Thursday, July 2, 2015

The 2006-2011 Civic Si - mini review

One slight issue I had with the 2006 to 2011 Honda Civic Si was that I had never actually driven one. Last Saturday, while I was at the Perry Auto open house event (a great event and a great store), I bumped into one of my racing friends, Bruno. He has one of these Civics and graciously allowed me to take it for a spin. Jules came along, as Bruno even had a child seat in the car.

Bruno's surprisingly quick Si
Bruno has had this car for years (from new, I believe) and it has the exact modifications I would be after if I bought a car like this: intake, header, exhause, Flashpro, suspension and wheels/tires. I knew the K20 would be good, but it was more than that. This car is quick. It felt subjectively as quick as the M3 or my old Civic race car, and my guess is that the straigh-line performance of these cars is pretty close. The interior really felt much nicer than older Hondas. It almost felt like an S2000, but more confidence inspiring (due to having a roof and not being RWD, I guess). When you consider that these Civics can be bought for 7 000 $ and that they also come fully loaded with options, you realize what a bargain they are. Out of the box, this Civic is very close to being a sports car (excellent engine (197 hp), good handling, excellent 6-speed transmission with limited-slip differential).

When you add aftermarket suspension, wider modern ultra-high performance tires, and 35-40 hp, the result is undoubtedly a sports car. All the characteristics are there. I still really like the 2002-2005 Civic SiR hatchback, but the cost of making it as fast as one of these Si's would probably not be justified. I have seen some really inexpensive E36 M3's lately, but are they as quick as a lightly modified Civic Si? I don't think they are... and I think the cost of improving the Civic even further (by adding a 2.4 liter block, for example) and running the car must be tiny compared to those of the BMW.

So thanks, Bruno, for the test drive and for opening my eyes to one of the best-kept secrets in the used performance car world!

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