Geared For The Enthusiast
The 2012 Civic Si is the kind of car that has made Honda a favorite of enthusiasts over the years. It’s feisty in character, and just a blast to drive.
The 2012 edition is again available as a coupe and a sedan, and they don’t look a lot different than their predecessors. My test car was a coupe, and it still featured a large, steeply raked windshield and a nearly fastback roof, but its nose was more sharply defined, and the rear deck spoiler is now integrated into the trunk lid. The Si in the coupe version looks hot, especially in the color red.
The interior appears less futuristic than last year’s model, but still features a two-tier dash, with the tachometer directly in front of the driver and a readout for speed in a bin near the windshield. I like this arrangement because it is easier to keep track of how fast you’re going without taking your eyes off the road. The only fly in the ointment is the surface of the dash itself, which is hard vinyl, and looks cheap.
The sport seats up front are well bolstered, and hold the driver and front passenger snugly in place during vigorous driving. They are finished in high quality black cloth with contrasting red stitching. (The pattern didn’t do much for me, but others found it okay.) The rear seat in the coupe is tight, and best suited for kids. The trunk, on the other hand, is surprisingly roomy at 11.9 cubic feet.
Honda equips the Si with a seven- speaker premium audio system, satellite radio, a power moonroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential and vehicle stability control. The only option is a navigation unit. I tried the nav system and found it intuitive to program. I also like the fact that the turn-by-turn display was located in the bin by the windshield, and easy to see.
Under the hood, Honda installed a new 2.4-liter, 201-hp engine in place of the 2.0-liter, mill from last year. This motor has good pulling power at low revs, and will rush the Civic to 60 in about 6.5 seconds. In the process, it delivers a pleasing amount of sound and fury. A six-speed, close-ratio, manual gearbox is the only transmission offered, and is a perfect partner for enthusiastic driving—I never felt like I was in the wrong gear. Gas mileage is decent for a performance car at 22-31 mpg.
The Civic Si is a tossable little sports car. The revised electric power steering is quick and precise. The Si can change direction like a jackrabbit. The sport-tuned suspension does its part by enabling this Civic to take corners with a minimum of body-lean. Furthermore, the brakes are improved this year, and can bring you down from 60 in just 121 feet. And with all of this handling prowess, the ride is still decent. It is stiffer than that of a standard Civic, but not harsh.
Pricing for the Civic Si starts at $22,975 for the coupe model and $23,275 for the sedan. The only option is the navigation system, which will set you back another $1500. The MSRP on my test car was $24,475.