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Old 09-29-2012, 12:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Civic efficiency question

I've been looking at mid to late 90s civics. I've also searched the forum here and it seems that the Civics with the greatest ecomodding potential from this era seem to end with the '97 model year?

I've found many used 94-97s for sale that say they get 36 to low 40 mpgs, even the automatics. The '98s through say 2001 or 2002 seem to top out at 31-32 mpg. Some same era GM midsize cars are capable of this. These are all freeway #'s of course.

Are the '98 and newer Civics that much heavier and/or lack of a lock up transaxle? The early 90s Civics seem to have the very highest stock mpg rating but up here you can't find any they are all rusted out.

What year Civics during the 1990s have the best ecomodding potential?

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Old 09-29-2012, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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yah, well the 98 99 2000 civics are the same as the 96 97 but i think after 2000 they did get a bit heavier and more safety and emissions friendly. who needs safety? i took the bumper support out of my 97 civc and some dumb girl stopped in the middle of an intersection and i tapped her bumper and all it did was break my zip ties the 92-95 vx and 96-98 hx are probly the best. some people get a crap load of milage out of the 89-91 civics because they are the lightest. they basically get heavier as the years go up. so depending on it you want the luxury of newer cars or just gas milage its kind of up to you. i think the 92-95 civic vx is the best option. light and the economy vtec leanburn mode. i have the 96-98 equivelent in the HX. these cars are built specifically for gas milage. they are like 200 pounds lighter than the other models. and remember. sun roofs are usually 100 pounds extra some times more.


one thing for sure, ANY civic will be better than a voyager lol. and make sure you get a manual. dont even bother with an auto. and id stay away from EX trim civics because they have "sportyer" transmissions with way shorter gearing and a little more power than the other civics and they have sunroofs and other heavy amenities. but yah. it is really easy to avarage well over 38 mpg in any civic.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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5th gen cars go from 92-95 and do very well.

the 6th gen cars 96-2000 do just about as well.

The trim and engine packages are where the big changes are.
you are looking for cx, dx, lx, vx, hx. Avoid the ex snd si as they are the "sporty" ones.

The best mod for any of these is fuel consumption information.

The 5th gen cars you have to go with the MPGuino the 6th you can use Ultra or scan gauge as they are OBD2.

92-94 had driver airbags. 95 had driver and passenger bags.
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Last edited by bestclimb; 10-03-2012 at 02:16 PM.. Reason: corrected generation
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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this is what i know correct me if im wrong.


92-95 civics commonly refered to as eg's, these in cx,dx,lx will get, in decent mechanical condition, about 38 highway for automatic and 40 highway for stick. the cx is very light no power anything, vx basiclly the same with lean burn engine, great for highway use. dx had 5 speeds, p/s, and a/c, lx added power locks and windows, ex and si had performance vtecs and short gears for acceleration and high rpms.

96-00 civics refered to as ej's had basiclly the same definition for the trim levels but hx was the fuel milage one. hope this helps.
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My parents have a '94 Civic LX manual with 270k miles. With the AC on going 75MPH, my dad gets about 39MPG. The '97 DX manual I had (which was theirs before I had it) seemed to get a couple less MPG under the same conditions. I'm assuming the 1.5l vs 1.6l and being lighter/smaller are what gave the '94 the edge. The tranny ratios were close enough that I didn't notice any difference.

All '91-95s of the same trim should get the same mileage, same with the '96-00s. I'm not sure where you're getting that '98 on get worse mileage. Going off of the Fuelly records for each year (this is all trims together), all the years in a generation are pretty close, and the '91-95s get a couple more MPG than '96-00.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for schooling me in civics class. I mentioned '98 as being worse mileage because the sellers of them say they are only getting 30-32 mpgs. Most pre '98s I've looked at are said to get several more miles per gallon. Oh I sold the voyager a week ago so I really need a good replacement.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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5 speeds are well worth it, worst transmission to get stuck with is the CVC unless you like spending time and money at transmission repair shops or you need a new hobby, they also waste a fair amount of gas.
FuelEconomy.gov lets you search and compare years and models of cars, of course they don't tell you the exact trim level of each car, but you will see on there that mileage can vary a great deal and that you can't just go by year.
For a low budget a Civic CX is going to be about as basic as you can get, yet they also have less to break so you save more in the long run there as well! the VX and HX tend to get the top dollar and if someone is mentioning what engine it has then it's most likely an engine swap and the car has been beaten and abused.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:45 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I checked fueleconomy.gov and to my surprise, the base, non-vtec manual '96-00s do get worse mileage as the years go by. However, it was only a couple MPG difference. I would be willing to bet that hypermiling/modding any of the same trims within a generation would give you the same mileage.

Are you sure the 30-32MPG ones weren't the EX trim? They have a more powerful engine and shorter gears.

Personally, my first choice would be a '91-95 DX or LX manual, followed by the same for the '96-00 if I couldn't find an older one in good shape. I wouldn't worry about a VX or HX unless you drive a lot of freeway miles or find a good deal.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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92 would be the first year of 5th gen, 91 is last year of the "squareish" body style of the 4rd gen. They are good cars too, but they have kind of an odd fuel injection system.
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Last edited by bestclimb; 10-03-2012 at 02:16 PM.. Reason: corrected generation
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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One consideration is that 96+ are OBD2, so you can use a ScanGauge or UltraGauge. Those can really help you refine your hypermiling technique if you use them well.

Earlier cars (well, the fuel-injected ones) can be set up to use the MPGuino, but that requires some splicing into the car's wiring which can be a little tricky. And you have to build the MPGuino yourself, or buy it from someone else who built it themselves.

-soD

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