Motormouth: Remembering the legendary EG6 Honda Civic - beng there, done that

Published by on . Updated on 26 Feb 2024

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1708390438605 Motormouth+ +Remembering+The+Legendary+Eg6+Honda+Civic+ +Featured

The DOHC VTEC 1.6-litre Civic VTi was a hot-hatch hero in the heartlands of Singapore back in the 1990s.

In those days, the racy three-door Honda hatchback was the stuff of driving dreams for an entire spectrum of young men in their prime - from army boys to reservists, from salesmen to workmen, from one ah beng to another. 

Indeed, it was the archetypal ah beng car in Singapore at the time, but in a good way. It even had a sedan version, which had less of an image issue than the hatchback but was similarly sporty, complete with a two-plus-two cabin that had a pair of individually sculpted backseats. 

The three-door was a terrific design which stood the test of time, like the greatest hits of a J-pop star. The works of Honda art were mainly that swoopy shape, grilleless nose, sideways door handles, and unique split tailgate with separately-openable glass screen. 

The cabin offered a ready-to-race driving position, unusual font seats with radical headrests, a low dashboard line, and excellent visibility. The stark grey interior plastics and thin rear bench detracted from the positive experience, but were hardly deal breakers  

I remember an EG6 in my armour unit’s Keat Hong camp which was owned (and regularly cleaned) by one of the cooks in the cookhouse. It was my real-world dream car at the time, parked permanently in my mind as my first car if I ever got the chance.

At the turn of the millennium (year 2000), I finally bought an EG6. It was eight years old and had over 170,000 kilometres on the odometer, but it was well-maintained. Despite its age and mileage, the Civic still felt tight, with nothing loose or creaky - a testament to the superb build quality of 1990s Hondas made in Japan. 

This car brought my boyracer fantasy to life, for better (feeling younger) or for worse (driving/dying faster). 

The double-wishbone suspension was a racetrack refugee playing vigorously on the roads, the aftermarket Momo steering wheel controlled the cornering so well, and that B16A engine was a Japanese paragon of power and smoothness, with mechanical reliability as a bonus. The five-speed manual gearbox was a smooth shifter, too. 

My Civic came with a free-flow Vision exhaust system, which got really LOUD when the engine was sprinting. The ridiculous noise was accompanied by real effect when the crankshaft was on the boil between 5000rpm and the soaring 8000rpm redline. 

The magic mark was at 5250rpm, which was where the high-lift VTEC cams kicked into action and took the VTI from fast to furious - like a climactic scene in a JAV (Japanese adult video) drama. The engine note also hardened into a wild snarl which made me smile - like an actor in a JAV drama after his money shot. 

Most amazingly, my EG6 Civic VTI’s Power of Dreams was powerful enough to bring me closer than ever to living my JAV (Jap adult vehicle) fantasy, because I used it to fetch a JDM race queen who was in town for the inaugural Singapore Auto Salon 2000. 

Her name was Reika, an 18-year-old student and part-time model, and my task was to bring her to supper with the event organisers. 

When the two of us hit the East Coast Parkway, I happily “kwee" VTEC and then she clapped while squealing in delight. Arigato, Reika. 

Indeed, I have beng there, done that.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1708390482868 Motormouth+ +Remembering+The+Legendary+Eg6+Honda+CivicHonda's B16A engine which powered the dreams of so many Singapore boyracers in the 1990s.

Download the Motorist App

The easiest and smartest way to manage your vehicle in Singapore.

Download Now

Download the Motorist App now. Designed by drivers for drivers, this all-in-one app lets you receive the latest traffic updates, gives you access to live traffic cameras, and helps you manage LTA and vehicle matters.

Did you know we have a Motorist Telegram Channel? Created exclusively for drivers and car owners in Singapore, you can get instant info about our latest promotions, articles, tips & hacks, or simply chat with the Motorist Team and fellow drivers.