Honda’s response to the oil crisis immediately proved particularly decisive. Especially over the pond. There, the Civic trumped most of its native competitors in both performance and economy.
Certainly the CVCC (Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion) version, which met the American emission standards without needing a catalytic converter or unleaded petrol, turned out to be a great uppercut.
John and Jane therefore usually left the Pinto and Vega for what they were to opt for a courtship with the little Japanese. It was less stormy with us, which means that finding a solid seventies Civic takes some courage and perseverance.
And if you find one, it will most likely run on the more common 1.2 liters. Well, that doesn’t have to be an issue, mechanically it turned out to be just as, if not even more reliable than that CVCC block. Same with the electronic components. Made in Japan, it turned out to be a solid guarantee already then.
No, if there’s one thing that should worry you, it’s rust. Civics of that era showed themselves to be so susceptible to corrosion that structural works often had to be done after three years to keep the Hondaatje running. So be sure to check the bottom plate and suspension components, in addition to all other visible nooks and crannies.
More demand than supply, which often means that you have to dig deep(er) into your pocket. To a certain extent that is also the case for the Civic, albeit that the financial sacrifice is always manageable. You have to be comfortable with around 5,000 euros, assuming you find one to your taste of course.
If you don’t care that the steering wheel is on the other side or if you want to embark on an import adventure, know that the second-hand range in the UK and US is many times larger and therefore cheaper.
The Nissan Micra though is actually a full generation younger. The same goes for the Toyota Starlet. The Mazda 1200/1300 shares the decade, but has never existed as a hatchback, while the Mitsubishi Colt has to give up in terms of cool.
This article also appeared in AutoWereld 405