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Four-Wheel Fun: 1988 Honda Civic Wagon RT4WD

One of my favorite models in Honda’s long history as an automaker is the Civic Wagon, especially when it features the company’s Real-Time 4WD system. Perhaps I’m biased because I once owned one of these fine Civic variants, but if mine were anywhere near as well-kept as this 1988 Honda Civic Wagon RT4WD that’s for sale here on eBay, perhaps it would still be part of my stable.

This Civic Wagon is available in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey with a clean title. The seller mentions that they purchased this vehicle from a Minnesota-based Mazda dealer and could not pass up this low-mile compact. Additionally, the seller includes a clean Carfax report stating that the vehicle has never been in any accidents.

The gold paint on this Civic still shines brightly and the body is very clean, especially considering that this a 31-year-old economy car. There are a few small dings and dents throughout, but the quarter panels appear to be rust-free, and the general condition of the exterior is remarkable.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find a brown interior that is also in similarly impressive shape. Though these Civics are very small, the interiors are surprisingly roomy, and this one is an all-original time capsule.

Like all 4th-gen RT4WD wagons, this Civic features the 1.6-liter “D16A6” 4-cylinder engine. The single-cam workhorse pairs with a 6-speed manual transmission to drive all four wheels, and the drivetrain only has traveled 66,715 miles. One of the most interesting things about the manual transmissions on these RT4WD Civics is the inclusion of a low gear for rough terrains.

At the time of writing this article, bidding is at $3,700. Could you see yourself adding this unique Civic to your collection?


  1. That Guy

    One of my good friends is 6’8″ and likes driving small cars. His choices have always been limited, as you might imagine. That’s why he owned a Civic wagon like this one for fifteen years. It was about the only car he liked, that he could also fit in.

    These days, he drives a Mazda 3 sedan. It’s not a small car, really, just a compact. I don’t think a truly small car he can drive comfortably exists anymore. Compromises were necessary.

    Like 1
    • Jon A

      Any generation of the new Minis will accommodate him. They are surprisingly roomy. A former boss, who was 6’7”, had a first gen Cooper. He told me he was more comfortable in it than his previous Passat wagon. N

      Like 0
      • TheGasHole

        John i was just about to mention the Mini Cooper, too. I’m 6’3″ and have a 2012 Clubman and have all the leg room and head room I could ask for.

        Like 0
  2. Tom Carmicheal

    This is sad not a barn find it’s like bic lighter drive it till it’s used up and throw it away.

    Like 1
    • davew833

      And yet you took the time to read the post and comment on it. If there’s something here I’m not interested in, I just move on to the next one.

      Like 19
  3. Barry Traylor

    I hope this finds a good home. I have been driving small cars for decades as I really like them although they are getting harder to find as they just seem to be getting larger. So many people today seem to want to drive huge SUVs, etc.

    Like 2
  4. Will Fox

    I bought a new `90 Civic hatchback 4-sp. base model, and to this day I have never owned a car that was more trouble-free; it sold me on Hondas so well, I got my entire family into a Honda of on variant or another. This wagon would make an excellent second car; clean, relatively low miles, with plenty of room. Wish I had the spare bucks right now; it would be mine!

    Like 4
  5. PatrickM

    This is a nice looking little car. I’m only 5′ 7″ tall, so it would definitely work for me. Too bad it isn’t a little closer. I just might take a closer look and it just might tempt me to buy it. Price is good, IMO. seller has sure taken the time to clean it up properly. I just wish there were some underside pics.

    Like 0
  6. Fiete T.

    Honda still makes these today…they are called CRV’s. I think it stands for Civic Recycled Vehicle

    Like 1
  7. CJinSD

    There’s something to be said for sheer excellence, which Hondas embodied until CAFE started ratcheting up again this decade. In 1989 I was in college and spent the summer working at a new car dealer that sold Hondas, Oldsmobiles and Saabs at one store and Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge and Subaru at another. Hondas were on another plane from anything else we sold, but with that came a repellent arrogance from the people involved in distributing and marketing them. Many went to prison.

    We had none of the Real-Time wagons in stock, and I asked why. I was told that the Honda distributor kept the supply really tight, and that was great because we could sell the few we received for as much as we wanted. The dealership had no interest in selling lots of cars when they could shaft a few people out of lots of money.

    Maybe I can finally realize my ambition to drive one of these. I’ll have to follow the auction.

    Like 1
  8. Ralph

    When Burgess Meredith was the voice of Honda TV ads, they gave him a choice of any new Honda to drive for a year as part of the package, up to and including the then new Acura line.

    He chose one of these every year for as long as they were available.

    Like 0
  9. Andrew Franks Member

    I have one and it’s terrific.

    Like 1
  10. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Yea, this is a 5-speed.
    Most people would not include the SL (Super Low) gear to call it a 6-speed.

    That gear is for creeping, and for climbing or descending (offroad) hills.

    Nice car, but I believe that a major portion of it has been repainted. That usually means bodywork underneath the color. I think I’d have to see it in person to decide which tone, and therefore which side, was untouched, and which was redone.

    Like 0
  11. Russ Johnson

    Back in the day, I wanted a Civic hatchback in the worst way. Couldn’t ever pull the trigger to buy one new, though.

    Like 0

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