Fantastic handling, Zippy engine, Roomy interior for size
CONS Buzzing exhaust, No traction control
Finally an Si everyone can enjoy
Honda Civic is a perennial bestseller and one of the most recognizable nameplates in the United States. It competes with other compact vehicles like the Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Spectra, Nissan Sentra, Saturn Ion, Toyota Corolla, and Volkswagen Jetta in size and price. Up until last year, Civic was the smallest mainstream car in Honda showrooms. That honor now goes to the Fit, which enabled Honda to move Civic up market in both size and price.
Last redesigned in 2006, Civic comes in four-door sedan and two-door coupe body styles. For 2007 Honda extended the sporty Si trim designation to sedan as well as coupe. All Civics are offered with front wheel drive and come with a four-cylinder engine. DX, LX, EX models have 140 horsepower, while sporty Si has 197. Civic Hybrid is rated at 110 horsepower for its combination gas engine and electric powertrain. DX, LX, and EX come with either a 5-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. Si models come only with a 6-speed manual transmission and the Civic Hybrid has a continuously variable transmission, sometimes called a CVT for short.
Standard safety equipment on all models includes antilock brakes and dual front, front side, and curtain airbags. Traction and stability control are not available.
DX models include tilt-telescope steering column, power windows, folding rear seat, and theft-deterrent system. LX adds air conditioning, cruise control, center console, keyless entry, CD player with auxiliary connection, and power mirrors and locks. EX adds to LX 4-wheel disc brakes, split-folding rear seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, power sunroof, and alloy wheels. Civic Hybrid includes automatic climate control, but deletes the EX's split-folding rear seat and 4-wheel disc brakes.
2007 Honda Civic Si
Base Price: $23,240
As-Tested Price: $23,835
Built in USA or Canada.
Engine: DOHC 2.0-liter I4
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Drive Wheels: front-wheel drive
Si adds to EX a more powerful engine, limited slip differential, uprated brakes and suspension, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and larger tires. Honda does not offer factory options on any vehicles, but does make a navigation system and satellite radio available on EX, Civic Hybrid, and Si.
Prices range from $14,810 for the DX coupe with manual transmission to $24,350 for the Civic Hybrid with navigation and satellite radio. Destination charge for all models is $595.
Get up and Go
Si has carried the performance torch for Civic since the sporty variant's introduction in 1986. In typical Honda fashion, Civic performance was increased using technology rather than brute force.
Though the Si engine is just 11% larger than the standard Civic engine, it is 40% more powerful. Honda credits the increase in horsepower to better engine breathing. Redline is increased from 6800 to 8000 and the compression radio is bumped from 10.5 to 11.0:1.Seat of the pants acceleration runs peg 0-60 mph time at 7.0 seconds. A few performance magazines have done better, but that was no doubt at the expense of a few clutch components. In routine driving, the Si engine is docile, if a little raspy. Once on the gas the engine growls up to about 6000 rpm. At that point Honda's variable valve timing changes the cam profile and the engine screams with new life.
Because of its high-strung nature the Si doesn't feel as fast or as lively as some of its competitors. Vehicles like the Volkswagen Jetta GLI have more power off the line and ample passing reserves. Civic Si needs more attention for best performance, but is more than willing if you are.
The 6-speed manual transmission is a joy to shift and the clutch is light and precise. In driving Civic Si, you'll immediately notice the staccato exhaust tone. This has been a Si trademark for years. It's not so loud as to be annoying, but is a constant reminder that the Si is more powerful than everyday Civics.
On the RoadDespite its taught suspension, Civic Si's ride isn't overly harsh. It is firmer than more pedestrian Civics, but not nearly as firm as one might expect and more complaint than most of its competition. Bumps are felt, but they don't jar. On scalloped concrete roads, Si is prone to proposing motions that grow annoying over time.
Steering is delightfully direct and perfectly weighted for high-speed cornering. Suspension firm and body lean minimal. Tires are grippy and the vehicle is well balanced. Brakes are strong and pedal action is perfect. Taken together, the Si is simply one of the best handling front-drive sedans in the world.
Wind noise is minimal, but the exhaust note is ever present and grows buzzy at speeds above 65 mph. Tire noise isn't a problem unless you're on coarse concrete.
Behind the WheelOne goal of the 2006 redesign was to give the Civic a more youthful appeal. That was done mostly through a completely new interior. Gone was the upright dashboard and in its place was a swoopy two-tier instrument panel. The lower level houses an analog tachometer and warning lights and the upper tier hosts a digital speedometer and LCD readouts for engine temperature and fuel level.
Center console design is more conventional and features convenient rotary dials for the climate controls. Available navigation system absorbs radio controls. It's easy to program and see, but a long stretch for taller drivers.
Civic Si sports a bunch of interior upgrades like soft-touch door panels and a fabric headliner. Still, even base models have excellent fit and finish and decent materials. In all, the interior is contemporary but not class leading.
NHTSA Crash-Test Results, 2007 Honda Civic
|Front Impact, Driver ||5 stars|
|Front Impact, Passenger ||5 stars|
|Side Impact, Driver ||4 stars|
|Side Impact, Rear Passenger ||5 stars|
|Rollover Resistance ||4 stars|
Front seats offer ample leg room and above-average head room. Si models have sport seats that offer a substantial amount of bolstering. This makes the seats more supportive, but also somewhat confining. Rear seats are adult roomy and comfortable. Three across seating will scrunch everyone, but at least Civic has a completely flat rear floor, so leg room isn't a problem.
Cargo space is compact typical, but inexpensive-looking trunk hinges eat into cargo space. Rear seats fold flat and there's plenty of interior storage.
Bottom Line Up until now, if you wanted a sporty Civic, you had to get a coupe. So, kudos to Honda for offering the spicy Civic Si sedan. Though competitors have been offering sport sedans for years-what too you so long Honda?
Sedan or coupe, Si takes the attributes that make Civic a best seller and throws in a dash of cayenne pepper. If you're looking for affordable, reliable, and comfortable transportation look no further than Civic LX or EX. If you prefer something a little more flavorful, Civic Si might just be the ticket.
|Specifications, 2007 Honda Civic Si|
|Wheelbase, in. |
|Size, liters/cu. in. |
|Length, in. |
|Horsepower @ rpm |
197 @ 7800
|Width, in. |
|Torque (lb-ft) @ rpm |
139 @ 6100
|Weight, lbs. |
|EPA Estimates, mpg|
23 city / 32 highway
|Cargo Capacity, cu. ft. |
|Fuel Capacity, gals. |
3 years / 36,000 miles
|Front Head Room, in. |
5 years / 60,000 miles
|Front Leg Room, in. |
5 years / unlimited miles
|Rear Head Room, in. |
|Free Roadside Assistance |
|Rear Leg Room, in. |
|Free Scheduled Maintenance|