Automotive

Published on October 20th, 2021 | by Joshua Chin

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The Sensibly Sporty Honda Civic Si Debuts In North America

This new Civic Si gains a host of sporty upgrades and retains a stick-shift, but somehow loses 5 hp in the process. 

Despite the Type R being the king of the Civic lineup, those in some markets with more sensible sporting aspirations can nevertheless seek solace in its slightly tamer Si counterpart. A new version of which was incidentally revealed recently over in North America, based upon the latest and greatest 11th iteration of Honda’s mid-sized sedan. 

Now this being targeted primarily at the more sporting driver, it should therefore come as no surprise that Honda is offering this new Si variant with only the option of a stick shift. The Japanese automaker has also been touting for this 6-speed manual ‘box in this sensibly sporty Civic to feature an improved short-throw for an improved shift feel, not to mention the inclusion of a rev-matching system that has been plucked directly from its Type R sibling as well.

Taken directly from the Civic Type R too are its front & rear compliance bushings, which will ensure that this Si handle that little bit better than its common counterparts. Particularly when taking into account that it also nets a wider track and a 13% increase in chassis rigidity from stock, in addition to a set of stiffer springs (+9% up front, +54% out back) that are nestled behind its standard 18-inch alloy wheels.

And in continuing on the topic of what is behind those wheels, the Civic Si gains a larger set of brakes for better stopping performance. An uprated set of torsion and stabiliser bars are too be found up front also, to complement the standard helical limited-slip differential in helping this sporty Japanese sedan really tackle those twisties. 

Now getting back more on what is mated to said six-speed stick-shift on the other hand, the big surprisingly big story with this Civic Si that has apparently been causing a stir with enthusiasts is its new 26% lighter single-mass flywheel, which comes in place of the dual-mass unit that came before. A similar gain has also been eked out by Honda when it comes to the exhaust flow (27% improvement from stock) with the new system that is fitted to this sportier Civic, while some will undoubtably appreciate too the new programmable individual setting — that alters throttle response, rev matching, and steering effort — on its drive mode selector. 

It is however worth just highlighting that interestingly, despite all these performance enhancements made to this new Civic Si, the 200 hp figure quoted from its 1.5-litre turbocharged four-pot is somehow down 5 hp from its outgoing iteration. It also would also require to be wrung just that little bit harder too than what came before too, with its peak power output now coming in only at 6,000 rpm, instead of the 5,700 rpm previously. There is some better news on the torque front though, as while its peak is still the same adequate 192 lb-ft as its predecessor, it does nevertheless kick in a tad (300 rpm) sooner this time round at 1,800 rpm.

Coming resplendent in an exclusive Blazing Orange Pearl exterior hue and a couple of other custom Si exterior and interior trinkets that include a gloss black rear deck spoiler and what Honda dubs to be ‘body stabilizing sport seats with dynamic red accents and red contrast stitching’, what is still unfortunately unknown about this sensibly sporty is exactly how sensibly priced it will be when it goes on sale in North America later this year. One thing is sadly for sure however, and that is the likelihood of this particular variant making it over here is close to zero. 

Though even with it not coming over here, this is one of those cars that is worth taking note of.  Especially to those who are looking for inspiration in modding their next-gen Civics when it eventually officially arrives locally, as it shows that the Type R route isn’t the only alteration avenue after all. 

PRESS RELEASE: The best-handling, best-equipped and most fun-to-drive Civic Si ever is coming to Honda dealers later this year to entice a new generation of young driving enthusiasts. Based on the all-new 11th-generation Civic Sedan, the turbocharged 2022 Civic Si sets a new benchmark for sport compact sedans, with improved dynamic performance and an updated manual transmission now featuring the rev-matching system from the Civic Type R.

“Civic Si is a performance icon that has offered affordable high-performance for four decades and the new Honda Civic Si continues that legacy,” said Dave Gardner, executive vice president of National Operations, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “It isn’t just a blast to drive, it’s hands down the best Civic Si we’ve ever offered to our customers.”

Inside, new Si-specific sport seats with embroidered Si logos and red contrast stitching are standard. This also is the first Civic Si with a large 9-inch HD color touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration and a Bose Centerpoint 2 premium sound system.

Civic Si features the same long list of new active and passive safety systems as the rest of the 11th-generation Civic lineup. This includes the latest generation of Honda’s proprietary Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, groundbreaking new driver and front passenger airbags designed to reduce the risk of traumatic brain and neck injuries, rear seat side airbags, and an updated Honda Sensing® suite of active safety and driver-assistive technologies.

What’s New:

  • Updated 1.5-liter turbocharged engine with broader power curves and a lighter flywheel for quicker response and improved drivability
  • Improved short-throw 6-speed manual transmission with standard rev-matching system from the Civic Type R
  • Retuned suspension improves ride quality and takes Si handling to the next level
  • 60-percent stiffer steering system torsion bar improves feel and response
  • Drive Mode system features a new Individual mode for a customized driving experience
  • Sporty Si-specific design cues add attitude and improve aerodynamic performance
  • An available new and vibrant Blazing Orange Pearl exterior color is also exclusive to Civic Si
  • The driver-focused interior features Si-specific body stabilizing sport seats with dynamic red accents and red contrast stitching

More Responsive Powertrain

The 2022 Civic Si is powered by an updated high-output VTEC® 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with usefully broader power curves than before. The engine’s peak torque of 192 lb.-ft. of torque at 1800-5000 rpm (SAE net) now arrives 300 rpm sooner for a quicker punch off the line and out of tight corners. Performance is also improved at the top of the tach where the engine maintains more output between its 200-horsepower power peak at 6000 rpm (SAE net) and its 6500 rpm redline.

Improving the sound of the engine is a new dual-coil silencer exhaust system that increases exhaust flow 27 percent compared to Civic Touring. To complement the engine’s natural exhaust note inside the cabin, Civic Si uses an improved Active Sound Control system that can produce high-quality sound over a wider range of engine rpm.

A new single-mass flywheel is 26 percent lighter than the dual-mass unit used in the previous Si. The flywheel’s 30 percent reduction in inertia gives the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine a snappier throttle response for an even sportier driving experience, while also improving drivability. To maximize available traction when accelerating, power is routed to the front wheels through a standard helical limited-slip differential.

Equipped exclusively with a manual transmission, Si’s 6-speed has been updated for enthusiast drivers with improved shift feel and 10 percent shorter throws. A new, more rigid shift lever mounting bracket and a new leather-wrapped aluminum shift knob similar to the Civic Type R’s contribute to the improved feel.

For the first time, Civic Si features a rev-matching system directly from the Civic Type R. With the same 430 m/s response time as Civic Type R in Sport mode, the new rev-matching system will “blip” the throttle when it detects a downshift, quickly and perfectly matching revs.

The net result of these changes is a notably richer and more engaging driving experience, made even more so with substantial dynamics improvements.

Sharper Handling

In terms of body stiffness, this is the most rigid Civic Si ever, with an 8 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a 13 percent increase in bending rigidity compared to the outgoing Si. Like the 2022 Civic Sedan, the new Civic Si also benefits from a 0.5-inch wider rear track for additional stability, and a 1.4-inch longer wheelbase for a smoother ride, as well as greater high-speed stability. The Si’s 107.7-inch wheelbase is the longest in its class.

To maximize handling and driver enjoyment, spring rates are 8-percent stiffer in front and 54-percent stiffer in the rear compared to Civic Sedan. New dampers also have been tuned specifically for the Si. The front MacPherson struts feature reinforced upper mounts to handle the increased cornering loads, and thicker front (27 mm hollow) and rear (18 mm solid) stabilizer bars compared to Civic Sedan to minimize body roll.

To improve stability, the front compliance bushings, sourced from the Civic Type R, are 79-percent stiffer than the Civic EX Sedan. Stiffer rear compliance bushings, upper arms and lower B-arms are also sourced from Type R. Steering feel is improved using a 60-percent stiffer torsion bar connecting the steering shaft to the steering rack pinion gear.

Civic Si features larger brakes than the standard Civic Sedan. Oversized 12.3-inch front rotors (+1.2-inches vs. Sedan), and 11.1-inch rear rotors (+0.9-inch vs. Sedan) are standard along with 235/40R18 all-season performance tires. For drivers looking for maximum performance, summer tires will be available as a factory option.

In addition to Normal and Sport driving modes, Si’s updated Drive Mode system now features an Individual mode that allows the driver to individually select engine response, steering effort, and instrument panel display color parameters for a customized driving experience. Sport mode adds throttle response, decreases steering assist, deactivates the idle stop system, allows drivers to select rev match on or off, and changes the instrument accent lighting from white to red.

Exhilarating Exterior Design

Sporty design cues unique to the Civic Si add attitude to the sport sedan while functional aerodynamic aids improve its performance. Si’s new upper front bumper design is more aggressive, and its rear bumper has been reshaped to reveal two large oval exhaust tips.

A front spoiler hidden under the vehicle and a gloss black rear spoiler mounted atop the trunk lid add downforce to improve high speed stability. Si also features gloss black trim on the exterior mirrors and window surrounds. LED headlights and taillights are standard.

Standard 18-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels are finished in Si-specific matte black, and a new vibrant, Si-exclusive Blazing Orange Pearl paint color is available.

Driver-Focused Cabin

The Civic Si’s driver-focused cabin features new Si-exclusive body stabilizing sport seats with built-in head restraints and more prominent shoulder and lower thigh side supports. The lower cushion has been raised by 0.5-inch at the front, providing even better thigh support to reduce fatigue on long drives.

Si features sport pedals and red contrast stitching on the doors, steering wheel, center arm rest, shift boot and shift knob. Class-above materials are used throughout the cabin, especially on touchpoints, with careful attention paid to providing a premium action feel in all switchgear and controls. Si-specific red trim dresses the Civic’s signature metal honeycomb dash panel which serves both form and function. It isn’t just beautiful, but also visually conceals the air vents for a clean uncluttered design.

The most technologically advanced Civic Si ever features a new 7-inch color instrument display with a digital tachometer on the left side, a multi-information display in the center and a physical speedometer dial. A 9-inch HD color touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ integration are also standard along with the new 12-speaker Bose premium sound system. Featuring Bose Centerpoint 2 technology and SurroundStage digital signal processing, it’s the best factory audio system in Civic Si history.

Outward visibility is enhanced by the Si’s pulled-back A-pillars, low hood, flat dashboard, low cowl and door-mounted outside mirrors, all design traits shared with the rest of the Civic lineup.

Significant Safety Improvements for Civic Si

Civic Si features the same long list of new active and passive safety systems as the rest of the 11th-generation Civic lineup. This includes the world’s first application of driver and passenger frontal airbags designed to better reduce the likelihood of injuries from severe brain trauma associated with angled frontal collisions. The new front driver’s airbag uses an innovative donut-shaped structure to cradle and hold the head to reduce rotation. The passenger’s front airbag uses a three-chamber design to achieve a similar result, with two outer chambers designed to cradle and control head rotation. Rear seat side airbags are also standard.

All Civic models including Si feature an Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure that is enhanced for improved compatibility with larger vehicles. This includes improved occupant protection in angled frontal collisions, with a new upper A-pillar structure, side frame and lower firewall structure – all engineered to route crash energy around the cabin. Side impact protection has been improved, with stiffer structures in the roof, side sill and B-pillar, doors, and the rear wheel arch and C-pillar.

Standard on Civic Si is the new Honda Sensing® suite of active safety and driver-assistive technologies that uses a new single-camera system providing a longer, wider field of view than the previous radar-and-camera based system. Combined with software advances and a new, more powerful processor, the system is capable of more quickly and accurately identifying pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicles, along with road lines and road signs.

Honda leadership in advancing pedestrian safety continues with a new front bumper beam safety plate designed to decrease leg injuries, and a hood with an embossed inner structure designed to improve pedestrian head protection performance.

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About the Author

Automotive journalist. Professional work on dsf.my and automacha.com. Personal writing found at driveeveryday.me. Instagram: @driveeveryday



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