upwards in order to achieve optimum fuel economy. To this day, the CX & VX models are lauded as one of the only gasoline-powered cars that rival the fuel economy of today’s hybrids and diesels. In the March 2010 issue of Car & Driver for example, it mentions its long-term test car, a 2009 VW TDI Jetta with 6-speed dual-clutch auto transmission, got worse fuel mileage (38 mpg) than their 1992 Honda Civic VX test car (which got 41 mpg) and 2000 Honda Insight hybrid (48 mpg).
DX: The standard model was the more powerful DX, with a 102 hp (76 kW) 1.5 L D15B7 engine, manual passenger side mirror (after 1992), tilt steering, intermittent wipers, side mouldings, rear wiper/washer, and rear cargo shelf as standard equipment. Despite the higher horsepower power plant, the DX returns real-world mileage of 38 city / 45 hwy.
Si: The Si model replaced rear drum brakes with discs, added a power moonroof with tilt, cruise control, a dashboard clock, a 9000 rpm tachometer with a 7200 rpm redline, plastic wheel covers on 14 inch wheels, power side mirrors (body coloured, beginning in 1993), body-coloured door handles, and a 125 hp (93 kW) 1.6 L single-overhead cam D16Z6 VTEC engine with manual transmission. It enabled the car to hit 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 16.3 seconds at 86 mph (138 km/h). VTEC activated on the intake side and not the exhaust side, which was the result of the spark plug blocking the area where the cam follower would be. In 1994, rear speakers and optional ABS were also added.
In other markets (Australia, Japan, Latin America) the Si received the 1.6 D16A8/9 DOHC non-VTEC engine, with 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp). At this time, however, the Si was not the most powerful variant of the Civic sold elsewhere: In Europe, Honda also offered the Civic VTi, which featured a 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) B16A2 engine, and the JDM SiR, SiR-II, and SiR-S carried an even more powerful B16A engine, which made 170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp). Japan also received a VTi model with a 1.5 litre engine similar to the D16Z6, with 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp).
In European markets the trims available were the DX (EG3/1.3 L; 75 PS Engine code:D13B2), LSi (EG4/1.5 L 90 PS Engine code:D15B2), VEi (EG4/1.5 L SOHC VTEC-E 92 PS Engine code:D15Z1), ESi (EG5/1.6 L SOHC VTEC 125 PS Engine code:D16Z6), and VTi (EG6/1.6 L DOHC VTEC 160 PS Engine code:B16A2)
Trims available in the USDM sedan body style were the DX, LX (EG8) and EX (EH9), while the CDM models were branded slightly differently as the LX, LX “Special Edition” (1994–95), EX (EG8) and the EX-V (1992–93) (EH9). In Japan, a four-door sedan was introduced called Japanese: Civic Ferio, sold at Honda Primo dealerships, while a more upscale version was called the Honda Domani sold at Honda Clio. In Japan, the “Ferio” name was used from 1992 until 2006 on all sedans, regardless of trim packages installed.
The four-door wagon was not updated for this generation platform, and continued to use the previous generation internationally until February 21, 1996, when it was replaced by the Honda Orthia and Honda Partner sold only in Japan.
All DX and LX models used the D15B7 a 16-valve SOHC engine rated at 102 bhp (76 kW; 103 PS) and 98 ft⋅lbf (133 N⋅m) of torque. The USDM CX models had the D15B8 which is an eight-valve non-VTEC engine rated at 70 bhp (52 kW; 71 PS) while the CDM models came with the D15B7. The VX had the D15Z1 (VTEC-E engine) capable of 92 bhp (69 kW; 93 PS). The USDM EX / CDM EX-V, and the Si had the D16Z6 SOHC VTEC engine (125 hp (93 kW)).
USDM Curb Weights
|CX Hatch||VX Hatch||Si Hatch||DX Hatch|
|DX Sedan||LX Sedan||EX Sedan||DX Coupe||EX Coupe|
All weights listed in this table are in lbs.
In Europe, the DX has the D13B2 (hatchback EG3), the LSI has the D15B2 (hatchback EG4, sedan EG8) and D15B7 (coupé EJ2), the VEi has the D15Z1 VTEC-E (hatchback EG4 and sedan), the ESi has the D16Z6 (hatchback EG5 and sedan), and the VTi had the B16A2 (EG6/EG9).
In Japan, as well as a few other export locations, the SIR was offered the B16A2/3 (160 PS DOHC VTEC) and VTI with D15B (130 PS SOHC VTEC). The D15B shares the same head as the US Civic Si (D16Z6) but features a unique block, crank, and rods. the car shared the 1.5 L displacement of the other D15 blocks, but the rods were the same length as the D16’s (137mm) and a better rod to stroke ratio (1.63) rather than the normal D15’s ratio of 1.59. Despite this, the crank and bearing sizes were not the same.
In the Middle East, the EX has the D16Z9 (sedan EH5) and the VTi (hatchback & coupé, EJ2) has the B16A2/3 engine.
In Indonesia, the fifth generation Civic has two body styles, sedan (nicknamed “Genio”) and 3-door hatch (“Estilo”). Both has the same D16 SOHC engine that produced 120-130 HP and were available with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.
In the Philippines, the DX and LX has the D15 SOHC engine (sedan and hatchback) and the ESi (sedan) has the PH16 SOHC engine.
Japan only. There is EL, MX, ETI, VTI, EXI, SIR.
EL is D15B single carb, MX is D15B dual carb, ETI D15B fuel injected VTEC E, VTI D15B fuel injected with VTEC, EXI is 1.6 liter With VTEC although the power rating is the same as VTI (128hp-130ps) the torque is a bit higher than the VTI. for the sedan or saloon in Japan it was called the Civic Ferio.