Los Angeles Auto Show: Lukewarm Reception to New Civic Si

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Yes, the Honda-tech/Internet Brands team has been at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Prepare yourself for the hot takes, because here we go: The new Civic Si “prototype” (read: 99.9% production ready) was unveiled in Los Angeles, and we were collectively disappointed.

Perhaps disappointed is too sharp, but the feeling of “ehh, sure” permeated the scene.┬áDetails were oddly sparse, which didn’t help the cynics in the crowd. Here’s what we know: the new Si, based on the 10th gen Honda Civic will come in coupe and sedan body styles; utilize a turbocharged, direct-fuel injected L15 engine, paired exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission with a helical limited slip differential; feature adaptive dampers, uprated brakes (at a glance, the new Si wears beefier calipers and appreciably thicker rotors than the 8th or 9th gen Si); 19″ wheels (we suspect the non-“prototype” will use 18’s) and the typical sporty exterior accoutrements that help distinguish the Si from the more plebeian members of the Civic family.

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Things not discussed and not answered: power, torque and weight. Based on the dimensions of the regular 10th gen Civic EX turbo, we’ll guess the Si comes in right around 3000lbs, which is respectable for a modern sport compact. Power figures are a total toss up, but most commonly tossed around number in the audience was between 220-230 and a bit lower for the torque figure. The Honda reps claim it’s the fastest Civic Si ever, and we don’t doubt it, despite them not mentioning in what metric. The current Civic turbo is about even with a 9th gen K24-powered Si in a drag race, so an Si with a bit more boost thrown at it seems like a no brainer in a drag race.

Here’s why we’re collectively disinterested: power figures are one thing, but the character of the powerplant is another. Looking at the gauge cluster in the new Si, redline is 7000RPM, and as is the way with seemingly all of the new small displacement, D.I. turbo four cylinder engines, we’re guessing it’ll run out of steam before then and that 7000RPM redline will rarely be swept when extracting maximum go from the little 1.5t. It’s a far cry from the 8300RPM capable K20Z used in the 8th generation Si.

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A few staffers here are Honda diehards, myself included, and we will be very happy to be proven wrong when the new Si lands in the press fleet, but until then, consider us lukewarm on the Si’s new heart. Beyond that, the 10th generation Civic wears the Si look well, dancing┬áthe fine line between aggressive, angular styling and overwrought look that seems to be coming from the Japanese manufacturers as of late. The only prototype part of this “prototype” is the paint, which photographs well and really helped sell us on the looks. It made the black Type R parked behind it seem borderline mundane in comparison.

So, we’re lukewarm on this new “hot” Honda. What do you think? Do you feel like the L15 turbo is a worthy successor to the beloved K-motor? How about the looks, are you feeling the 10th gen Civic Si? Drop a comment and let us know.

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