Modern Civics start with the fourth generation car, which we examine from 1987 onwards. All in this guise were three-door hatches (though a saloon was added in December 1989). There was a baseline entry-level 1343cc DX hatch version but ignore it. Go for the 1.4-litre hatch or saloon with GL trim.
There was also a pretty CRX Coupe model with a 1.6-litre engine (also optional in the hatch from 1990). These variants were also offered with the superb 1.6-litre VTEC engine from 1990.
The fifth generation model was launched in 1991. A radical departure for Honda with swoopy, steeply raked lines, a stubby tail and a novel split two-piece tailgate. Again, the hatchback was three-door only, but a saloon was this time offered from the start.
There was an entry-level DX hatch, but again, the bulk of the sales were concentrated at mid-range level - 1.5-litre LSi in this case, where there was also a saloon on offer. There was also a fuel economy orientated VEi hatchback version, which claimed to be as economical as a diesel. A pretty Coupe was introduced in 1994, but offered only with the standard 1.5-litre engine.
The standard 1.6-litre engine could be found not only in both saloon and hatch but also in an unusual sporty model with lift-out roof panels - the CRX (not to be confused with the previous fourth generation Coupe model) which was launched in June 1992. This car was also offered with the potent VTi engine - also installed in the saloon and the hatchback.
The sixth generation Civic was launched early in 1996 as a larger, Escort-sized car (though it didn't look much bigger). A five-door Civic with a dedicated bodyshell had gone on sale the previous summer (June 1995). Now with three and five-door hatchbacks, a saloon and ultimately also a coupe and estate in its armoury, the Civic could attack a wider market. The CRX was discontinued.
Buyers could choose 1.4-litre power (three and five-door hatchbacks), 1.5-litre saloons and three-door hatchbacks, a 1.5 with a VTEC-E economy engine (five-door hatch), a 1.6 (Coupe and five-door hatch) and a 1.6 with VTi urge (mildly in the Coupe and five-door hatch, potently in the VTi three-door hatch and saloon). The saloon model was discontinued in the autumn of 1998. Early in 1999, the remaining three-door and Coupe models were mildly restyled, air conditioning added as standard and the VTi engine fitted to the Coupe. The range was phased out in early 2001, paving the way for a 3-door version of the new Civic 5-door scheduled for the Autumn.