Honda adds power, jazzes up Civic to create Si version – USA TODAY
USA TODAY’s reports from the unveiling of the new Honda Civic Si before the official opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show.
LOS ANGELES — When it comes to performance, the Honda Civic Si introduced here Tuesday finds itself somewhere in a middle zone.
It’s hotter than a standard Civic, but not as hot, or as pricey, as the new Type R.
The new Civic derivation — the last in a series as part of the rollout of the 10th generation Civic — made its debut Tuesday ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Arriving next spring as either a coupe or sedan, the new Si will have more horsepower than the standard Civic using the same engine — a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant — that’s been hopped up.
Just how much more horsepower, or its price, is still under wraps. Because of its performance orientation, Si will only come with a manual transmission, which is sure to hold down potential sales. It will probably amount to less than 10% of over Civic sales, says Jeff Conrad, a Honda senior vice president.
And that’s fine. It’s not meant for everyone, executives say. Si, like Type R, is meant to generate more excitement among enthusiasts around Civic — not that it really needs it at the moment. Civic is already on a roll.
Sales of the redesigned Civic were up 11.7% through the first 10 months of the year, compared to the same period last year, Autodata reports. Its rivals’ sales are slumping as buyers turn increasingly to SUVs. Toyota Corolla sales were off 0.8%, Chevrolet sold 19.9% fewer Cruzes and Ford saw Focus sales fall 17.1% over the same period.
“This segment is suffering,” says Edmunds.com analyst Jessica Caldwell. Civic “is the one bright light in it.”
A new Si can only help. “It’s a good addition to a very successful car,” she says.
Si will be aimed at people who love to drive, says Rob Keough, Honda’s product planner for Civic. Yet unlike some race-oriented cars, “you can drive this thing every day.”