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2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan

ENGINE: 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 205 hp @ 5,700 rpm/192 lb.-ft. @ 2,100-5,000 rpm

WHEELBASE: 106.3 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.8 x70.8 x 55.5 in.

TIRES: P235/40R18

CARGO CAPACITY: 14.7 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 28 mpg city/38 mpg highway/33.7 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 12.4 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 2,906 lbs.  #/HP: 14.2

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Golf GTI

STICKER: $24,775 (includes $895 delivery)

BOTTOM LINE: I this a compact? The 8th generation Civic Si, based on the 10th gen Civic platform, behaves more like a mid-size in roominess, and more like a classic Si in performance.

If you’re looking for a performance car, yet don’t quite have the resources for an Acura NSX, you won’t go wrong with the Honda Civic Si at $24,775. Returning to the Honda lineup for the first time since 2015, the Si gives more bang for the buck than just about anything else on the road.  First, a couple of caveats. Yes, the Civic is still a compact car, but the 10th generation chassis (8th gen for the Si) stretches the venerable icon by enough inches to make it as comfortable as many mid-size vehicles. 

But it is the performance tweaking that makes the Si what it is. For example, with the first use of a turbocharger in an Si, the 1.5-liter four delivers a healthy 205 horsepower, and 14.2 pounds per horse, definitely in performance car range. The engine is smooth throughout the entire rev range. With the 6-speed manual transmission, the engine never feels as if it’s actually working that hard, yet the rpms climb quite quickly. And smoothly. The short shifter falls easily to the driver’s right hand. Handling is super as well. The Civic itself benefits from an improved chassis. But in the Si, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive dampers, stiffer spring rates and more rigid stabilizer bard make driving the Si simply fun. The stiffer suspension doesn’t result in a harsh ride. In Normal mode, the suspension is more comfort-oriented. In Sport mode the suspension damping characteristics are adjusted as well as steering and throttle response for a more taut driving experience. 

Front passengers are ensconced in well-bolstered black seats with red stitching. The seats are heated both in the back and seat cushion, which came as a surprise when I wanted a back heating pad. The only question I had was the “seat fabric” that appeared to be used on the center console, rather than leather or some kind of plastic. While the fabric looked great, I wonder how durable it will be after a couple of years of usage.

Where the Si betrays its size is in the rear, where there is abundant leg and knee room. However, as with many cars, the tall center hump might be uncomfortable for middle passengers back there. The seat backs fold easily (releases are in the trunk) to expand cargo capacity, which is pretty good to begin with. I fit my golf bag horizontally in the trunk with room to spare for at least one more plus accessories. There’s additional storage under the trunk floor for smaller items.

There’s a lot going on with the exterior styling. There are folds and creases and styling lines that result in a nice package. In fact, when I first saw the Civic Si I mistook it for a competitor’s mid-size. The huge centrally mounted exhaust extension adds to the Si panache.

The instrument panel follows the back and red theme of the seating. The centrally mounted tachometer is large enough so that you can use it for performance driving. The inset digital speedometer keeps you honest. Well, it tries.

Honda hopes to appeal to a younger demographic with the Si, and so has equipped it with a fully menu of entertainment options. Among the goodies available are: HondaLink, Apple Car Play, Android Auto, Sirius XM, HD Radio, Bluetooth, Pandora Compatibility, SMS Text Message Function, Radio Data System and Speed Sensitive Volume Control. The 450 watt audio system has 10 speakers including a subwoofer. I can’t wait to hear the high school kids boom booming past my house every afternoon.

While I’m pretty certain the Honda Civic Si is aimed at a much younger demographic than the one I occupy, I still found it a pleasant and fun car to drive and thrash around. Overall, it may have a larger appeal that I first imagined.

(c) 2017 The Auto Page Syndicate

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