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Road Test: Honda Civic Si

Review by Jay Williams - 15/December/2009

Honda Civic Si - ReviewEver since its birth in 1972, the Civic has undergone many evolutionary changes and stills remains one of the most successful cars ever built by Honda.

The 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 offers a 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.

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Drive 
Engine 
Exterior 
Interior 

Make: Honda
Model: Civic Si
Price$41,630* (model tested)
Transmission: Six-speed Manual (tested) and five-speed with Grade Logic Control automatic
Engine: 1.8-litre, four-cylinder SOHC i-VTEC, petrol
Drivetrain: front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Fuel consumption: 6.9L/100km (combined)
CO2 Emissions: 163g/km (manual)
Max Power: 103kW @ 6300rpm
Max Torque: 174Nm @ 4300rpm
0-100km/h: N/A
Seats: Five
Safety: Six airbags as standard (driver/front passenger front (x2), front side (x2), curtain airbags (x2), ABS with EBD, Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control System (TCS), Four star ANCAP.
Car Supplier: Honda Australia

Drive: 4/5

Honda Civic Si - Review

Honda's new 'wedge' styling

Honda Civic Si - Review

17-inch alloy wheels top off the aggressive look

Honda Civic Si - Review

Check out the integrated dual triangular exhaust pipes

Honda Civic Si - Review

The Dual 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.

While the length and the height has been decreased, Honda has increased the overall 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.

The Civic 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.

Not 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.

Engine: 4/5

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 manual gearbox or optional 5-speed automatic transmission.

The 1.8 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.

In 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.

Exterior: 4.5/5

Exterior styling of the Honda Civic Si gives the impression that this is a 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 bumper, tailgate glass that is split via a modest rear spoiler and 'hidden' rear door handles.

With such aggressive styling, a wider and comparatively longer wheelbase, the Civic Si demands respect.

Interior: 4/5

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 hatch.

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 safer motoring.

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 leather-effect grain.

Rounding out the Civic's interior is the adjustable multi-functional steering wheel with audio, cruise control and multi-info display buttons.

Overall: 4.5/5

With a starting price of $41,145rrp for the manual (flat paint), the Civic Si lineup is positioned at the upper end of the hatchback spectrum, however, it is well-equipped and very versatile.

The 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.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Fuel economy
  • Sporty Looks
  • Engine
  • Price
  • Visibility

Comments on the review? The Car? Your Car? Email us.

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