The “Si” badge has always denoted something special from Honda, from the ’85 Civic and CRX that flaunted the new-fangled fuel injection on the sport model to the not-quite-a-Type R that will hopefully be gracing our roads later this year. Honda fanatics will continue to debate the best, but my favorite Civic generation has to be its fourth, popularly known as the “EF” Civic.
Honda apparently didn’t like the U.S. at the time, as other markets were blessed with hotter engines, some with VTEC to boost high-end power. It took enterprising enthusiasts, some with more energy than money, to develop a trend to swap these powerplants into American-market Civics.
I recall test-driving one such swapped Civic, put together so poorly that the shift lever — not the knob, mind you, but the entire lever — came out in my hand on a 3-2 downshift.
No, I didn’t buy that car.
TTAC Commentator 70Cougar writes:
I am probably the first owner of a Civic Si to ever want to downsize his rims, so I’m looking to the expert on -1 matters: you. (Woot! –SM)
I have a 2007 Honda Civic Si sedan with the factory 17-inch wheels. I’ve always preferred the same generation EX’s 16-inch five spoke rims, and I wouldn’t mind a smoother ride and cheaper replacement tires if I still get decent handling performance out of the 16s.
Would the 16-inch rims fit around the brakes on the Si and otherwise safely function on my car? Would there be a significant decline in handling performance?
A purported screenshot of a Honda ordering screen over at CivicX shows the new turbo-powered, tenth-generation Civic will be made available with a six-speed manual transmission starting next year.
The only engine available with a row-your-own box for this year’s Civic is the naturally aspirated K20 2-liter four that cranks 158 horsepower — 16 horsepower fewer than the turbocharged mill — in the base LX model. Starting with the EX-T model, Honda is planting its 1.5-liter turbo into many of its trims with a CVT only to start.
The recently announced Civic Coupe will get the same powertrain options as the sedan — manual only on the base model, CVT everywhere else — when it goes on sale in March. It’s unclear if the coupe would receive a mid-year update to add manual transmissions.
BMW has M, Audi has a whole alphabet and Honda has Si. In truth, just the Civic has Si. Honda’s “Sport injection” trim started back in the 1980s but never expanded beyond its compact offerings in the U.S. Honda’s performance trim also never expanded beyond sharpened responses, a modest dollop of power and some looks-fast trim additions. The first Honda Si model came to our shores in 1985, but the first wasn’t a Civic — it was a Prelude. The Civic Si joined us a year later in 1986. But I digress.
Cars like the Civic Si are popular with journalists like me. The reason is simple, quite like the Civic itself. Unlike some performance packages, the Si treatment still favors sharpened responses and improved feel over simply jamming an over-boosted turbo engine under the hood. While the later is obviously a hoot and a half, the former is ultimately more pleasing to my peculiar tastes.
I needed a car. Any car. My dad and I were limping my dying ’85 Nissan Maxima around town to multiple car dealers, looking for an appropriate replacement. I was 19, I think, and since I commuted thirty miles a day to college (when I went to class) I needed reliable, efficient transport.
A second-generation CRX, much like this one, caught my eye and we climbed in. One problem arose, however, as both my dad and I were well north of 300 pounds each, and the stock springs were sagging a bit. Oh, and the streets near the dealer had rough, rutted cobblestones. We were lucky to return with an intact exhaust, and I reluctantly moved on to a roomier Accord coupe.
1988 CRX Si
My buddy John is one of the smartest guys I know and over the many years we have been friends John has always been a step or two ahead of most people, myself included. In 1988, when I was selling spark plugs and oil for just a scratch over minimum wage, John who is just a few months older than I, was writing computer programs and maintaining the data systems for a fairly large shipping company. He has always been a responsible, hardworking man but, to be honest, he is also a bit of a computer nerd. (Read More…)