1999 Civic New Car Test Drive
For the past two years, the Honda Civic has dominated the small-car sales charts. That makes it not only a prime candidate for new customers, but also a well-defined target for every carmaker playing in the same league. For Honda, the Civic is a trademark car with a successful track record extending back more than 30 years. And the latest line of Civics seem poised to continue the winning streak.
How can this phenomenon be explained? For starters, clever engineering, good assembly quality and a comprehensive menu of standard and optional features create an entry-level car that provides more than basic transportation. The expected virtues -- primarily fuel economy and small exterior dimensions -- are there, but good looks, comfort and better-than-average driving pleasure are also integral parts of the Civic driving experience. Better yet, these attributes apply to all Civics, regardless of equipment level.
But there is another element that keeps the Civic on top. The small Honda is not one car, but several. In sedan form, it is a family hauler. But in hatchback or coupe trim it's a sporty runabout. It can be the stingiest of gas-sippers or deliver more performance than you might expect, depending on which engine is installed.
Against members of its class, the Civic has been the pick of the litter for several years. It still is.