2006 Civic SI Drive

My local dealer extended me the opportunity to take a short test drive in the new Civic SI. As the owner of an 01 Prelude 5 spd I was interested in
trying out Honda's new sport coupe. As a 64 year old 6 footer at 190lbs who goes to the gym every day, getting in the Si was a little easier than the Prelude -- where you duck down a little more. So, less ingress/egress agility is required. The controls fall easily to hand and foot because of the fully adjustable steering wheel. I really had no difficulties with the driver's side hand brake at all, which seems to dismay some owners. The clutch was a little lighter than the Prelude and the brakes a bit more touchy, but very effective with a solid feel and good control. The 6 speed shifted about like the Prelude, but getting into 6th was a little notchy and stiff. In all the transmission was very easy to match the engine with a downshift -- which I had expected to be problematic given the drive by wire throttle. The induction sound is impressive when you hit it hard and run it up -- Honda apparently tuned the accoustics so that you can hear a full throttle charge down the road in the cabin. The VTEC was not abrupt like the Prelude -- where it comes on with a bang and a snarl at 5300 rpm. In the SI it was little more gradual and later in the rpm range. Overall, it seemed that the SI was a little stronger than the Prelude in the straight line run up to 70 mph. The Si showed its advance in technology over the Prelude as it was smoother and quieter and quite deceptive in terms of the speed you were traveling at. But, you still feel connected to the car -- I guess the comparison is that the older technology Prelude feels a little firmer and perhaps coarser on the drive. No real chance to try out handling, except the Si points well and steers honestly. So, I don't think you will get into trouble with it in this respect. I would say that you have to watch your speed as this car performs and by the time you have enjoyed running through the first 5 gears and notch up into 6th you have broken the speed limit anywhere. And, that's not even running it past 6500 rpm. (I did not want to distress the salesman by running a new car with 300 miles on it up to the 8,000 mark) .Loved the digital displays. Great for someone who wears bifocals.
In sum -- I would buy it -- but I still really like my Prelude.
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IMO,the Prelude is better looking,and lower to the ground means better cornering. I was PO'd when Honda dropped the Prelude from their line. (man,if the Prelude had a hatchback that looked just like the coupe,it would have been SUPER! Hatchbacks are SO practical,but I don't want a station wagon.) Also,I suspect the new Civic SI has a more free-flowing intake and exhaus, like the aftermarket CAIs and "Cat-back exhaust" that "tuners" put on;that being where they get their extra power.[and extra noise :-( ]
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Jim Yanik
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The Prelude is lower to the ground and I would think that it would outhandle the Si given the McP strut in the Si vs the wishbone in the Prelude. Overall, I just like the Prelude more, but the Si is a performance/fun bargain.
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"bargain",questionable. ;-) And there are no new Preludes to buy anymore. :-(
Does anyone else think that many of these cars are beginning to look alike? The basic body styles are all very similar;higher,narrower,more egg-shaped body. No character anymore.
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alike?
I suspect when you use computer modeling to determine wind resistance charcteristics you are going to achieve similar results -- the egg shape or some variant. Thinking back to cars I liked, designwise, the old XK 120 Jaguar roadster, a late 1940s brainchild, the later XKE which came out in 1961 or so, and the old Shelby Cobra. Ferarris of the the 50s and 60s were similarly inspiring. No computer modeling then and I suspect little wind tunnel testing. Just designer inspiration.
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Good review here, thanks. TL

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