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When Tuner’s Dream, they Dream of this

The most amazing aspect of the new 2006 Honda Civic Si is the level of anticipation for the launch of this new car. The other 2006 Civic models are already at the dealers but if you can hold out till December it will be well worth the wait. Word on the street is that not only is this car seriously under priced but it should immediately reach cult status and remain there entrenched in the minds and souls of the tuner crowd for at least ten years.

To understand how important this new model is, consider that Honda has decided that the new Civic Si should be their flagship car. This marketing decision is based on the idea that Honda feels it must keep up its cool image if it is going to remain a leader at selling cars. Honda has succeeded in commanding a premium over its competitors by having its models perceived as better. The new Civic Si is saying that anyone who wants a sports coupe can get one.

The performance specs don’t tell even half the story; the 6.7 second 0 to 60 mph isn’t amazing but this car comes with a 30% heavier suspension then other Civic models. The 2006 Civic Si comes with a 2 liter 197 horsepower engine but expect to see some tricked out versions with over 400 horsepower appearing within six months after they go on sale. To understand the soul of the new Si we must look at the history of the Civic. In 1972 Honda brought the Civic to America, before then they were a motorcycle company. The first Civics were 140 inches long, three inches shorter then the current 2005 Mini, and although the Mini weighs in at as much as 2700 pounds the feather weight Civic was a mere 1400 pounds. The initial Civics got 50 horsepower, a number that would double to 100 by 1986 when the first Si’s were produced. Honda advertised the early Civics as appliance cars that would do little more then “get you where you have to go”. They were fuel sippers getting 30 miles to the gallon and in 1972 were sold new for only $2,200. By the eighties the Civic had become the car of choice for the tuner crowd. Some more recent Civics exist that after extensive engine modifications produce 600 horsepower.

The new Civic Si comes with excellent visibility, a power sunroof, and a 360 watt stereo all for under $20,000. The sporty ness of this car is quickly conveyed by the intense angle of the windshield and the finely tuned howl of the engine that Honda achieves by winding the air intake through the front fender. The redline of 8,500 is so easily achieved that it makes you wonder why other cars are so challenged. The 2 liter V-TEC engine sounds as good as any Ferrari or Porsche Turbo; choice options include 18 inch wheels and the best navigation system in the business.

Why is the new Civic Si considered $5,000 under priced at $20,000 with only 197 horsepower when the 2006 Honda Accord 3.0 with 244 horsepower at $25,000 is not? The reason is that when we looked around for a comparison car to the new 2006 Civic Si the car that was most commonly mentioned was the recently retired 2005 Acura NSX, a car with a list price of $89,000. The new Civic Si is no longer a small car; it is now 9.1 inches longer, 2.2 inches wider and 3.2 inches shorter then the 2005 version, these changes give it a much more competitive racing stance. The back seats did lose three inches of leg room and the trunk at 11.5 cubic feet will never make it as an airport taxi, but the total package is a road ready, track capable, incredible reliable, Ford Focus smoker. Honda says it seats 5, but honestly few cars really seat 5. The engine is similar to the one that has been used in the Acura RSX Type-S since 2001 and the new Civic comes standard with a limited-slip differential. In a nut shell the new 2006 Honda Civic Si might be the best front wheel drive car built ever, at any price.

The only bad things you can say about this car is that the optional summer only tires improve performance so substantially that it makes the car into a California car and you will have to invent excuses as to why you choose to drive your $20,000 car and leave your more expensive car home in the driveway.

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