Si Model Cranks up the Boost, Not the Power
The Honda Civic Type R is finally coming to the North America this year, and sport compact fans have been fixated on that fact since it was announced. But Honda hasn’t forgotten about the Si, the model that has carried the performance banner for the Civic in the U.S. The 2017 Honda Civic Si was just revealed in both coupe and sedan form via a live stream on Honda’s YouTube Channel, and the medium-hot 10th-gen Civic looks like it will be reasonably sporty without stepping on the 306-hp Type R’s toes.
We’ve known that the Si would get a version of Honda’s 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4, and we even learned its torque figure recently through a leaked email. Now we have full deets on the car’s drivetrain. The 2017 Civic Si is powered by a high-performance 1.5-liter turbo-four that produces 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Compared to the previous model, which was powered by a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated I-4, the 2017 Civic Si makes the same horsepower but is up 18 lb-ft. It also makes peak power 1,300 rpm lower at 5,700 rpm, and peak torque arrives 2,300 rpm earlier and is sustained for more than 70 percent of the rev range (2,100 to 5,000 rpm). The Si’s 1.5-liter is up 25 hp and 15 lb-ft from the most potent mill available in the Civic hatchback. It’s also up 15 hp and 13 lb-ft from the 1.5 turbo in the CR-V. The Si is offered exclusively with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission.
Since the 2006 model year, the Si has gained just 8 hp, so fans expecting a big power increase from the latest model will likely be disappointed. But the turbo engine and all the torque it provides should dramatically change the car’s driving experience. Also contributing to that will be a more rigid body than the previous generation. It’s been upgraded with things such as a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, a dual-pinion adaptive electric steering system with variable ratios, a helical limited-slip differential, larger 12.3-inch front brake rotors, and wider 235/40R18 tires. The Si’s suspension includes a 30 percent stiffer front stabilizer bar and 60 percent stiffer rear bar along with solid front and rear compliance bushings and rigid upper control arms, which are shared with the Type R. Drivers can choose between two modes, including Normal and Sport. Sport mode adjusts damping, steering, and throttle response.
Given that Honda has already shown a close-to-production Civic Si coupe concept and we’ve spotted prototypes for the sedan testing before, the cars’ exterior styling should come as no surprise. Both coupe and sedan models get a blacked-out grille and wing element along with larger side air intakes. A set of 18-inch, 10-spoke, two-tone alloy wheels comes standard and can be wrapped with an optional performance tire. All Si models also receive a center-mounted chrome exhaust tip. Civic Si sedans feature a subtle rear wing with an integrated third brake light, and coupes get a more conspicuous raised spoiler just like the one shown on the concept.
The Si gets all the same features as the EX-T trim, which includes an electronic parking brake, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and rain-sensing wipers. The Si also get a 7.0-inch Display Audio touchscreen infotainment system that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a 450-watt, 10-speaker sound system with SiriusXM satellite radio and Pandora streaming radio capability. The front sport seats, shift boot, and door panels get red stitching. There’s also an aluminum shift knob, and the front seat backs are emblazoned with the Si logo. Meanwhile, the TFT screen in the gauge cluster and audio system are illuminated red.
Honda expects a five-star overall crash rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s rigorous NCAP tests. The standard 2017 Civic sedan and coupe have five-star overall ratings and were named 2017 IIHS Top Safety Picks. The Civic Si will be built at Honda’s plant in Ontario, Canada, with its engine built in Anna, Ohio. The Civic Si is unlikely to come in hatchback form, as the hatch is produced in the U.K. Honda says the Civic Si sedan and coupe will go on sale next month with a price starting in the mid-$20,000 USD range, though exact pricing hasn’t been revealed.
The Civic Si leaves the Type R plenty of space to be the fire-breathing hot hatch of the lineup, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the midgrade performance model will be chopped liver. We love the 1.5 turbo in the standard Civic, so we expect good things from this uncorked version. We hope to find out soon whether the new Civic Si lives up to the badge so many enthusiasts have come to respect.