The 2012 Honda Civic Si's new engine features better low-end torque, more even power delivery, and slightly improved fuel economy. The new i-MID puts navigation, trip computer, and media playback information in a safely viewable location.
The bad: Navigation maps are low-resolution and difficult to read.The bottom line: High-revving horsepower plays second fiddle to vastly improved midrange torque and slightly refreshed cabin technology in the 2012 Honda Civic Si.
Although the 2012 Honda Civic Si is the most changed model in Honda's Civic lineup, it is also the variant with the most to lose. While the standard Civic EX-L and Civic Hybrid models represent mostly mild, safe evolutions over their previous iterations, they're basically driving appliances. One could argue, however, that the Civic Si is the soul of what made Honda great and the last remnant of a brand that built its reputation on high-revving, fun-to-drive compact cars that offered thrilling, yet efficient, performance.
I don't think this new Civic Si exactly recaptures the spirit of the previous Si models, but as much as nostalgia tells me otherwise, I'm not convinced that's a bad thing. No, for the 2012 model year, Honda seems to be taking the idea of what the Si badge means in a slightly different direction, starting with an engine borrowed from an Acura.
Honda has decided to dump the high-revving 197-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine of the previous-generation Civic in favor of a 201-horsepower, 2.4-liter power plant borrowed from the larger Acura TSX sedan. If you're looking at that 20 percent increase in displacement and scratching your head at the mere 4 additional peak horsepower, then allow me to talk torque for a bit. You see, the previous Civic Si was notoriously gutless for the first two-thirds of its engine's power band, only really coming alive from about 6,000rpm up to the lofty 8,000rpm redline when the Intelligent Variable Valve Timing Engine Control (i-VTEC) system triggered a sudden leap in torque output (thus spawning the Internet meme, "VTEC just kicked in, yo!").