Honda Unveils Civic Si Specs After Type R Buzz Dies Down

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Honda needed to put some distance between the much-anticipated Civic Type R and the forthcoming Si before giving up any additional specifications. With so much buzz surrounding the 306-horsepower Type R’s North American debut, any news on the more modest Si would have been lost in a sea of Honda fanboy fury.

Still, the automaker was probably also aware that some enthusiasts might get a little snippy when they find out that the Si’s massaged 1.5-liter mill won’t see significant horsepower gains over the previous naturally aspirated engine. In fact, it makes the same 205 hp as the old model.

The automaker’s earlier slip that the Si would produce 192 lb-ft of torque from a 1.5-liter engine held true. While the previous generation’s 2.4-liter churned out 170 lb-ft, the new car adds a dollop more and puts its power down earlier in the rev range. That is certain to annoy some grizzled VTEC veterans who think every sporting Honda should have its motor peak right at the redline. However, the practical benefits of lower-end torque will definitely be appreciated by regular people.

Mated to a short-throw six-speed manual transmission, the new Si motor hits peak horsepower 1,300 rpm lower than with the previous incarnation, and maximum torque arrives 2,300 rpm sooner. Honda also claims that power is sustained significantly longer throughout.

Other Honda promises include reduced weight and a much more rigid chassis than the former vehicle. Si-specific goodies include a helical limited-slip differential, 12.3-inch front brake rotors, adaptive dampers, and selectable driving modes with variable steering ratios. There is also a factory option to wrap the 18-inch wheels with 235/40 R18 performance rubber.

Changes in appearance from the unsporting Civic are evident but not gregarious. The large honeycomb-filled air inlets, black accenting, and rear spoiler serve to easily distinguish the Si as a performance variant but nothing seems quite as over-the-top as on the Type R. Meanwhile, the interior receives bolstered seating, Si badging, unique trim pieces, red accented displays, and sport pedals.

Aimed directly at the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus ST, Honda is pricing the Civic Si in the mid-$20,000 range. Many will complain that the power doesn’t rationalize the price, but don’t forget that the Civic isn’t quite so portly as the other two. It might not win any drag races but it should be able to hold its own on a tight track.

The new Civic Si sedan and coupe will hit dealers next month.

[Images: Honda]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Apr 08, 2017

    Well, disappointed with the non-existent power gain but not shocked. I'm going to guess that this had something to do with wanting to also use the motor in the heavy CR-V. Guess that's to be expected given how hefty automatic CUVs are the bread and butter now. They're not gonna make a specialty motor for a low volume sling shot. Extra torque is good at least. I'm reminded here of my old ' 76 Electra 225 from high school. Not much HP by the numbers and it ran out of steam above 4,000 RPM or so. But the low end torque of the 455 made her feel real strong in daily driving.

  • Mikehgl Mikehgl on Apr 09, 2017

    I would generally agree that 2 door coupes almost always look better than their 4 door counterparts. That said, My Focus ST is still a pretty functional vehicle with the added benefit of a back door for the most common dog.

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