Test Drive: 2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe

?New Honda Civic lineup: To each their own?

Operating on a philosophy of ?To each their own? Honda has fielded the ninth generation of their best-selling CIVIC with 6 specific 2012 models that certainly afford consumers the opportunity to make a choice that best suits their individual tastes and needs.

The entire Civic lineup benefits from increased fuel efficiency, with two new models, the Civic HF (translate that as High Fuel efficiency) and the Civic Hybrid ? each delivering more than an estimated 40-mpg. In addition, there will be a base Civic Coupe and Sedan, a Civic GX compressed natural gas model and the performance flagship model, the Civic Si which also comes in both a Coupe and Sedan form. Trim level for basic Civic models will range from DX to Si, with LX and EX falling respectively in between.

A 1.8-liter i-VTEC? 4-cylinder, 140 horsepower engine will power the HF, Sedan, Coupe and Compressed Natural Gas Civic models, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. A 110 horsepower, 1.5-liter i-VTEC gasoline 4-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor will power the Civic Hybrid, coupled to a CVT transmission, and the top performer ? the Si will draw its motive energy from a 200 horsepower, 2.4-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine that also develops 170 pound feet of torque that connects to a six-speed manual gearbox. All Civics are front-wheel drive.

At a recent national press launch of the Civic held in Washington D.C., the model that appealed to me the most and that I spent the most time in was the better looking and best performing Civic Si Coupe. I experienced both the manual gearbox and automatic transmission versions on an autocross course; a simulated road course and street drive with pleasing feedback.

The Si features several exclusive parts over and above what is offered by the rest of the Civic stable. Things such as: an integrated rear spoiler; 17-inch performance tires mounted on specially styled, 5-?V?-spoke alloy wheels; unique front fog lamps with Black painted garnishes; a high gloss black painted front upper and lower grille; and out back, a Sport bumper treatment; special exhaust?pipe finisher; and a Black painted rear diffuser. Externally, the 2012 Civic Si Coupe is racier and more appealing, presenting an overall image of sporty performance.

In terms of the interior design direction showcases a sporty personal cockpit with visual devices that tend to generate a higher level of driving excitement and enjoyment. Features include an exclusive meter coloration and exclusive Si content such as an i-VTEC indicator Power Monitor, a Premium audio system, a sunroof and a 60/40 fold down rear seat back. Other standard fare includes: a leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching and an Si wheel emblem; metal pedals; and an exclusive shift knob. The interior is executed in Black with an exclusive red-stitched seat fabric along with fabric covered door pads.

Both transmission versions of the Civic Si Coupe that I spent time in wore a Bright Red exterior finish. The base price was set at $23,505, while the price as tested came to $24,655. after adding the Destination and Handling charge.

SUMMARY: During course testing set up in the Fed-Ex Field parking lot, I was able to experience the new 2012 models in direct comparison to the previous year?s models.

The 2012 Civic Si with its 2.4-liter DOHC, 16-valve i-VTEC inline 4-cylinder with multi-point fuel injection was impressive in the delivery of its 201 horses at 7,000 rpm and generation of the 170 pound feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. The acceleration rate was exhilarating. And snicking through the gears of the close ratio six-speed manual tranny proved smooth and precise. The transmission has been specially optimized for the 2.4-liter engine, with the special i-VTEC indicator lighting up with the VTEC shift timing in each gear. Along with the class-leading acceleration performance comes an impressive fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway and a ?Torque-full? sporty sound from both the engine and the exhaust.

The Si Coupe is aerodynamically stable thanks to the exclusive aero parts that provide for superior lift and balance. Suspension settings are also are also exclusive for the Si, resulting in the car?s improved handling characteristics and comfortable ride quality. The motion adaptive Electric Power Steering is another contributing factor to both fuel economy and road manners.

I?ve used the term exclusive several times throughout this review because it sets the Si Coupe appropriately apart from it Civic siblings. Even the Intelligent Multi Info Display (I-MID), which is a really cool informational feature for all facets of the car?s primary systems operation, offers exclusive (there?s that term again) Si features, including the Power Monitor.

In the event that one should tire of relishing the sweet engine and exhaust notes, the Premium audio system delivers high quality sound through its high power 360W 7-speaker audio setup.

To give the Si sedan its due, it comes with most of the same exclusive features as the Si Coupe, but has two extra doors and isn?t nearly as sporty and attractive as a result.

The 2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe, along with the rest of the Civic model offerings impressively fulfills ?Inomama??, which is Japanese for ?The will of the Customer?. If you?re unable to find a Civic model to suit your tastes and requirements and call your own, then you might just have a personal problem.







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