Back when we had our What's the Cutoff Year For Japanese DOTS Cars poll, the image I used as an example was this '87 Honda Civic 4WD wagon. I'd meant to DOTS-ize this car soon afterward, but I kept getting distracted by cars and trucks that seemed so much more, well, interesting. But 3rd-gen four-wheel-drive Civics are rare and weird- hardly anyone bought them new, they turned into red powder in the rusty parts of the world, and California's stringent emissions tests have doomed many 80s Civics (some of which have the most complicated tangle of vacuum hoses ever placed in an engine compartment) to the cold jaws of The Crusher. So here we go- today the little four-wheelin' Civic gets to shine! And, since we had a DOTS Car of the Week Poll last Friday, let's have one today- after you check out the gallery, make your vote count!
1987 was the first year of Honda's so-called "Real Time" four-wheel-drive system, which engaged automatically. Toyota's 4WD Tercel wagon- which was a much bigger seller- still used a full manual selector for the 4WD system.
I've had a couple of the 2WD 3rd-gen Civic wagons, and they're incredibly useful machines. They can fit vast quantities of crap in the back, manage high-30s highway mileage, and are pretty quick (well, for what they are). Just don't overheat them, because they tend to blow head gaskets. I'm not sure about the mileage of the 4WD versions, though my experience with 2WD-versus-4WD Tercels suggests that it's not so great.
The front view of the Civic wagon looks a little odd, since it looks like a regular Civic that got weirdly tall. This example has been around the block a few times, with plenty of rough spots, but (if it can keep the smog tests clean and the head gasket intact) it should be around for many birthdays past its 20th.