Before we begin, the 2012 Honda Civic Si coupe is a rather different beast from the manic, “are those buzzing hornets under the hood?”—style mental patient that served Si duty in the previous generation model. With its screaming 2.0 liter VTEC motor and astronomical engine redline, which also required a lot of shifting to get the best power from every drop of unleaded gas, a 2011 or earlier Civic Si was a four wheeled speeding ticket magnet.
Just trust us on that last count. Approaching that car to drive it in the spirit of “moderation” was about as likely as Adele hitting a bad note during a live performance. It just wasn’t possible. But now it’s the 2012 model year and if you were more likely to be interested in something easier to drive around town or just up to the grocery store without aiding and abetting any criminal behavior, then this might be more your speed. We just aren’t sure if we like our Civic Si to be so, well, civil.
This newfound “mellowness” and the bump in horsepower comes thanks to the 2.4 liter 201 horsepower/170 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder related to the more “grown up” motor in the Acura TSX that now resides in the 2012 Civic Si’s engine bay. So we can guarantee that you will have more fun powering through corners on whatever routes you routinely travel and will also arrive at your destination in a calmer and more serene state, thanks to improved sound deadening.
It makes you wonder looking back, did Honda intentionally forget sound deadening material in last year’s Si or was that howling banshee wail utterly intentional. We think it was probably the latter but you never know. Essentially, the 2012 Civic Si is still fun without the bits that could get tiresome or scary like the end result of your average California marriage.
Thankfully Honda also stuck to its most cherished and traditional Si traits by only offering it with the best 6-speed manual in this class, a gearbox that is so easy to use that even a deaf and blind 78-year old narcoleptic could find the gears without any worry or care. The clutch is smooth and easy to modulate and the whole of the man/machine interaction in this Civic Si still serves high esteem as Honda’s best self-shifter for 2012. And Honda doesn’t make a bad transmission with a third pedal. Yes, we speak of the Civic Si’s clutch and trust us you can handle this one. Your outlook on driving will never be the same.