The 1998 Honda Civic SiR was the closest thing to have from a Type R in the 90s

1998 was quite the year for the Philippine automotive market. Cars like the first generation Honda CR-V, the Mitsubishi Lancer GLXi Limited with its unique manual-select automatic transmission, and the race-inspired Nissan Sentra GT-S all made their debut that year.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

However, one car stood out from the rest of the pack, the Honda Civic SiR. At a time when most 1.6-liter engines in the compact car segment produced between 100 to 120 PS, Honda Cars Philippines Inc (HCPI) came out swinging in 1998 with the B16A2. The high-revving DOHC VTEC engine can rev up to 8,200 rpm and makes 100 PS per liter, making it the most powerful Civic at the time.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

Despite its small size, the high-tech (and rev-happy) inline-four put out 160 PS at 7600 rpm and 150 Nm of torque at 7000 rpm. Power is then sent to the front wheels via a slick-shifting 5-speed manual gearbox. Did we mention the Civic SiR came with an oil cooler and a knock sensor as standard? Pretty cool to have especially since these cars were often used for track days and are souped up to make more horsepower and torque. In fact, some Civic SiRs were turbocharged to make upwards of 200 PS or more.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

Complementing its engine is an all-double wishbone suspension setup with stabilizers, a factory front strut brace, and powerful disc brakes on all four corners.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

Aside from the fact it came with the B16A2 under the hood, the SiR also had plenty of features which are now standard equipment on almost every new car today. These include power windows, power door locks, power-adjustable side mirrors, a seat height adjuster for the driver, seat back pockets, and a powered radio antenna. Those who owned a SiR from before will also remember that this particular Civic came with a Kenwood AM/FM radio complete with an in-dash CD player, a far cry from the trunk-mounted disc changer some cars had at the time.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

Exterior-wise, Honda made sure the SiR stood out from your regular Civic by giving it some notable changes. These include the mesh-type grille, a chrome exhaust finisher, the DOHC VTEC sticker on the doors, the signature 15-inch alloy wheels, and of course, the SiR badge on the rear placed below the right taillight.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

Today, the 11th generation Civic makes 178 PS along with 240 Nm of torque thanks to a 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo engine. Sure, it now makes 18 PS more and generates 90 Nm of extra pulling power. However, the Civic today is a much larger vehicle and is also heavier, tipping the scales between 1,314 to 1,377 kg. The Civic SiR, on the other hand, is smaller and only weighs 1,120 kg. Combined with the simpler mechanics and electronics from the late 90s, 160 PS from a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter engine is and always will be quite the experience.

26 years ago, Honda Cars PH gave us the Civic SiR image

If you're looking to get one today that's in great condition and has been unmolested by tuners, prepare to shell out some serious cash.

Shout out to Car Brochure Collection PH for taking us back to the late 90s.