Track Tested: 2009 Honda Civic Si Sedan


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It was one of the original performance hatchbacks and it has survived for more than two decades in various states of tune. Offered for the first time as a sedan in 2006 as a 2007 model, the Honda Civic Si has been largely overshadowed by the more powerful sport sedans from Mitsubishi and Subaru.

Sure, they're faster, but they're also heavier and more expensive. The Civic Si remains one of the few lightweight performance cars that makes the best of a high-revving four-cylinder engine. In this case, it's a 197-horsepower 2.0-liter with dual overhead cams and Honda's i-VTEC system.

All Civics received a mild face-lift for 2009, but this Si is no faster, as all the upgrades were either cosmetic or electronic. Still, with a six-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential and an 8,000 rpm redline, the Si remains a performance bargain for $23K. See what our test drivers thought of its track performance after the jump.

Vehicle: 2009 Honda Civic Si Sedan

Odometer: 4,284
Date: 06/09/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $23,015

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual
Engine Type: Inline-4
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 1,998cc (122 cu-in)
Redline (rpm): 8,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 197 @ 7,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 139 @ 6,100
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear): Disc
Steering System: Electric power steering
Suspension Type (front): MacPherson struts
Suspension Type (rear): Multilink
Tire Size (front): 215/45ZR17 91W
Tire Size (rear): 215/45ZR17 91W
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Exalto PE2
Tire Type: Summer
Wheel Size: 17-by-7 inches
Wheel Material (front/rear): Alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 2,932

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 3.0
0 - 45 (sec): 4.8
0 - 60 (sec): 7.0
0 - 75 (sec): 10.1
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 15.3 @ 93.0
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.7
30 - 0 (ft): 32
60 - 0 (ft): 123
Braking Rating: Good
Slalom (mph): 68.8
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.89
Handling Rating: Excellent
Db @ Idle: 45.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 85
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 69.4

Acceleration Comments: As usual, getting the right launch means finding the optimal spin-to-bog tipping point. Very noticeable VTEC cam phasing. Shifter is brilliant and quick, with well-defined gates. Too bad about the 2nd-gear ratio hitting the rev limiter before 60 mph and necessitating a shift to 3rd. Love the sound of this engine.

Braking Comments: Ultra-consistent distances and fade-free stops, although we did smell the brakes after both the deceleration and acceleration runs. Adequate pedal feel and easy to modulate in everyday driving, too.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Stability control closes the throttle: no brake application, but it still grips rather well. With stability off, the Si responds only slightly to throttle input/output. Holds a line very well with mild understeer. Overall very good balance. Steering feels spring-loaded; offers some feel but not much. Slalom: Stability control feels pretty crude here with abrupt brake application. Shutting the VSA off releases the chassis' full potential which is astoundingly good. Lightning-quick reflexes with immediate weight transfer. This car does exactly what it's told to do. Very little roll and the limited-slip differential makes it easy to exit the last cone under full throttle.

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