the ga16 engine will beat a non v-tech civic easy, when the two engines were dynoed the civic showed jagged uneven curves. the ga however had very streight lines. besides the ga has more horsepower and torque
The only civic I know of in those years are the ce's, ex models that had the 1.5L motors. Those things only have 70HP, but weren't weak by any means. One of the best cars I've owned next to the sentra. Even though I think the Sentra will win since I sold off the civic too early in it's life.
as long as there are good clean shifts the sentra should win. the SOHC civics tend to be peppy and if the powerband exists itsw wayyy up in the 5.5k-7.5k rpm range. also the issue of torque comes. both cars suck torque wise but the nissan has more torque than the briggs and stratton motor your up against so you should be able to take the civic.