For 1988, the wheelbase was increased to 98.4 inches (250 cm). The body was redesigned with a lower hood line and more glass, giving less drag. The model range was fairly limited for the US, whereas the European and Japanese markets had a wider range. A 1500 cc 16-valve fuel injected engine giving 92 hp (68 kW) was used in the DX hatchback/sedan, new LX sedan and the American market wagon. The Si and four-wheel drive wagons were powered by a 1.6 L 16-valve engine, rated at 108 hp (81 kW). The base hatchback had a 70 hp (52 kW) version of the same 8-valve engine. All engines sold in the US were fuel injected. Carbureted models were available elsewhere. All Civics had a double-wishbone suspension. In 1990, the EX trim was introduced. Four-wheel drive wagons had standard steel wheels (white steel wheels with matching center caps where optional), a 6-speed manual transmission (with a super-low gear left of first) or an optional 4-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive was also available on the sedan in some markets.
Base model of the 4th generation Civic was a 1.2L SOHC, this single carbureted engine was not available for the European and American market. For Europe the base model was the 1.3Luxe (23L/23U for the Japanese market) 1.3L SOHC single carbureted engine. Next engine was the 1.4L which was not available in the USA and Japan. It was a 1.4L SOHC dual carbureted engine that was available only in 1988 and 1989. (replaced by the 1.5i GL and GLX in 1990). The 1.5L SOHC engine came in a wide variety, dual-point injection, single carbureted and dual carbureted. Those engines were available in the JDM 25X/25XT, USDM DX and the USDM STD model (USDM base model), EDM 1.5i GL and GLX (only difference between EDM GL and GLX is a different standard equipment and a different FDR). The LX model offered over the base/DX model such accoutrements as power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, and cruise control. Next in line was the 1.6L SOHC. Simply 1.6i for the European market and Si for the American market (US top model). (not to be confused with the JDM Si which is a 1.6L DOHC) Second highest model was the JDM Si. It was equipped with a 1.6L DOHC (ZC) engine and delivered 130hp. The EDM 1.6i GT and 1.6i-16 (depends on country) had a ZC like 1.6L DOHC engine and had a stock 124hp (D16Z5) or 130hp (D16A9). All DOHC engines are equipped with Honda’s multipoint fuel injection system (although there seems to have been a 1.6L DOHC non-VTEC with dual carburetors for the 4th gen.). Top model of the hatchback was the Japanese SiR with the 160hp B16A engine. In Europe the SiR was called 1.6i-VT and had a similar B16A1 engine. These top models of the 4th generation Civic were one of the first Honda’s that were equipped with the famous VTEC system (the NSX was the first, the JDM 90/91 Integra XSi/RSi also had a B16A). See the VTEC section for more info on the SiR and 1.6i-VT.
In 1990 the 4th gen Civic had a light “facelift”. Some things that changed was the front bumper design, the front corner lights no longer had the two screws on the outside, the gauge cluster cover shape slightly changed, tail light units design changed and USDM Civics’ got door mounted seatbelts (88-89 frame mounted).