The Honda Civic Si got a turbocharged engine for the 2017 model year, which a lot of us expected to have a horsepower number slightly closer to that of the ridiculous Type R. But it disappointingly had the same HP as the car it replaced, and Honda engineers said there’s a reason why the number is what it is.
The newest Civic Si, which slots in between the regular Civic and the Type R, comes with the same 205 HP as its predecessor and a higher torque rating. The low HP has, naturally, already led folks to find cheap ways to tune it for more power, but Honda has reasons to keep it where it is—price and durability.
Honda employees told Automotive News the $23,900 starting price was a big part of things, since the company wanted to keep the car affordable and attempted to do so with a 1.5-liter turbo engine. The Type R and its 2.0-liter turbo could come with a price of at least $33,900, which is a $10,000 difference between the two sport models. That’s huge.
Thus came one of Honda’s reasons for keeping the Civic Si a bit more toned down than the Type R—the price shift. From Automotive News:
Using the larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that’s in the Civic Type R would have radically shifted what the Si was. Even tuned down from the Type R’s 306 hp, such an Si would have cost closer to $30,000 — too rich for Honda’s blood.
“The Si has always been in the [price] range that it’s in,” Keough said. “We wanted it to be attainable and affordable, so our target for Si was really to come in at this price point with this performance level.”
If someone already has the new Civic Si in the garage, price obviously isn’t a factor anymore. But Honda engineers told Automotive News that getting extra power out of the Civic Si could cut its life a little shorter, as “all of that takes away from the durability of the engine.”
Of course, that quote ended with the assertion that Honda wants its engines “to last hundreds of thousands of miles.” So, if you’re not looking to keep your Civic Si trucking along for decades, tune that puppy up. It’s your call.