2007 Honda Civic Si
2007 Honda Civic Si. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Andrew McCredie

Discuss this story in the forum at CarTalkCanada
Photo Gallery: 2007 Honda Civic Si

Honda’s founder, Soichiro Honda, stated that “success represents one per cent of your work which results only from the ninety-nine percent that is called failure.”

If that is indeed the case, the founder of the iconic Japanese automaker must not have slept much during the ascendancy of a company that began as a humble motorcycle builder (more accurately a bicycle-with-small engine-attached builder). In fact, since 1946, Soichiro, a self-taught mechanical engineer prone to breakthrough ideas, had dozens of failed engine, motorcycle and car designs assigned to the scrap heap of automotive history before finding the winning formula.

That the son of a blacksmith and a technical school dropout would go on to create a global manufacturing giant out of the rubble and chaos of post-WW II Japan seems as unlikely as the Civic’s ironman streak – at 35 years of age, the model boasts sales numbers in excess of 1.2 million units in Canada alone since 1973.

The first Civics were essentially Japanese Minis, offering a small body with decent cabin space, and a small transversely-mounted engine with big fuel efficiency. That combination proved a near overnight success during the Seventies, when uncertainty over the rising costs of gasoline saw buyers downsizing. Honda dealerships sprang up across Canada, and soon the colourful little cars were everywhere. The Eighties was an age of renaissance for the Civic, as the quality, fit and finish, reliability – and rustproofing – improved dramatically.

2007 Honda Civic Si
2007 Honda Civic Si
2007 Honda Civic Si. Click image to enlarge

Now in its eighth generation, the 2007 Civic comes in two configurations here in Canada – two-door coupe and four-door sedan. Europeans get three-door and five-door hatchbacks added to that model list, and I suppose if there is one thing negative to say about the 2007 Civic it is that those hatchback models aren’t available here in this country.

But we can take solace in the fact that the Civic Si is sold only in North America. After roaring (oh, that exhaust note!) around Vancouver’s Lower Mainland in a Fiji Blue Pearl one for a week’s time, I can say with confidence I’d take one Si over both hatches any day.

Powered by Honda’s 2.0-litre K20 engine, a 197 horsepower unit with a teeth chattering 8000-rpm redline, the Si is as far removed from the first Civics as Soichiro Honda would be from today’s Harajuku girls, those Gothic Lolitas named for the fashionable Tokyo district they haunt.

The technology in the Si, from the next generation i-VTEC power plant, ABS braking and electric power steering to the close ratio six-speed manual gearbox and helical-type limited-slip differential, is the stuff of Soichiro’s dreams. All of the above come standard on the 2007 Civic Si, as do the rear spoiler, brushed metal pedals, a sport leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls, 17-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning and numerous other creature comforts.

2007 Honda Civic Si
2007 Honda Civic Si. Click image to enlarge

Clearly aimed at the Tuner market, though with a determined ‘no need to add anything’ attitude, the Si also comes standard with a first-rate sound system, complete with an MP3 auxiliary input. The 350-watt, seven-speaker system is also MP3/Windows friendly.

The best sound my test Civic Si produced, however, came from the big oval chrome exhaust pipe, not the high-end seven-speaker stereo. With a full 57 horsepower more than its nearest Civic stablemate and a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox, the Si was made to perform – and perform it does. The drive-by-wire throttle system delivers precise and accurate inputs; the Si-exclusive sport-tuned suspension smoothes out the twistiest roads; and the electric variable power assisted rack-and-pinion steering (also an Si-only feature) does a wonderful job of totally eliminating steering wheel-twitch from the front-wheel drive Si.

But for such a sporty engine, the twin cam, 16-valve i-VTEC 2.0-litre four banger is quite economical: gas mileage is 10.2 L/100 km (28 mpg Imp) city and 6.8 L/100 km (42 mpg Imp) highway, according to official Energuide figures.

2007 Honda Civic Si
2007 Honda Civic Si. Click image to enlarge

Simplicity of design has always been a hallmark of Civic interiors, and the Si’s is no exception. Unlike other automakers that have embraced the more-is-everything ethos when it comes to switches, knobs and buttons, Honda continues to keep things clean and well ordered.

All the pertinent driving instrumentation is positioned as it should be – directly in front of the driver’s seat and in clear view. Too often smaller cars have control panels more centrally situated, perhaps in an effort to give the cabin a less cramped feel, but rarely does it work from either an aesthetic or practical perspective. In the case of the Si, a distinct driver’s cockpit is formed by the curved dash, and the few centre console controls – limited to climate and stereo functions – are integrated smoothly into the dashboard.

In keeping with the Si’s youthful approach – Si does stand for “Sport injected” after all – the upper tier of the two-tier instrumentation panel contains a large digital speedo illuminated in red. Likewise, the lower tier contains an all-encompassing digital tachometer, which in keeping with the Si’s racy approach, is of the old-school analog variety only in bright red and blue digital readout.

2007 Honda Civic Si
2007 Honda Civic Si. Click image to enlarge

Fully legible in the brightest sunlight, it is in the evening when the digital display really shines and makes an impression. Little wonder Honda’s marketing department used the futuristic film Tron as inspiration for the eighth-generation Civic TV spots. Buzzing along at high rpms at night with the Si’s cabin aglow in fluorescent hues of blue and red, you can’t help but feel like one of the lightracer drivers in the iconic 1982 Disney movie.

Red stitching in the Si’s big and comfortable front seats denotes the sport model brand, though rear seat room is a very coupe-like, tight squeeze even for young teens. Clearly, this car is built with the front seat passengers in mind. Still, a 60/40 folding configuration of the back seats provides good cargo handling capacity, and the trunk is surprisingly large for a coupe.

On the outside, the Si looks exactly what it is intended to be – a sport version of the Civic coupe. The aforementioned rear spoiler – complete with built-in lights – bigger wheels and overall flared-out body kit give the Si an aggressive look, particularly from behind.

With a price tag at the high end of the 2007 Civic line, the Si doesn’t represent everyone’s idea of a Civic. But if you like a little sport to go along with your sensible, the Honda Civic Si is one of the best value coupe offerings for 2007.

Pricing: 2007 Honda Civic Si


  • Click here for complete specifications

Related stories on Autos


  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt Coupe SS
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Mazdaspeed3
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Mini Cooper S
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 Saturn Ion Redline
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2007 VW GTI

Crash test results

Manufacturer’s web site

Connect with Autos.ca