At the press preview for the new '07 Honda Civic Si Sedan, my driving buddy was none other than the bon vivant of the auto scribe circuit-and former Super Street hired gun-John Pearley Huffman. Before we even set foot in the car, Pearley says, "I can write this review in exactly nine words, 'Just like the Coupe...but with two more doors'." After I played back this statement in my head (mostly to confirm that it was exactly nine words long) I wondered if there was something else to ponder (aside from Pearley's bizarre iPod playlist). Is the Si Sedan the answer to a question that was never asked?
In truth, Pearley was correct-the Si Sedan is exactly like the Coupe. There's the same 197hp K20Z3 powerplant, limited-slip diff and six-speed gearbox; the same gimmicky dual-tiered instrument panel and sporty Si buckets (uh, up front only). At this point my penchant for apathy and sloth compelled me to cut and paste my review of the Si Coupe (Super Street Nov. '05) in its entirety with an added sidebar on rear seat legroom. But good judgment (and the fear of getting caught) kept me from committing the kind of act that routinely punctuates our editorial style.
Honda unveiled its original Civic Si concept at the '05 Chicago Auto Show, and the Si Sedan concept was launched on the same Chicago stage exactly one year later. This Si Sedan is the first "Sport Injection" model of its kind, marking the first time that an Si is available in two body styles. The previous five generations of Civic Si have all been exclusively three-door hatches or Coupes. Honda justified the addition of two more doors with research claims that show that although some buyers still prefer Coupes, Sedans are growing in popularity. BMW made a valid case for the Sedan/Coupe option with its E36 M3, and the Evo and STI are stellar examples of compact Sedan performance done right; but an Si with four doors still seems like a misappropriation of sorts.
I wondered, again, if the Si Sedan answers this unasked question or, indeed, if it serves an unneeded purpose. After spending some quality time with this randy little Sedan, I asked myself another question: Do I give a flock?
The Si Sedan exhibits the same razor sharp reflexes and effortless driveability of the Coupe. In fact, the Sedan hardly feels like it gives up a step to its door-challenged sibling. The best part is that the extra doors provide you with enough room to carry a double date, or park and carry on with your own date.
The Si Sedan is nearly a mechanical twin of the Civic Si Coupe. Much like the Coupe, Honda's engineers started with a base model Sedan and pumped up the structural rigidity with reinforced rear suspension mounting points and an internal bulkhead crossmember. Because of the Sedan's longer 106.3-inch wheelbase (2.0-inches longer than the Coupe), slightly different damper settings were employed. The Si Sedan's front stabilizer was also reduced from the Coupe's by 1mm to 27.0mm and this change is what makes all the difference in the world. Um, not really.
During my brief back-to-back drives with both Si versions the differences in ride and handling were barely perceptible, but it's good to know Honda's lab coat brigade is not content to leave well enough alone. The exhaust prechamber is also slightly different between the Si Sedan and Coupe to create a distinct tone between the two variants, but again this was hard to tell from behind the wheel.
The Si Sedan will already be on sale by the time you read this story and the $22k estimated price is by Honda's reckoning only $200 more than the Si Coupe. Aside from the two additional doors, the only exterior distinctions are the front grille and rear wing. When all is said and done the Sedan only weighs 68 more pounds than the Coupe.
We've already heard talk of people de-badging the Si Sedan to create a four-door sleeper or even going so far as swapping the badges, wheels and mirrors from the Civic Hybrid to make some sort of faux-Eco sleeper. It's talk like this that makes this new Sedan worthy of the Si badge.
Top Five Ways To Get Your Date In The Back Seat05 I just got this Si Sedan. Come see how roomy the back seat is.
04 Do you mind if I pull over? I hurt my inner thigh saving an old lady from a burning building and it feels better when I stretch out and massage it in the back seat.
03 Sometimes, when I'm feeling really vulnerable I just sit in my back seat and whisper John Mayer lyrics. I've never shared that with anyone before.
02 I didn't win the big jackpot, the ticket's only worth $10,000. The only problem is that it's somewhere in the back seat and I can't seem to find it.
01 Hey, sweetheart, this tongue ain't gonna French itself.
That New Car Smell'07 Honda Civic Si SedanThe Sticker est. $22,000Under The Hood 2.0L DOHC IVTEC 16v 1-4The Power 197 hp @ 7,800 rpm, 139 lb-ft @ 6,200 rpmScale Tipping 2,945 lbLayout front-engine, FWDGearbox six-speed close ratio manual transmissionStiff Stuff front: MacPherson strut; rear: Reactive-link double-wishbone; 27.0mm (front), 17mm (rear) stabilizer barsRollers 17x7.0 alloy wheels, 215/45ZR17 Summer tiresStoppers four-wheel ventilated (front), solid (rear) disc brakes with ABSAt The Pump est. EPA 23 mpg city, 32 mpg highwayThe Pack Ford Focus, Mazdaspeed3, Nissan Sentra SE-R, Subaru Impreza WRXDeep Thoughts All the Si's creamy goodness with two more doors.