All of a sudden, there are two new cars downstairs on stinky G4. First is the STI that you read about in our last issue (July '07 "Car Jacked"). Now, there's a brand-spankin' new Honda Civic Si sedan that we picked up from the Penske Honda dealership. And no, that isn't a typo. The car has four doors and is rocking the infamous Si badge on the back. With a tough decision between Taffeta White and Rallye Red, we chose the color that would get the most attention from cops.
For only a few thousand dollars more than an Civic EX sedan, you get the buff 2.0L motor that puts out 197hp and 139ft-lbs. of torque (EX has 140hp and 128ft-lbs. of torque) mated to a sexy six-speed tranny. Oh, and the redline goes much higher to 8,000rpm, compared to the 6,800rpm of the EX. So now, you can push the i-VTEC valve train to the limit.
Surrounding the driver is a rather sophisticated interior: racing-style seats, a digital speedometer and a giant tach with the bright red Si logo smack dab in the middle. To top it off, you get the space of a full sedan so you can lug around your deadbeat friends every time they bum a ride from you to pick up groceries. We're going to have fun with this one.
We always hear people complain about how a dealer didn't warranty a problem with their car because they had aftermarket parts installed on it. That's not cool. Especially if the aftermarket parts aren't even related to the problem. With the Si, we picked it up brand-new, straight from Bryan Kobus and the crew at Penske Honda.
Since there are so many style and performance parts available from the dealer, we found it very hard to believe that a car can't be fixed up while under warranty at the same time. Some dealerships even sell aftermarket products in their parts department, so you can have them installed there. If you're going to trust someone to work on your Honda, it might as well be someone that actually works at Honda. We're going to start off by going through the Honda optional catalog and picking out some wheels, a body kit, and a stiffer suspension. You know, to see how far we can push the car to its limit while under the warranty. It's way better to work with the dealerships than against them. Once we're all maxed out with the Honda-approved stuff, we'll take it all off and start from the ground up with aftermarket parts that we're going to have the dealer install. In the end, we should have a pretty dope-looking car that's fast and still under warranty.
No Tire Kicking
Tips and Tricks For New Car Buyers
Next to public speaking, new car buying is listed as one of the most stressful moments in a person's life. OK, we lie. But seriously, it can be pretty brutal if you don't know who to trust. Fortunately, we do. So, we had Penske Honda Vice President/General Manager Bryan Kobus breakdown some pointers in the whole car searching/haggling/buying experience.
* Generally, the best time to purchase a vehicle is on a weekday because the dealers will have lighter traffic and therefore, the guest (that's you!) can expect more attention given to them.
* On rainy days dealers have more of an opportunity to answer questions and ensure that the guest drives off in a new car with the best deal possible.
* People who spend alot of time on the road should stay away from leases. People who drive less, but like the new car smell, should lease. If the factory is offering special APRs, it may be better to purchase.
* Selling a used car privately may allow the guest to make a bit more money, but it's time consuming and involves self-marketing. Plus, the buyer may not even have the cash to buy it. Of course, if the transmission blows in a week, expect a call from the purchaser. There are numerous DMV laws that also need to be followed, which most people don't understand (i.e. smog, taxes, registration change, title, and so on). A trade-in will save you the headache.
* Factory banks usually have some sort of "subvention" (lower APR or lease factor) that is better than what traditional banks can offer. Ask the dealer for details, or check the manufacturer's website for current promotions.
* Credit score is not the only factor in determining a purchase or lease. Household income and debt play big factors as well. A guest can have an outstanding FICO score, but if he or she can't make the payment, then that person will not be financed.
* The window sticker (Monroney Label) displays valuable information on the vehicle such as: gas mileage, options to buy and MSRP, among other features. The MSRP represents a figure the manufacturer suggests the vehicle be sold for. Dealers are allowed to negotiate with guests to reach a compromise on the selling price that is acceptable to both parties. Beware of dealerships who have addendums attached to the window stickers that show "additional dealer markup," "market price adjustment," or other colorful terms that put the vehicle price over the MSRP (not including additional items installed on the vehicle which could hike up the total cost over MSRP - i.e. added spoiler, wheels, etc.). Penske does not charge over sticker price.
* Most vehicles have the same MSRP cost, so it depends on the negotiator as to what price is given. Some dealers will quote ridiculously low prices over the phone or via Internet in order to bring the guest into the dealership, only to switch them to a different vehicle, offer another color, or say things like "oh, that quote did not include destination fees, or deliver fees." Beware of these dealers. However, do not expect to pay less than MSRP for the launch of a hot new model.
* But seriously: research, research, research. The more you know, the better. Work only with dealers who have a good reputation and set of ethics. Penske Honda ranks in the upper echelon of customer satisfaction and has won the Presidents Award 9 times. This is the most of any California dealership and is an honor only earned by the best Honda dealerships. It also never hurts to know someone at the dealership (We know you, Bryan. Will you give us a deal? - SS staff ).
That New Car Smell
'07 Honda Civic Si Sedan
The Sticker $21,290
Under The Hood 2.0L inline four DOHC I-VTEC motor 197hp, 139ft-lbs. of torque
Scale Tipping 2,945 lbs
Layout front-engine, front-wheel drive
Gearbox 6-speed manual transmission with helical limited slip differential
Stiff Stuff MacPherson-type front struts, multi-link rear suspension
Rollers 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, 215/45ZR17 tires
Stoppers front and rear disc brakes with ABS
At The Pump 23 mpg city, 32 mpg highway
The Pack Mitusbishi Eclipse and Lancer; Nissan Sentra SE-R and Altima; Scion tC; Mazda3; Chevy Cobalt SS
Deep Thoughts Powerful K20 motor stuffed inside a sedan chassis: we see nothing wrong with that. Especially since the price to upgrade from an EX to an Si is just a few more bucks per month on your loan.