After much begging and pleading the Honda Civic Type R is arriving on U.S. soil, sort of. The badges say Civic Si but underneath the sleek, sexy bodywork it has all the goodies we have been begging for lo these many years. So break open the piggy bank, empty the savings account and sell all your extra internal organs; the 2006 Civic Si goes on sale in December. Get there early; we predict they will be flying off the lot.
Under the hood is a 197-hp, 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC K20Z3 engine. The aluminum block/alloy head engine pumps out those 197 hp at 7800 rpm. Peak torque of 139 lb-ft happens at 6200 rpm. Attached to the engine is a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission with a helical limited-slip differential.
The running gear consists of 17-inch wheels with 215/45 tires. Posing behind the wheels are 11.8-inch ventilated front and 10.2-inch solid rear disc brakes. Putting the squeeze on the rotors up front are dual-piston units, with single piston ones clamping the rear.
Also new in '06 is a four-channel ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution. The new four-channel system allows the rear brakes to react independently during cornering instead of applying equal braking power to both rear wheels as with the previous generation ABS. This new system will allow for greater stability and overall braking safety.
The suspension setup is a familiar one since the introduction of the seventh gen. Civic in 2001. The 4-wheel independent suspension features McPherson struts up front and double wishbone, multi-link in the rear. Special to the Si are front and rear sway bars, 28mm and 17mm respectively.
All 2006 Civic coupe models share the same chassis dimensions. The wheelbase has been stretched to 104.3 inches and the track width extended to 59 inches front and 60.1 inches rear. Along with a lower overall vehicle height and a 36 percent increase in chassis rigidity the Si promises to be very stable during straight-line driving, braking and turning.
Before you can even turn the key to fire up this compact pocket rocket you need to open the door and crawl inside. The front seats are '06 Si spec only and feature high side bolsters and red stitching to set them apart from the other Civic models. Another Si-only treat is the leather wrapped steering wheel.
What's behind the wheel is truly something to behold. The instrument panel is two-tiered. The upper tier houses gauges drivers tend to look at more frequently. Up top are the speedometer, fuel gauge and temperature gauge. Special to the Si's upper tier is a rev indicator that will illuminate when nearing the 8000 rpm redline. The lower tier houses the tachometer, odometer, trip meter and other warning lamps.
The CTR is here at last, in the form of the 2006 Honda Civic Si. It's hard to say if the reality will live up to the hype just because the hype has been pumped up so much. On its own the new Si looks to be a real winner with plenty of pop right off the showroom floor. Come this December, head on down to your local Honda dealer and check one out for yourself. We are.