1 Oct 2000
For the first time since 1979 Honda offered a Civic five-door hatchback.
Dubbed Vi, it featured a space efficient mono-box design and dash-sited gear lever, resulting in outstanding room for five passengers.
Power came courtesy of a revvy low-emission 96kW/155Nm 1.7-litre VTEC four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
It, along with the far more prosaic 88kW/150Nm 1.7-litre Civic GLi sedan, eschewed the model’s trademark multi-link front suspension for conventional struts – but handling, roadholding and ride properties in the Vi hatch were better than in any previous Civic.
But high prices stymied much sales growth, while the very-MPV like feel put off more traditional Civic buyers.
ABS anti-lock brakes became standard from early 2002, after an appearance in the limited edition VTi from May to July ’01.
Other specials included the body-kitted Indy hatch (October ’01) and LE sedan (October ’03).
The GLi sedan, sourced from Thailand, continued on with a minor facelift in early 2004, but the Japan-sourced Vi hatch underwent a more substantial makeover in October 2003.