Back in 1989, the Civic Si was still something of an upstart in the hot hatch ranks and definitely had something to prove. Remember, this was a about decade before the tuner boom of the late '90s gave these Hondas massive popularity. Though, the writing was on the wall for eventual success, based on the MotorWeek review. The show called it "stylish" and was attracted to vehicle's sharp handing, even with no power steering. Like today, power was lacking compared to major competitors like he VW GTI, but Honda's 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 108 hp and 100 lb-ft still received some praise.
As always, it's fascinating to see how these now beloved models stack up when looking back. The high-performance Civic might be due for another surge in popularity too, if the forthcoming Type R from Europe ever makes to the US.