The EG Civic, available from the 1992 through the 1995 model year, was offered in three body styles (two-door, four-door, hatchback) and five trim levels, for a total of nine different possible combinations. For simplicity's sake, we are going to focus on the most oft swapped and hotly sought after body style, the hatchback. The DX and EX Coupes, however, are also popular and comparable in most specifications.
In what is largely considered one of the most soulless of the Civic generations, the hatchback is without debate the most attractive body style of the bunch. The rear of the car is slightly tear dropped, the roof dropping in height, the waistline between the B and C pillars rising, and the greenhouse tapering in width as it nears the hatch to assist in a greater illusion of static dynamism. It works. A hatch-mounted spoiler complements the shrinking roof line and adds performance appeal to all trim levels (and let's face it, with the poor wheel choices made by Honda, the cars can use it). The EG also featured the wonderfully useful clamshell hatch, where much like some SUVs, the tailgate folds down as the glass, suspended on struts, lifts up to aid in loading. Sleek, elegant and sporty, it stands as an example of successful small car design, both a pragmatic people mover and endearingly attractive.
The four trim levels offered on the hatchback are the CX, DX, VX and Si. The CX is the cheapest model, in 1995 boasting an MSRP of $9,750, growing to $13,540 for an Si. To make things complicated, Honda put a slightly different engine in each trim level, starting with the 8V D15B8 in the CX making a paltry 70 hp and attached to a five-speed manual transmission. The mid-level DX received a 16V version, bumping horsepower to 102 and making for a car with sufficient scoot. The VX engine added VTEC-E and, with its lean-burning technology, produces only slightly less power, while being significantly more fuel efficient. The sporty Si received a slight bump in displacement and received normal VTEC for 125 hp. The added weight of all the associated luxury items standard on an Si, however, comes close to offsetting the performance advantage offered by the larger engine.
One of the main reasons the EG hatch is so sought after is the fact that any B-series engine (B16, B17, B18, B20) will bolt in using stock components; shoehorning in a Prelude engine requires only a mount kit. Wiring is, of course another issue; only the VXs and Sis came wired for VTEC, although on Canadian-made models and all '92s and some '93s, the under-dash VTEC wiring exists, but is not connected to the engine wiring harness. Using an engine harness from any five-speed EG, Si or EX Coupe makes the B-series swap a plug-and- play operation. Otherwise, you have to run the VTEC wires, but that is the content of another swap article.
Suspension set-up is the same across the trim levels, although the Si received a 21mm front anti-sway bar. In fact, the EG Civic chassis is identical to the third-generation Integra (1994-2001), greatly expanding the number of available suspension parts. The EG has been rightly accused of feeling as if the suspension is softer and suffering from more body roll than the previous EF chassis. It does, however, offer more suspension travel (thus the raised front cowl) and by changing the front strut rod from the EF to a control arm set-up, better suspension geometry.
The CX, DX and VX all received dinky ventilated front discs and rear drums with power assist, and the Si received rotors almost an inch larger in diameter and rear discs. The gas-sipping VX was the only trim level to receive alloy wheels, which, at 13 x 5-inches, need to be replaced anyway. The narrow 14-inch steel wheels found on the Si feature oh-so-sporty plastic wheel covers that get tossed as well. The Si and automatic-equipped DXs offer a power-assisted steering rack, most desirable for its quicker steering (3.58 vs. 3.88 turns, lock-to-lock.)
In 1994, the line-up received a freshening, the most important of which is standard dual airbags across the board. There were other small cosmetic changes like body colored paint on the side grills in the front air dam but, as a whole, these did nothing to change the character of the car.
The miserly VX weighs the lightest with a 2,094-lb curb weight, with the CX not far behind at 2,108 lbs, the DX at 2,178 lbs and the Si weighing a portly 2,390 lbs. (The DX Coupe, by comparison, weighs in at 2,234 lbs, with the EX Coupe at 2,390 lbs.) The VX and CX are plastered with less sound-deadening materials than the DX or especially the Si. Otherwise, the difference in weight has to do with lighter wheels on the VX, lack of air conditioning and, on the DX, additional small items like an adjustable steering column, and cargo cover, so by buying any of those three models with plans to modify them, you are starting out on fairly equal ground.
The Si has a different interior, adjustable steering column, intermittent windshield wipers, a cargo cover, quartz clock, passenger vanity mirror, driver's foot rest, body-colored power mirrors, upgraded sound system, and most importantly, a power moonroof, which adds significant weight in the worst possible place, at the tallest point in the car. It also reduces headroom by half an inch, which can be the difference between your helmet hitting the roof or not. Also of note is that only the VX and Si contain tachometers in their instrument clusters.
How much can you expect to pay for an EG hatch? According to Edmunds.com, a 1992 base-model CX sold by a private party should go for $2,138 assuming 100,000 miles, and $4,310 for an end of series '95. At the top end of the spectrum, a 1992 Si should sell for $3,200, with a 1995 model going for $5,672.
How did we learn so much about the specifics? We spent the last month researching the technical stuff and looking daily for our own EG for Project Civic. Tune in next month to see the blue pile of 175,000-mile Honda parts we paid too much for.