Civic Si: A Welcome Improvement

Likewise, the Civic Si, one of the first "hot hatches," has been fighting for its life as other automakers have improved their sport compacts' low-rev acceleration through the use of direct injection and/or turbocharging. Since it first incorporated variable valve timing — another major innovation from Honda — the Si has required high engine speeds to tap into its power band. The new engine's greater displacement is a welcome improvement, as it boosts the torque output to 170 pounds-feet at 4,300 rpm from the 2.0-liter's 139 pounds-feet at 6,100 rpm. The power peak adds 4 hp to 201 hp, but it's come down to 7,000 rpm from 7,800 rpm.

The 2012 Si launches with more authority, even spinning its wheels if you let it. The short-throw shifter is far more satisfying than the standard five-speed stick, operating six forward gears with close ratios optimized for the new engine. Even though the Si's output is greater, some competing sport compacts — the Volkswagen GTI, Mini Cooper S, Mazdaspeed3 and Subaru Impreza WRX — produce torque that's greater and/or at substantially lower rpm. Because most of these competitors are heavier, by as much as 400 pounds, it's not a perfect comparison, and the payoff for the Si is better mileage: Its 22/31 mpg beats the GTI by 1 mpg city and the Mazdaspeed3 and WRX by as much as 6 mpg on the highway.

    See also:

    Advice for Pregnant Women
    If you are pregnant, the best way to protect yourself and your unborn child when driving or riding in a vehicle is to always wear a seat belt and keep the lap part of the belt as low as poss ...

    How Your Side Airbags Work
    If you ever have a moderate to severe side impact, sensors will detect rapid acceleration and signal the control unit to instantly inflate either the driver’s or the passenger’s side a ...

    Installing a Child Seat
    After selecting a proper child seat and a good place to install the seat, there are three main steps in installing the seat: 1. Properly secure the child seat to the vehicle. All child seats ...