The sporty alternative from Honda
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2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe
By Antony Dickson
The Honda Civic Si Coupe has been a favourite for sport enthusiasts ever since its inception in the late 80s. It has come a long way since then and for 2012, it sports an all-new look with a new engine. The most significant change, however, is under the hood. The older 2.0-litre engine has been replaced with a 2.4-litre i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that pumps 201 horsepower at 7000 rpm and 170 lb.-ft torque at 4400 rpm.
Exteriors & Interiors
The new Si has a few cosmetic changes and sports a new lid spoiler that houses an LED centre brake light, new a chrome exhaust finisher and a refreshing tail light design among the few. The front fascia remains largely unchanged. Larger alloy wheels and low profile tires give it a stance of a true performance car. The red and black interiors with black sport seats and red stitching add to the sportiness of the car. The Si logo is embossed in bright red towards the top of the backrest. A leather-wrapped steering wheel is complemented with a short shift metal ball shift lever and metal gas, brake and clutch pedal.
The Si Coupe comfortably seats four adults offering enough leg room for average height persons. If you have children, child seats are easily accommodated too, though the kids in the back could keep kicking the back of your seats. There’s enough room in the boot for your weekly groceries or the occasional golf weekend, considering this is a coupe.
The two-level dash, loved and hated, houses a big tach on the lower lever with a digital speedometer and other gauges on the top level. Honda calls it the i-MID, or intelligent Multi-Information Display. It sits front and centre in the Civic’s instrument panel, and can be set to show the info you need most. The i-MID display fuel consumption information, audio status, or even your own personalized wallpaper image. The i-MID also includes a unique power monitor mode in the Si, which shows current engine output as a percentage of peak horsepower. The system is also ready for Bluetooth Audio where you can pair your compatible phone or player and stream your music right through the Si sound system. When turned on, the dash lights up in a mix of red and blue, which I loved personally. The steering wheel had audio, handsfree phone controls and cruise control integrated into it, a feature that comes standard in most cars these days. The premium audio system is a 360-watt that pumps out music from its 7-speaker system that includes XM Satellite radio too.
The Si offers a full array of safety systems including the Vehicle Stability Assist that helps sense oversteer or understeer, and then adjusts brake pressure at each wheel and/or reduces engine power to help restore driver control. Standard 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), helps maintain control during hard braking. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System alerts the driver when a tire’s pressure reaches a significantly low level. The Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure utilizes a network of connected structural elements to distribute frontal crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. And not forgetting the standard front, front side and side curtain airbags.
As we mentioned earlier, the new Si has the all-new 2.4 litre. With the 2.0-litre engine, the Si somehow lacked the power to impress a true driver. The new engine changes all that. The 2.4-litre is responsive and with the traction control turned off, the Si can attract some attention when driven hard. A sport-minded 6-speed manual transmission with a helical-type limited-slip differential (LSD) is standard. Gear ratios are tight and offers lots of excitement is if the revs are pushed high and the throaty exhaust note is music to the ears.
The Si handles well in corners and even under hard braking with minimal sway. While the sway bars are noticeably slimmer than the previous generation’s (18.0/15.0, down from 28.0/17.0 (F/R in mm)), the chassis is more rigid, the result of an increased amount of high-strength steel. This also results in lighter weight compared to the previous model. Thanks to its 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped around with P215/45 rubber, the Si sticks to the tarmac really good and gives an extra ounce of confidence to the driver in corners. The Civic Si is also equipped with front and rear stabilizer bars, sport-tuned control-link MacPherson strut front suspension and sport-tuned multi-link double-wishbone rear suspension.
The fuel efficiency of the Si was impressive and averaged 9.2 litres / 100 km in combined city and highway driving.
After driving it for a week, I came to realize that the new Honda Civic Si was something I wouldn’t mind having in my garage. It’s a great daily driver and has the oomph to thrill whenever you need that little excitement to spice up an otherwise dull day. It’s a great car for sport enthusiasts with a smaller budget. The Si is big enough for a small family. Overall, the Si offers style and performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency and utility and all that comes at a price of $25,990 (MSRP).