Honda has had a rough go of 2017 so far. Between the high-profile engine failures at the Indy 500 and McLaren-Honda’s woeful start to the 2017 Formula 1 season, the Japanese manufacturer’s reputation is seriously on the line. And it doesn’t take long to figure out that reliability is one of the reasons why they purposely dialed back the new Civic Si’s power output.
Speaking to Automotive News, Rob Keough, senior product planner on the Civic, explained: “You can tune more power into it, but all of that takes away from the durability of the engine. We wanted it to be attainable and affordable, so our target for Si was, really, to come in at this price point with this performance level.” So Honda is playing it safe, foregoing an increase in power but safeguarding its road cars’ reputation for long-term reliability. On top of that, Honda is able to sell its upgraded Civic at a fairly reasonable $24,775. But for that, you get the same 205 horsepower as the last-generation Si, though it’s more efficient and much lower in the rev range.
Honda is essentially setting the new Si up to be a blank canvas for tuners, much like the Civics of old. So when home mechanics get their hands on the new Si and squeeze as much power out of the motor as possible, Honda can’t be blamed for the inevitable engine failures (or catastrophic explosions).
In Honda’s defense, power isn’t everything. Mazda famously lowered the power output of the latest-generation Miata, and that’s one of the best cars Gear Patrol has ever tested. We’ll have to wait and see how the new Civic Si stacks up when we get our hands on it later this week. Stay tuned for the full review.