To best understand how a vehicle works in everyday life, it is important to take it for a test drive. Shopping on the Internet is a smart decision and can save valuable time and money when it comes to purchasing a new car, truck or SUV. But nothing beats getting behind the wheel. Better yet, an extended drive, when available, is the best way to go.
|1. The Civic Si Sedan is powered by a high revving 2.0-liter 4-cyl with 197-hp and 139 ft-lbs of torque.
2. The sedan version of the Civic Si was introduced in 2007, a year after the coupe.
3. The Si Sedan starts at $22,255 ($27,275 CAD).
With this in mind, we took delivery of a 2010 Honda Civic Si Sedan some four months ago to evaluate it under real driving conditions. Initial impressions were positive, but how would it stand up to the scrutiny of an entire test team over the long haul? The results are in, but first let’s recap the features and drivability of this 4-door pocket rocket.
A SMALL CAR WITH A BIG HEART
The 2010 Honda Civic Si Sedan comes loaded with standard features and plenty of power. Performance comes in the form of a 2.0-liter, i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine. Attached to your need-for-speed via a drive-by-wire throttle system, it produces a heart pounding 197 horsepower at 7800 rpm and 139 ft-lbs of torque at 6100 rpm.
Mated to what is arguably one of the finest manual shift transmissions in the market, the close ratio 6-speed gearbox helps propel the Civic Si Sedan to 60 mph in under 7 seconds. Fuel economy is rated at 21/29 mpg city and highway.
If you have never driven an i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine from Honda before, it is important to realize they perform unlike any other high-performance small powerplant. Free revving, the only way to maximize the available power is to switch gears within the 6000-8000 rpm range. Think miniature Formula 1 racecar for the street and you have the right idea.
Between 0-6000 rpm, the Civic Si Sedan behaves as a mild mannered, though somewhat muscle bound, reporter from the Midwest. Watch the needle continue to climb upward, shirt and tie come off and suddenly a throaty snarl reveals a superhero capable of traveling faster than a speeding bullet. The fun continues as you realize there are still a full five gears left in which to engage the Superman persona again and again.
BEAUTY IS IN THE DETAILS
The Civic Si Sedan rides on 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 215/45/17 all-season tires. Handling is excellent; though it is somewhat torque steer sensitive being a front-wheel drive car. Electric variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering (EPS) makes light of even the most hectic series of “S” bends.
Sport-tuned control-link MacPherson strut front and a reactive-link double-wishbone rear suspension provides a solid connection to the road without jostling your kidneys. Power assisted, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes bring the Civic Si Sedan to a rapid and controlled stop with each depress of the pedal.
Exterior modifications specific to the Si include a rear wing spoiler with LED light, fog lights and exhaust finisher. Other details found on this sedan include body-colored door handles, heated mirrors and a power moonroof with tilt function.
FORM AND FUNCTION RISE TO THE TOP
Inside, the Civic Si Sedan is comfort and sport in equal combination. Space isn’t an issue in either the front or back seat compartments. Sport seats with what Honda refers to as “high contrast stitching” dominates your view when opening the front doors. Sliding in and out is easy and once settled, the feeling is that of a fine sports car worth much more than the $22,255 starting price.
Rear seats are equally comfortable, though much less dramatic. A center armrest housing two cupholders folds down for added convenience. Offering a 60/40 split, just fold the rear to increase storage capacity considerably. Trunk space in general is large and well designed for everyday use.
Outward visibility is excellent. There are no dramatic blind spots to content with and it is easy to gauge where the front and rear of the car is when parking. Power windows, doors, mirrors and remote entry with electronic trunk release are standard. So too are air conditioning with air-filtration, rear seat heater ducts, as well as a tilt and telescope steering wheel with cruise control for easy access.
Specific to the Civic Si Sedan is a 350-watt AM/FM/CD Premium audio system with MP3/Windows Media Audio playback capability and 7 speakers. Sound quality is superb, even as the speed builds and 6,000+ rpm becomes the dominant source of music to your ears.
With so much going for it, how did the Honda Civic Si Sedan stack up over four months? Overall, it is a very impressive and fun vehicle to drive.
Fuel mileage was slightly less than expected, but this is due mostly to the fact that it’s impossible to stop yourself from giving the engine free reign, thereby using more gasoline.
All weather driving is easy and the storage and comfort provided for up to five is class leading. Several minor rattles have started to make their presence known, specifically in the dash, but overall the passenger experience continues to be squeak free.
Honda has proven it knows how to build small and medium sized cars North Americans want. The Civic Si Sedan is an excellent addition to an already stellar line-up of cars from the vaunted Japanese automaker. Whether or not you need the extra power is simply a matter of taste. Personally, the choice is clear. Give me 8000 rpm, an open road and let the good times roll!
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