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2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Honda, Test Drives

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Si coupe is the 9th generation of one of the company’s most popular vehicles.  New features include improvements to refinement, increased fuel economy, the addition of interactive technologies for personalization and convenience, along with enhancements to performance, ride and interior packaging.

Beneath the aerodynamic skin of the all-new 2012 Civic Si is Honda’s commitment to its foundation pillars of safety, fun-to-drive performance, style, comfort, convenience, durability and refinement.  The end result is a vehicle that is not only a smart decision when new, but also provides long-term joy of ownership unique to this class of vehicle.  The all-new Civic Si has all of these traits and more- sporty cues inside and outside and higher performance levels.

As a new interpretation of the current Civic’s iconic ‘one-motion’ mono-form shape, the 2012 Civic Si coupe is designed to convey an even more substantial, high-energy appearance.  The exterior styling showcases the clean-yet powerful bodylines with sleekly angled windshield pillars, a wide stance and pronounced character lines along the profile.  The look of the Si conveys an aggressive attitude with a more angular front fascia, dual mesh grille, sleek cat’s-eye headlamp clusters, foglamps, and a tapered rear roofline that flows smoothly into the trunk.  Besides hidden aerodynamic features such as a flat-bottom unit-body construction, new flat under-floor, and precisely placed aero strakes that help achieve excellent fuel economy, the Si coupe features deeper side extensions, front spoiler, a hidden rear diffuser and a unique rear spoiler to enhance stability at high speeds.  The large, single exhaust finisher shows that this new Si is powerful and fast.

That is because the all-new 2012 Civic Si is powered by a new 2.4 liter inline 4-cylinder engine that is the largest and most powerful of any Civic.  The dual overhead cam engine is an all-aluminum design with cast-in iron liners for light weight and durability that uses four valves per cylinder, a high-performance version of the intelligent valve-control system (i-VETC) and a specially tuned high-volume intake manifold along with a high-flow backpressure exhaust system with a sport sound.  This new larger displacement engine in the Si delivers peak power at a more accessible 7,000 rpm compared to the previous Si engine’s 7,800 rpm power peak.  The engine’s increased displacement results in a substantial 22% increase in peak torque.  The new 170 lb.ft. rating occurs at just 4,400 rpm, 1,700 rpm lower than the previous engine’s 139 lb.ft. at 6,100 rpm.  Even with its increase in displacement, horsepower and torque, the all-new Civic Si coupe has an estimated EPA city rating of 22 mpg and increases high fuel economy with a rating of 31 mpg.  In addition, the Civic Si engine meets strict Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-2) emissions standards.

The Civic Si is available exclusively with a super-smooth shifting 6-speed manual transmission with a short-throw shifter that feels like you are slicing through butter with a hot knife.  Designed to be compact and lightweight, the 6-speed has also been engineered to provide quick and precise shift action.  The car also includes a clutch with a torsion mechanism that enhances refinement in terms of engagement and feel-it does just that, as I never missed a shift-even starting out in first gear!  Get-up-and-go were excellent with a standard Helical-type limited-slip differential that helps blast the all-new Civic Si coupe out to 60 mph in just 5.7 sec.  The new Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Rack & Pinion steering system gives you quick response to your inputs, lightens-up in slower speeds and gives an excellent feedback of surface.

Handing is lighter and much improved in the all-new Si with a MacPherson strut front and a multi-link rear suspension.  The setups include front and rear high-performance springs, dampers with 18 mm front 15 mm stabilizer bars that make this Si handle like you are driving on rails.  The MacPherson strut front suspension is engineered to provide spirited performance and a responsive feel.  Specially tuned bushings along with performance calibrated geometry ensure optimal wheel alignment while turning for a solid and smooth handling feel.  The multi-link rear suspension includes stamped-steel upper A-arms, cast aluminum links, coil-over dampers.  This setup provides excellent handling together with a flatter ride and exceptional control of noise, vibration and harshness. Enhancing the handling prowess are standard vehicle stability control and traction control as well as the standard ABS brakes all working to help you maintain control on the straights at high speeds and during hard cornering.  The lighter curb weight of just 2,877 lbs. also enhances the more neutral handling feel.  Helping to mitigate the dreaded understeer and oversteer is the Motion Adaptive Electric Power Steering system working with the standard Vehicle Stability Assist system.  Working together the system prompts you to not turn the steering too far in an effort to mitigate understeer, and the system corrects the steering inputs to mitigate oversteer and help you trace the intended path of travel through a curve.  These systems are the first use in a Honda sold in North America.

The all-new 2012 Civic Si coupe rides on lightweight 17X7 in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin 215/45ZR17 in. high-performance tires for excellent grip and a smooth and quiet ride.

Slowing the new Si coupe down from speed are larger and stronger, 4-wheel steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.8 in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers while 10.2 in. solid discs in the rear are clamped with single-piston calipers.  Standard EBD and BA help you maintain control during severe braking maneuvers.

Inside, the all-new Civic Si Coupe is newly creative and expressive, roomy and practical-it is as impressive as the new body design-while featuring a bold and advanced instrument layout that’s unlike anything in the segment.  The new Civic interior builds on the already sophisticated design of the current generation Civic by adopting a ‘smart interface’ approach.  With this approach, the interior is divided into different areas, with the key instrument displays (such as vehicle speed) located exceptionally high up and above the leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping/3-spoke steering wheel, close to your line of sight.  Secondary information (rpm) is located lower in the area, visible through the steering wheel.  A third area to your right groups controls that are not essential to driving.  Overall, the controls are clear and easy to operate, with a cleanly simple layout and highly intuitive operation.  Crisp, smart and fresh, the new Civic Si’s interior is a careful blend of both form and function.  All the shapes, textures and colors work together to create a welcoming contemporary environment that is both visually and tactilely rewarding.  Everything you need is close at hand and logically placed, but not at the expense of the overall openness of the cabin.  The materials and finishes are as carefully selected as the equipment features.  Distinct upper and lower areas of the instrument panel have their own materials that create visual zones that add beauty and richness.  I have heard some complaints from other auto journalists that the instrument panel is too hard but I found nothing out-of-bounds in the new Civic Si.  Remember that this is a personal performance coupe, not intended for family driving pleasure and other uses where you would like softer to the touch materials.

The Si model gets special firmly bolstered sport bucket seats with red stitching and Si embroidery.  There is also a sequential Rev-limit indicator on the instrument cluster, a power monitor display, unique i-MID screen, leather steering wheel, aluminum shift knob with leather trim, textured aluminum foot pedals and red backlit instrumentation to give the Si an even more sporty touch.

Standard equipment in the new 2012 Civic Si not mentioned above include 360-watt AM-FM-CD premium audio system with 7-speakers including a subwoofer and MP3/WMA playback, Bluetooth hands free phone, Bluetooth audio, USB audio interface, Intelligent Multi-Information display, A/C with air filtration, driver’s seat height adjustment, front center console with dual cupholders/storage bin, 60/40-split folding rear bench, power windows/door locks, dual map lights, grab handles above each door, 12-volt power plug, cruise control, variable speed wipers/washers, floor mats with SI embroidery and a Maintenance Minder system.

Standard safety features include driver/front passenger dual-stage airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags, side curtain airbags, 3-point safety belts with front seat pretensioners, tire pressure monitoring system, side impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones, daytime running lights and the LATCH system for child seats.

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Si is one of the best priced two-door performance coupes on sale today.  Priced from only $22,205.00 it will keep any enthusiast happy to be the owner of one of Honda’s best automobiles.

COPYRIGHT: 2012: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATONS

  • Price: Base Civic Si Coupe $22,205
  • Engine: 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder DOHC 201 horsepower @ 7000 rpm / 170 ft-lbs. torque @ 4400 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 103.2 in.
  • Total length: 175.5 in.
  • Total width: 69 in.
  • Total height: 55 in.
  • Track: f/r-59/59 in.
  • Turning circle: 35.4 ft.
  • Headroom: f/r-37.7/34 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-42.2/30.8 in.
  • Passenger volume: 82.6 cu.ft.
  • Cargo volume: 11.7 cu.ft.
  • Curb weight: 2,877 lbs.
  • 0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds
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