NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Broadcasted live over the Internet from Torrance, California, the 2018 Honda Civic Si just made its global debut a few days ago. Honda Canada invited us to the New York International Auto Show to see the car in person for the first time. For the first time ever, the enthusiast-favourite Si foregoes its naturally-aspirated motor in favour of turbocharging.
Though most of the unveils at this year’s New York show are 2018 model year vehicles, the Si is actually a 2017 model, going on sale in the next three months, right on time for those wanting to fulfill that summer sports car itch. Available in both coupé and sedan variants, the new Si features an aggressive black “wing” fascia with larger side air intakes, 18” ten-spoke alloy wheels and low profile tires.
Two-door variants of the Civic Si come with a raised spoiler, whereas the sedan gets larger side vents and a decklid spoiler. Both models have a chrome-tipped center mounted polygonal exhaust, a version of which we saw on the lesser Sport and Sport Touring models.
What’s really important here is under the hood. Both models of the Si offer improved performance over the previous model and crisper power delivery thanks to its advanced powertrain. It’s powered by a direct-injected and turbocharged 1.5L inline four-cylinder engine, with dual variable cam timing. This motor packs 205 horsepower at 5,700RPM and 192 lb-ft of torque at 2,300RPM. The only available transmission is a short-throw six-speed manual, welcomed by enthusiasts in a world where the stick-shift is becoming a rarer breed.
Horsepower may remain unchanged over the outgoing Si (reviewed here), but this motor is set up for much more torque available on the low end, which the last car severely lacked. Other upgrades include a helical limited-slip differential, 12.3” front brake rotors, adaptive dampers, and front upper control arms straight out of the new hottest thing, the Civic Type-R (previewed here). It also offers a unique sport-tuned suspension, much stiffer stabilizer bars, and a new dual-pinion adaptive electric power steering system.
Also new for the Civic Si is the addition of a drive mode selector. Choosing between “Normal” and “Sport” toggle variables including the adaptive damping system, throttle response, and feel of the electric steering system. When the car is in “Sport”, it’s at its most aggressive setting and allows for the most possible engagement.
On the inside, things are essentially what’s expected considering the heavy redesign on the 2016 and newer Honda Civic (reviewed here). The Si features heavily bolstered front seats with the historic red stitching, which also carries forth to the steering wheel and leather shift boot. Si logos also adorn the seats, door sills, and are strategically placed throughout the vehicle, reminding buyers constantly that they opted for the fun model.
Connectivity includes a 7” touchscreen that’s largely unchanged from other Honda models, including the new CR-V (reviewed here). This system incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and also packs a 450-watt 10-speaker premium audio system. Cranking up the tunes and cruising down your favourite back road with the sunroof open has never been more fun.
The 2017 Honda Civic Si will be produced in Honda’s Alliston, Ontario plant with parts sourced from both the domestic and global market. The motor will be assembled in Ohio, and the car is expected to go on sale in the second quarter of 2017. Keep checking back for our comprehensive road test of the Si!