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2012 Honda Civic Si: A boy racer grows up

Jeff Glucker October 26, 2011 Featured, Honda Reviews, Reviews, Road Test Reviews 70 Comments

2012 Honda Civic Si

Introduced to the Japanese market in 1984, the Honda Civic Si was an exciting new hot hatch baked up just for the land of the rising sun. A 1.5-liter ZC1 four-cylinder engine produced 122 horsepower, which was enough to push the Si from 0-60 miles per hour in 8.9 seconds. As Americans, our first glimpse of the Si badge didn’t happen until a year later when the 1985 Honda Civic CRX Si landed on U.S. soil. The engine in that car only made 91 horses, but the CRX Si still ran from 0-60 mph in less than nine seconds.

Two generations of the Civic Si came and went until we were given the car known as the EM1. In 1999, Honda dealerships were quick to show off the Electron Blue Pearl coupes fitted with B16A2 powerplants. The 2,606 pounds cars are still a joy to toss around to this day, and the 1.6-liter four-bangers love running all the way up to their 8,000 rpm redlines. As a matter of fact, you pretty much have to run them all the way up the rev range so you can enjoy the changed cam profile that comes when Vtec kicks in (yo!) at 5,600 rpm.

I know what it’s like to drive the EM1… because I own one. A 2000 Honda Civic Si that I think looks particularly handsome in its Flamenco Black Pearl skin. Sure, the nose has been beaten up due to some recent highway trouble  under the care of the previous owner, but the car is still an absolute blast to drive.

Since the EM1 first launched, Honda has produced two more generations of the Si, and even added a light touch-up to the car in 2009. Now, however, there is an entirely new version to get excited about. The 2012 Honda Civic Si is here… but has Honda gone soft with its latest red-badged budget sports car? Keep reading to find out.

2012 Honda Civic Si

We’ve come some ways from the days of the screaming 1.6-liter four-pot. The 2012 Civic Si sports a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. If you want all 201 horses to come out and play, you need to keep the throttle open all the way up to the car’s 7,000 rpm redline. That torque, however, is fully realized at 4,400 rpm. That figure sounds high, but it makes a huge difference when compared to the Si coupes, hatches, and sedans of old.

You can now leave a stoplight and keep up with traffic for the first few seconds of forward travel. No more watching taillights pull away from you until you engine has spun from its torque-less depths to its VTEC heights. An added bonus is that the high-revving fun is still available, because the 2.4-liter mill enjoys being run to its limit. It’s fun to run it there not just for the power, but also for the noise. While it doesn’t sound quite as good as previous Si mills, when VTEC joins the band you might just find yourself humming along.

Honda has paired the rev-happy motor with a six-speed manual transmission, and it’s your only choice when it comes to gearboxes. That’s fine by us, because a car like this needs to be driven with three pedals. The throws are standard Honda-solid, and the clutch pick up is smooth. Pedal placement is setup for some easy heel-toeing, but your author sucks at doing so, which means this Civic was treated to some rev-matching downshifts after the brakes were already applied. Throttle response could be a bit snappier, but the powertrain package is rather enjoyable overall.

2012 Honda Civic Si

We said this is Honda’s boy racer grown up, and since it’s a brand new car you expect it to pack on pounds with respect to previous models. Thankfully, however, Honda has managed to keep weight on the good side of 3,000 pounds, and the 2012 Si weighs as much as the 2006 FG2 version. This coupe tips the scales at 2,877 pounds, and, although it’s not as slim as my 2,606-pound EM1, the extra heft doesn’t spoil the handling dynamics. Sure, the weight distribution is 61-percent front/39-percent rear, but the MacPherson front suspension handles the hefty nose, and twisty roads don’t have you mimicking the handling of an old Chevy pickup with a snow plow hanging off the bumper. The car is responsive and, coupled with the quick-not-fast engine and transmission package, you’ll never get into too much trouble on your favorite backroad. You’re just going to wind up having lots of fun.

2012 Honda Civic Si meets the 2000 Honda Civic Si

You’re going to have even more fun at the F & I desk should you decide to pick one up. The car you see here (not the busted-up, older one) is priced at $24,475. You’re looking at the fully-loaded Navi example, but if you can live without someone barking directions at you then you can pick up an Si for $22,205. It’s hard to find a fun (new) car for under $25k, but Honda has managed to cram a whole lot of enjoyment into the 2012 Si.

I haven’t gone completely crazy here though, as I know you can also pick up the Ford Mustang V6 for about the same number of greenbacks. The base Blue Oval coupe will cost you $22,855 before you add on the optional 3.31 limited slip rear axle and V6 performance package. Still, you will be a bit bummed when you look at the interior of the 2012 Civic Si, because the seats are better and you haven’t even added in the cost of the Nav system, Sync infotainment or Bluetooth hands-free. Honda has already included that stuff (minus Sync of course) in the Si Navi.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops inside the Civic cabin though. The multi-level dash takes some getting used to. It looks like Honda passed off IP design to the ghost of Frank Lloyd Wright… and Fallingwater doesn’t translate well in the automotive world. While it’s nice to get a bunch of different information presented at once, it’s also quite distracting to, well, to have a bunch of information presented at once.

If you’re tech obsessed, you might really enjoy it. If you’re not, then you will hate it. Simple as that.

Still, that cabin is greatly improved over the Civic Si examples of yore. No more tinny doors that produce a sound akin to closing the metal shed in your backyard, and no more ultra-cheap materials that look like they were plundered from Korean cars built in the ’90s. The interior certainly doesn’t look expensive, but it also doesn’t look cheap, and that’s a great achievement for any car under $25k.

In addition to the cabin space itself, the seats are both comfortable and supportive. Something I can’t say about the seats in my 2000 Si. The EM1 seats put my head right near the roof, and boast the support of a drunk AA sponsor. The 2012 Civic Si has nicely bolstered seats keeping my butt and back in place, while also keeping them comfortable.

If you find yourself grabbing for the passenger handle in a 2012 Civic Si, make sure you’ve yelled out “Shotgun!” well ahead of time. The back seat is a place designed for legless midgets or horrible children. This is a coupe we’re talking about though, so just get the Si sedan if you want to retain friends who need a ride somewhere.

2012 Honda Civic Si

Honda is getting a lot of flack for the 2012 Civic lineup. I can’t speak to any version other than the Si coupe, however, because it’s the only one I’ve driven. Truth be told, it’s the only one I want to drive. It’s a more modern version of a car I actually own. The question I asked at the beginning was whether Honda has gone soft with the latest Si iteration.

No.

The car has matured. The seats are more refined, the engine makes low-end torque (well, for a Honda…), and the cabin materials are a pleasant surprise for the price point. The car is still fun to drive, wants you to rev its head off, and also returns solid fuel economy (22 city/31 highway per the EPA). It also does all that at a price below $25k. Other folks can rip the new Civic lineup apart. Here, we’re focusing on the model we care the most about.

My 2000 Si offers up a more visceral experience by way of its tinny doors, better engine noise, and seemingly harder pulls once VTEC kicks in(yo), but the updated coupe has gone to finishing school and come out a better every-day car on the other side.

The 2012 Honda Civic Si is a refined ride that fondly remembers the boy-racer roots from which it came.

[Disclosure: Honda provided the keys to this 2012 Civic Si and a full tank of gas]

  • jarque

    I don't really see the appeal. The Civic Si seems like a compromise all around. It just hangs somewhere in the middle between being a real sports car and a real practical car. You get a little bit of both but not the full benefit of either.

    • Scandinavian Flick

      Isn't that kinda the point though? Full benefit of either category pretty much negates the existence of the other. For example, you can have an affordable sports car like the Miata; but you can't carry passengers and you have a trunk the size of a lunch box. Or you can get a real practical car like… like a…. hmmmm… what's a practical example…? A Corolla! Ugh… Anyway, you then have an affordable car that get's great gas mileage, hauls people and some stuff, but doesn't bring any real driving excitement.

      Thus, compromise cars such as this allow you to get a taste of both worlds.

      I think I will be a multiple car owner for life…

      • jarque

        I guess this is what has been on my mind a lot lately because while the Miata is a blast to drive on country backroads, it's sort of annoying for the everyday commute with the bumpy ride, wind noise and the engine buzzing along at nearly 4000rpm in 6th gear. Maybe I'm getting old or something but it's starting to wear on me I think. I suppose ideally I'd have a car for commuting, a car for fun driving and some sort of classic but I think it would be difficult to get my wife on board with the idea of me having two cars, let alone three. I suppose I can always use the "Would you prefer I buy a sportbike?" argument. Maybe there is a car out there that is as fun as the Miata but will coddle my grouchy old ass a little bit more.

        • Scandinavian Flick

          Completely understandable. I have heard the same story from a lot of the people on the local roadster forum, especially regarding the freeway cruising RPM. I guess what it comes down to in regards to all around performers is, what do you want to give up, and what car gives up the least?

          Hopefully, for my sake, I will have my set of cars established once I meet "the one." That way, whether it is because of it, or in spite of it, she loves me and all the cars that come with me. 😛

    • Maymar

      I dunno, I drive a box-standard Civic, and it's a pleasant commuter car – economical, not terrible to drive (although the low-rolling resistance tires kill the fun pretty quickly), and a phenomenal shifter when it's in a good mood. But there are times where I'd like a little more PAH!, and that's where the Si comes in.

  • tonyola

    Interesting article and it seems that Honda hasn't completely lost the thread. However, I don't remember my 1990 LX sedan as having doors that sounded tinny when shut – the car always seemed pretty solid to me. Also, I don't remember the interior materials as being Korean-grade. Not luxurious, certainly, but reasonably in line with the price with the bonus of being well assembled and well finished.

    • I feel like the materials in my '00 are pretty cheap, and the doors sound like I've already removed the panels from them when I close them. Perhaps my Civic wasn't as well filled out inside as the sedans?

      • mnm4ever

        Thats because in 1990 Honda made them better, up until 1995 the Civics were very high quality inside. Beginning with the 1996 models, they started the infamous decontenting. You will find the same problem around that time at Toyota and Nissan, whenever they redesigned a platfrom in the late 90s it got decontented.

        My 1993 Civic EX was very solid, had triple-sealed doors, nice thick door panels and dash, nice carpet (though the DX and LX didnt get that, only the EX and Si), seat material was nice and thick feeling. I also shopped the Civic Si from the same year and it was exactly as nice, except without power windows IIRC.

  • Kamil_K

    Needs the following:
    – AEM intake,
    – RS*R header,
    – HKS exhaust,
    – TODA Spec B cams,
    – AEM adjustable cam sprockets,
    – C's short throw shifter,

    …and then YOUR Si will keep up with the new Si. 🙂

    • tonyola

      Don't forget the VTEC and Japanese lettering decals. Those add a good 15 mph by themselves.

      • meh, I prefer it with the decals gone. Plus, since my Si has been stolen and recovered, it's rocking the non Si wheels. Sleeper!(-ish)

        • Scandinavian Flick

          "my Si has been stolen and recovered"

          By now, can't about 90% of Si owners say that?

          …5% of the remaining can't say the "and recovered" part….

    • My Si has DC header, Mugen intake and front strut bar.

      • Kamil_K

        Oh snap, mad tight y0!
        I'll race ya with my VTEC-equipped MDX. 😛

        • [youtube 0dPSlcOAOFc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dPSlcOAOFc youtube]

          • Kamil_K

            The way you passed the Land Cruiser like it was standing still. VTEC for life yo!

            • Smells_Homeless

              Tonight, on civicforum.com… "Totally wasted a Landy."

          • Scandinavian Flick

            I have always liked the way those motors sound… An intake really opens it up nicely.

            • Kamil_K

              B18C has SO much more torque (lol) tho!

              • Scandinavian Flick

                Honda is one of those companies where so many people can rattle off engine codes, and my reaction is pretty much; o_O followed by deer in the headlights…

                Then again, I can rattle off Volvo engine codes and people's reactions are pretty much; o_O followed by deer in the headlights…

                • Kamil_K

                  Just know this, you want the Prelude H22 in your Accord which is the DOHC that 90s Accord never came with.

                  B18C1 is the Integra GS-R engine and B18C5 is the highly desireable Integra Type R engine, both of which fit very nicely into the lighter 90's Civic chassis.

                  B18A is the non-VTEC engine that came on Integra GS, LS, and SE. it will still make your Civic faster and some would argue is better engine for turbocharging.

                  There is also the B20A that came on the CR-V. Combine that with a B18C1 head, which actually flows better than the B18C5 head, so as long as you get a better intake manifold, and a crank from the rare B17C and you have a 1.9 engine with the perfect rod-lenght-to-stroke ratio.

                  I don't know anything about the newer K-series engine except for the fact that are a lot more powerful. 🙂
                  I got out of the game in the late 90s and never looked back, but damn I'd love me a healthy little Honda.

    • mnm4ever

      haha, I would rather have a mint EM1 than a new one, even bone stock. And a mint EK Si would be even better…

  • VeeArrrSix

    It's nice to see some Honda mills putting out decent torque but the interior styling is downright weird. Besides reliability, what would make anyone want an Si over a GTI?

    • dculberson

      "Besides reliability, what would make anyone want an Si over a GTI?"

      Well, I think the reliability issue is a big one. But there's also price; the GTI costs up to 6k more than the Civic; a loaded Civic Si is a bit over $24k while a loaded GTI is a bit over $30k. Not really comparable, cost-wise.

      • Yep, nailed it.

      • mnm4ever

        I agree, the reliability is HUGE reason, and price is second. Gas mileage on the GTI isnt as good either.

        I cross-shopped the Si sedan with the GTI, and I went with the GTI. Every day I LOVE my GTI, but I always worry that someday I am going to have some big mechanical failure thats going to cost me big. With the Civic, I could have welded the hood shut and never worried. And my GTI was used and still cost more than a brand new Civic Si. New ones with the same equipment are not even comparable.

      • VeeArrrSix

        I optioned a Civic Si and a GTI to roughly the same equipment levels and here are the results. You might be surprised.
        http://i.imgur.com/SbEZq.png
        http://i.imgur.com/7ji6x.png

        • Dag yo, ditch those over priced wheels.

          My Navi example in the review is significantly cheaper than an equally optioned GTI. Not hating on the GTI though, I quite enjoy that car.

          • VeeArrrSix

            The GTI has 18 inchers stock… just comparing apples to apples. I've shopped for a GTI in the last few months and the Autobahn Edition, which costs over 30k as referenced in dculberson's comment, has a much nicer interior with leather and such. I'm not hating on Civic either… just the math. Honda also has a handy comparative tool on Honda.com that compares these two cars side by side.
            http://automobiles.honda.com/tools/compare/result

            • CJinSD

              Apples to apples? A GTI with a sunroof starts at $26,715 and you still don't get the Civic Si's helical LSD. Besides, I'd sooner go to 16s than 18s if I were to change the wheels on my car. As you've stated, you can spend more on a GTI and get a more luxurious car than the Civic, but the base model GTI only exists so they can advertise a low price to get people in the door while the base model Si is…the Si.

              • VeeArrrSix

                The VW has the XDS diff which ain't real LSD I'll give you that… but with 18" wheels on both cars and the sunroof on both the actual difference is about a grand… not 6 grand. As you said about not wanting the 18" wheels… I say the same about Nav… I don't want that. It seems like the vehicles would cost about the same if we could build them ala carte!

                • CJinSD

                  How much would a GTI on 17 inch wheels cost? Probably about $2,000 more than it would with the standard wheels, using the same logic that you are to put 18 inch accessory wheels and tires on the Si. I don't want Nav any more than you do, and it isn't standard on either. 18s are not an upgrade for my use. The roads here are terrible and I need all the sidewall I can get. The rest of the time I'll take the 17's lower unsprung and gyroscopic weight. If I were going for looks, I'd have more fun putting 16 inch EX wheels on my car with performance tires and passing my car off as completely unsporting. If, like me, you have no need for large diameter wheels, the Civic Si is about $3K cheaper comparably equipped. When I bought mine and my friend bought his 2008 GTI DSG, the GTI had standard 17s and still had a similar delta to its pricing structure, although the MKVs were considerably more expensive to produce than the new ones.

      • import auto werks

        3 yrs ago went to dealer ship and looked at a new si mugen sticker was $34k way too much for a civic pretty but too pricey
        GTI + $600 to APR for tune puts out 322hp and 321 tq sorry civic (no parts but software gets 66hp and 52tq)

    • Maymar

      Different personalities. Granted, I drove an Si and GTI under different circumstances (quick trip on the highway versus an autocross-esque track), but one's a high strung screamer, while the other is a hefty Teutonic Bahn burner (yes, it's an oversimplification). I'd have to spend a lot of time with each to get a more solid opinion, but right now, I'd lean towards the Honda (and stare longingly at the Interlagos Plaid).

  • Back in 2007, I was in my former college town, housesitting. I texted my former roommate to see what he was up to.

    He just traded in his 2003 Evo for a 2007 Si sedan.

    Dude!

    So I got to drive it around town a bit, and it was jolly-good fun, and that shifter, swoon. It was not, however, an Evo replacement. The accouterments inside were all much better, but the lack of power just made it feel like a compromise vehicle. My former roommate kept it for its fuel economy for several years, and probably got a great value out of it, but I still see the Si as a sports car fan's daily driver.

  • Andrew

    I wrote a piece for S2ki i while back that essentially summarizes everything i loathe about new Hondas, including the Si:
    http://www.s2ki.com/home/2011/09/02/joie-de-vivre

  • dragon951

    While I don't like the ultra-super-best-fantastic neon treatment of the dash, I view the split display as a good way to make use of the vast expanses of largely barren dash plains found on many a modern car. I especially like the orientation of tach up front, all that other crap somewhere else. Also, your iPod has VTEC? That may be why your battery runs out so fast.

    • Maymar

      You get used to the split level dash pretty quickly – it keeps all the vital stuff right in front of you, and works pretty well. Granted, I don't have the information screen to serve as the extra distraction.

  • AteUpWithMotor

    Is the 2.4-liter engine the same unit as the one in the previous-generation Acura TSX? It certainly sounds similar.

    Is it still geared crazy short? One of my pet peeves about performance-oriented Honda is that their fascination with close-ratio gearing tends to deprive them of a suitable highway gear. That was a major complaint with my old Prelude Si 4WS, which was otherwise a very refined car, but was set up for something like 18.5 mph/1,000 rpm in fifth, producing so-so highway mileage and a nerve-wearing drone.

    Does it still require premium fuel? If it does, I would start wondering if the 2.5-liter Mazda3 is a better bet as a daily driver; it's not really any thirstier, is happy with regular, and trades some of the high-end scream for mid-range grunt.

    • Speaking of the transmission on the highway, I kept forgetting I had sixth because I was used to my civic… Once I remembered, it seemed happy to run at a decent RPM in sixth.

    • CJinSD

      The Si still requires premium fuel. The transmission in my 2 liter 2007 Si is geared for 23 miles per thousand RPM in 6th, which is a fine compromise in terms of noise and not having to shift down for hills. I believe the new 2.4 liter Si is not geared much taller, although Honda could have gotten away with it. We have a 1st gen TSX with a K24 and the 5 speed automatic. 5th gear in the automatic is much taller, and the engine does just fine with it. It also gets 35 mpg at high speeds, while my Civic only gets 32 mpg at 90 mph.

      • AteUpWithMotor

        23 mph/1000 rpm is reasonable; some of Honda's previous close-ratio gearboxes, even with six speeds, have been closer to 18 mph/1000 rpm, which gets old in a hurry.

        • jeepjeff

          Oh man. 18 mph/1000rpm? In 6th? Wow.

          Sorry, I've gotten used to a vehicle with low end torque. It has been a few years since I've driven a 4-pot hatch with a stick. (My 3rd gear is 18mph/1000rpm… 'Course it only gets 18mpg on the highway. Huh. Lots of 18s in this post.)

        • CJinSD

          IIRC, 5th gear in my 1976 FIAT 124 Sport Spider was a bit more than 16 mph/1000 rpm. My friend had 4.77:1 gears in his S2000 for a while, which worked out to 15.9 mph/1000 rpm in 6th. Kinda intense on the freeway, but it was effective around Laguna Seca.

      • skitter

        I really want to like these cars, but Old Accord + 80hp + 30 lb/ft + Another Gear – 209k – 0RPM @ 75 ≠ Acceptable, as shown by your TSX.

  • CJinSD

    When I test drove the 2007 Si sedan, the only thing I didn't like was the two-tier dashboard. I bought it anyway and headed accross the country with it. 3,000 miles later, I preferred the high mounted speedometer and huge tachometer to the instruments in anything else. I still have the car 4 and a half years later, and so far it has needed oil changes and a set of tires. The only wear and tear in the interior is some scratches on the top of the aluminum shift knob. I bought this car after almost 20 years of German cars, as German manufacturers stopped sharing my priorities and I couldn't see spending $40K on a car that was a miserable compromise. Giving up RWD and inline-6 engines was tough, although there is still one BMW in the fleet. I figured the Honda was so cheap that I could put up with FWD and a 4 cylinder engine. The original plan was to keep the Honda until BMW offered something attractive again, hopefully no more than 2 years, but instead the Civic has come to be my favorite of the 11 cars I've owned and I'd only part with it via theft or wreck. If that were to happen, the first car I'd look at to replace it would be a new Civic Si sedan.

  • pj134

    I look forward to a review of the Veloster Turbo… It kind of has 10 (or 20, in the case of VW) years ago weight with modern power. Should be interesting.

    • I look forward to driving it…

      • pj134

        I look forward to you reviewing it well so I have more reason to test drive/ buy one.

        • Kamil_K

          That's a lot of forward looks.

  • SSurfer321

    Nice write up Jeff. I especially enjoyed the Falling Water simile. Nice artistic pictures too. I appreciate the Flickr stream containing pics with more lighting to actually see the car with.

    A friend recently purchased an Si Civic (08 MY?) and all I could think was that shift lever was smaller than our friends' newborn's baby rattles.

    • Thanks… haha, I couldn't decide on which shots I liked better… so I left both versions of the same shots.

  • PotbellyJoe

    Yawn. This new Civic just makes no sense to me. The styling is meh, the engines aren't as fun (power does not always equal fun) and the best you can say about why I should be more interested in this coupe over a similarly priced coupe with 100 more hp is that the seats are nice.

    Noted.

    I realize that not every car is for every driver, but I feel like I could name a better car than this Civic Si for any driving situation you may find yourself in, all while beating the $25k price tag.

    • "feel like I could name a better car than this Civic Si for any driving situation you may find yourself in, all while beating the $25k price tag"

      Do you mean every driving situation at once, or each specific driving situation? Because the latter is definitely true, but the former is a pretty short list, and depends heavily on preference.

      There's a halfway decent case to be made for the GTI, Mazda3 and V6 Mustang as contenders, but each has its pluses and minuses.

      Used cars or modified cheaper cars are part of some people's purchasing decision, but aren't really a fair comparison.

      • PotbellyJoe

        I meant, whatever driving you typically do, there is at least one better car for it. If you want a sporty commuter, or a sporty car in general. I couldn't think of the way to word it, but what i meant to get at was, whatever your preference (provided it isn't 'It has to be a Honda') in a car be it sporty, nimble or anything in those combinations, there is a better new car available than this Civic, many times for at or below the $25k price tag.

        It just isn't the first pick for anything.

        • Ah, that's definitely true. There are definitely cheaper, faster or more efficient options out there.
          …but this is a car that's the first pick for splitting all three with only one car. It is, by definition, a compromise.

          I'm thinking recent college grad in a first decent paying job, needs a reliable efficient commuter that's still fun to hit the canyons with on the weekends. He lives in an apartment, so multiple cars/beaters/bikes for multiple purposes aren't really an option.

          In that case, it starts to make a bit more sense.

          Personally, I'd get a lightly used WRX (which I actually did) or Mustang for that purpose at that price; but again, it's not really fair to compare the value proposition of used cars (because they always win).

          • PotbellyJoe

            Mini Cooper S. Need more space? Clubman. Since he is a recent grad, and was already okay with a coupe, this works for size and seat requirements. I argue it is more fun to drive, gets better gas mileage, and they already both run premium, so that argument is moot.

            • Oooh…forgot about the Cooper S. That's a good one.

              Can you really get them for under 25?

              Can't really fault that as a pick, but if I were planning on owning it for >60k miles, I'd be a little wary of maintenance on the Mini.

            • CJinSD

              Already had a Cooper. Broke at least once every other month. Dealer was 70 miles away. No thanks. It was almost as much fun to drive at first. It was hard to look at after a year.

            • Mini Cooper S is certainly a fun car, hell the non-S Minis are even fun. However, don't even THINK about looking at the options list or your $23k car can quickly become a $35k car. They are practically Porsche-esque in their approach to the options list.

              Still, Cooper S is a good example – though I don't think there are TONS in this category like you suggested.

              • PotbellyJoe

                I don't think there are tons, which is why i didn't use the word. I can think of roughly 4-7 total in the class/$ range depending on your definition.

                Mustang V6
                Honda Si
                GTI
                Cooper / S
                Mazdaspeed3
                Genesis coupe (although I wouldn't)
                WRX (barely for the basest of base ones is around $26)

                • True, I mentally added that – my fault.

                  Also, I brought up the Mustang V6 in my review.

                  Mazdaspeed3 is a decent choice, but I really hate that torque steer and I prefer the styling of the last gen car.
                  Why no dice on the Gen Coupe? That is a GREAT choice… (once you upgrade the brakes and find a way to make the shifter feel better)

                  • PotbellyJoe

                    I just can't get past the kink in the side. It's me, not the car. If they didn't have that questionable weirdness, I would easily throw it on the list.

                    I didn't like the clutch in it either, but i know a lot of guys get that changed to a better unit.

                    I feel like a car should be decent out of the box and i find it strange by Hyundai that the three of the four things a driver is going to deal with the most for their sporty coupe is the looks, shifter and clutch. Hyundai missed all three. (the fourth is steering/steering wheel)

  • tonyola

    After riding in recent Civics, one thing I really miss is the incredible vision and airiness in my 1990 LX sedan. Thin pillars all around, a very low dash and cowl, and low sills on the door made for a terrific view with no blind spots and easy placement of the car. A friend who had a Volvo 240 wagon as a daily driver even remarked at how open and glassy my car seemed when he rode in it. Plus the Civic had the now-rare feature of rear side windows that could be completely lowered. Look at the profile picture – do I see a hint of 1980s BMW 3-series there?
    <img src="http://stwot.motortrend.com/files/2011/03/1990-Honda-Civic-sedan-side-view.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    • even the 95 Civic had some BMW touches here and there ( and one of the last ones I really loved)
      however I am currently researching my next commuter car
      and I am on the fence as far as the new Civic LX sedan:

      in photos they look great but I saw one in traffic and the ground clearance reminded me of a Buick LaCrosse
      (waaaaaay too much almost microDONK)

      But the reliability and sensibility(sigh) of the Honda gives my wife plenty of ammo
      against my pleas of a used Mini Cooper S or a Nissan Juke

      I was pushing for a Veloster but the 3 doors may be a deal breaker ( the 2 doors is kind of a deal breaker for the MINI too)

  • Karim Pollah Abdul

    I definitely don't think Honda went soft with this one. It's just as good as any sports car out there. That's why I'm saving up a little before I shop around for one at honda dealers in new york.