2016 Honda Civic: Si Performance, HF Fuel Economy, and Van Halen Approved
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on May 3, 2016
Back in March, Ed Hellwig wrote that the engine in our 2016 Honda Civic "feels great." Here's another example of what it's like to drive.
Yesterday, I was piloting our Civic and needed to pull out from a city side street onto a major thoroughfare. Looking to my left, I could see some approaching traffic, with the nearest car in the far-left lane. There was a suitable gap for the closer lanes, though, so I entered the thoroughfare and hit the gas. The Civic's 174-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged engine quickly spun up towards redline.
Driving a typical small sedan, I would have largely expected that nearest car to sail past in my peripheral vision and get ahead of me. But it didn't happen with the Civic. In fact, the other car only pulled about even with me before we were of equal speed. The other car? A gray eighth-generation (2006-'11) Civic Si coupe. Two young guys were in it, and the both looked over at me. Based on their expressions, I'd like to think they were at least a little impressed by our new Civic's vitality.
Got boost? Sure enough, Civic fans.
If you read our recent performance test, you likely saw that our Civic accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. That's actually quicker than the old Si. We tested an Si coupe of the eighth-generation (197-hp 2.0-liter engine) and recorded a 0-60 mph time of 7.1 seconds. Our new Civic was quicker in the quarter-mile, too, by a tenth of a second (15.0 versus 15.1). More recently, a 2012 Civic Si (201-hp 2.4-liter engine) matched our car with a 6.9-second time.
You could say it's a wash for track-test times. But I'd wager that if you were to line up both cars with average drivers, the new Civic would be quicker just about every time. Because it only comes with a continuously variable transmission, you just mat the gas and go. With the Si and its manual-only gearbox, it takes skill to launch perfectly and avoid bogging or roasting the tires.
Granted, the new Civic Turbo (my name for it, but it has a nice sound to it, doesn't it?) doesn't have the soul of the Si. The special thrill you get with shifting gears and winding out an old Si, listening for the "VTEC" kick at high rpm, is absent in our Civic. But for typical driving, the Civic's new turbocharged engine (available in the EX-T, EX-L and Touring) is crazy good.
Plus, when you're not giving the new Civic the spurs, it just hums along, sipping gas. It's EPA-estimated combined fuel economy of 35 mpg is 2 mpg better than the 2012 Civic fuel mileage champ, the HF, which had special tires and aerodynamic enhancements for better mpg.
Did I mention you can just fill it up with regular?
With the Civic's new engine, feel free to crank up this old Van Halen song.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 2,945 miles