Test: Honda Civic Si
Review by Jay Williams - 15/December/2009
since its birth in 1972, the Civic has undergone many evolutionary
changes and stills remains one of the most successful cars ever built
futuristic styling of the Civic Si was developed to capture the
European market. Up until earlier this year, Australian customers only
had the option of the three door Type-R model.
Now the very stylish (yet
practical), high performance (yet fuel efficient), Honda Civic Si
five door hatch with coupé styling.
Yes, I said "coupé styling"!
Just glancing at the hatch you would swear that it was a two door, but
on closer inspection you'll find the somewhat hidden rear door
handles to reveal that this is, in actual fact, a five door.
alloy wheels top off the aggressive look
the integrated dual triangular exhaust pipes
Link dashboard gives the Si a futuristic feel
Driving the Civic Si around town was a breeze as the overall
length and height has been reduced by 35mm. Now, this may not sound
like much but when trying to squeeze into a tight parking space every
bit counts - and what may be surprising to some is that the interior
dimensions do not suffer at all from the reduced measurements.
the length and the height has been decreased, Honda has increased the
width by 65mm, to 1,765mm, and the front and rear tracks to 1,504mm (up
34mm) and 1,510mm (up 45mm), which increase handling.
Si handles like it's on rails, the handling is exceptional, the
suspension remained settled over even the
harshest mid corner bump while - at the same time - being comfortable
enough to produce a good ride quality. Honda has found a happy medium
between sport and comfort.
only was the Honda good around town, with the added six gear to the
manual transmisson, the Civic Si was also great out on the freeway,
cruising at 100km/h felt comfortable enough for the 1.8-litre engine
and still had enough torque when needed.
After driving the Civic
Si for a week both in the city and country, I found that fuel economy
was great too, with the i-VTEC engine using 7.8 litres per 100km -
bearing in mind that most of
that was used for city driving.
The 1.8 litre i-VTEC engine found in the Civic Si first made its debut
in the 8th generation Civic sedan in 2006
as a completely new engine.
The Civic Si 1.8-litre produces 103kW of
power and 174Nm of torque and comes standard with a 6-speed
gearbox or optional 5-speed automatic transmission.
litre i-VTEC engine provides excellent levels of driveability, fuel
efficiency and performance that confirm Honda's outstanding reputation
for advanced engine technology.
Honda's acclaimed i-VTEC system that is featured
in the Civic Si is
designed to reduce pumping losses and improve fuel economy.
short Honda has created an engine that performs well at mid and low
revs, yet remains responsive in most situations. They have also created
a quiet engine with a refined engine tone, which competes well at the
premium end of small hatch segment.
styling of the Honda Civic Si gives the impression that this
bonafide pocket rocket, its not, but it still looks cool.
Defiantly different from anything currently on the
market, the Civic Si features many of the same
styling characteristics' as the Type-R. Its headlamps blend seamlessly
into a clear plastic central panel,
triangular front fog lights, integrated dual triangular
exhaust pipes positioned at either side of the rear
glass that is split via a modest rear spoiler and 'hidden' rear door
With such aggressive styling, a wider and
comparatively longer wheelbase, the Civic Si demands respect.
Fit and finish of the Civic Si's interior is top
rate and is futher
enchanced by the black leather seats, which add a touch of class to the
Based on the 'Dual Link' concept, the dashboard is
separated into two functional “links” - one provides visual information
like economy, rev-limit and speedo, while the other displays a wide
range of controls. As a result, Honda was able to give the Civic Si a
futuristic and high-tech looking cockpit.
The Dual Link dashboard features a Multiplex
instrument panel, the upper part of the instrument panel
displays rev indicator lights to its left and an Eco indicator to the
right - and most importantly vehicle speed. By positioning essential
information as high on the dashboard as possible means that the driver
only needs minimal eye movements between the road and the display for
Occupying the lower part of the dash is the large
tachometer and within this, the multi-information display with
odometer, trip computer, outside temperature, distance to empty,
instant fuel consumption, average vehicle speed, average fuel economy
and elapsed time.
The Civic Si's interior not only looks good its
practical too. Exceptional utility is provided by rear seats that are
similar in concept to the ‘Magic seats’ found in the Honda Jazz. The
split-fold rear seat can be tipped up to form a second storage area in
the rear passenger cabin. The rear seats also have a one-motion,
dive-down feature that creates a flat loading space.
With the rear seats in the upright position the
Civic Si has a
total storage volume of 415-litres. There is also an illuminated 14
litre glove-box, a large capacity 1-litre centre pocket, a large
capacity 6.9-litres console box, a multi-use double cup holder with
sliding lid and all four doors are equipped with storage spaces ideally
suited to holding 500ml bottles.
Soft touch materials are used for the upper sections of the dashboard
and the door panels, while the lower section of the dashboard, the
centre console and the lower part of the door panels are covered with a
Rounding out the Civic's interior is the
adjustable multi-functional steering wheel with audio, cruise control
and multi-info display buttons.
With a starting price of $41,145rrp for the manual
paint), the Civic Si lineup is positioned at the upper end of the
hatchback spectrum, however, it is well-equipped and very versatile.
1.8 litre i-VTEC engine, six-speed transmission, build quality and
drivability of the Honda Civic Si are hard to fault, the stylish hatch
is simply a pleasure to drive.
However, the 40 thousand
dollar plus price tag does push the Civic Si in to Audi A3 and Alfa
Romeo 147 territory (both have a 2.0-litre engine), but on the other
hand, Honda do make highly engineered and reliable cars.
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