Just recently, Honda released the new 2017 Civic Si but it seems like the updates are a bit underwhelming for the fans. It has been a while since it was reported that the Si will be powered by the same 1.5-liter turbocharged engine used in the Civic line. Everyone began to expect that it will be the “fastest, most powerful Si” (as per Honda’s claim) – but think again. If you’re thinking that powerful is synonymous to super-powered Si, then you better not get your hopes up just yet.
So, what did Honda mean when they said “most powerful”? It is actually a reference to the engine’s capability of producing a maximum of 192 lb.-ft. of torque, much more than the usual Si’s peak torque (i.e. the last Si’s 174 lb.-ft.) but with only 205 horsepower. This may be quite disappointing for the Civic Si, but at least peak power is achieved at 5,700 rpm or 1,200 revs more than the outgoing model, while maximum torque comes in at 2,100 rpm ‘til around 5,000 rpm – which is actually quite decent, considering it is 70 percent of the engine’s rev range. The 2017 Civic Si only comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but in theory, it seems like it will take “less rowing” to keep the driving experience quite exciting.
The peak numbers may not be that impressive as we all expected it to be. On a positive note, the low and mid-range power levels, where majority of drivers spend their motoring time, will now become livelier. The new Civic Si has a more rigid body featuring dual-pinion adaptive electric power steering, sport-tuned suspension, an adaptive damper system, 12.3-inch front brakes, and 235/40 R18 rubber wheels with optional performance tires. Despite this, the new Civic Si is significantly lighter than the outgoing model. To cope with both power and steering duties, the front tires is aided by a helical limited-slip differential.
There are also changes on a few of the Si’s underpinnings including stiffer springs with bigger front and rear stabilizer bars. It also makes use of the upper control arms from the Civic Type R. It has two modes – Normal and Sport – allowing drivers to adjust suspension damping, steering input and throttle response.
The new Civic Si looks exactly as it was presented (as a prototype) a few months ago during the LA Auto Show. It also features bolstered seats with standard Si red trim, a 7-inch touchscreen display with standard Apple Carplay and Android Auto and audio and HVAC functions, heated seats, remote start, and rain-sensing wipers.
Civic Type R is also coming soon, and enthusiasts and experts alike are curious as to how it would affect the Si market. Release dates for both cars are made as far as possible from each other to avoid unnecessary competition.
However, when it is pitted against the likes of the Ford Focus ST with 252 horsepower and Volkswagen Golf GTI with an optional 220 horsepower, the Si’s low power is at a disadvantage.
No one expected the 2017 Civic Si to cough out only 205 horsepower but at least it is now lighter and with a stiffer packaging. But until the day comes when we get first-hand experience, we’ll reserve further judgement. Prices for both sedan and coupe start come in the mid-$20,000 range and will hit dealers next month.