2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe HFP first drive
The majority of Civic Si positives remain in new HFP edition
It's hard to argue against the added handling performance the HFP upgrades bring to the Civic Si. But let's not forget that the base car was already Honda's most appealing car to enthusiasts. And spending an afternoon thrashing it about on a closed circuit only reminded me of what a well-balanced vehicle the cooking Civic Si already is.
On public roads at normal speeds, the Civic Si HFP's steering sometimes feels too light. But at the more elevated speeds I encountered on the airport track, it gained added weight and feedback, while the standard Si bucket seats do a good job of keeping the driver in place to orchestrate the whole affair.
While a Mazdaspeed3 and the new 2013 Ford Focus ST offer a lot more horsepower (263 and 252, respectively), the 201 hp the Honda's new 2.4 L unit delivers (four more than the Si's former 2.0 L four) is still competitive with the likes of a Hyundai Veloster Turbo, Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V, and VW GTI.
More importantly, torque jumps to 170 lb.-ft. -- a noticeable 31 lb.-ft. gain. Not only does the redesigned 2012 Civic Si (and HFP) go from 0-100 km/h about a half-second quicker now (in the mid-six-second range), the extra torque at lower revs means the car's power is much more accessible, while fuel economy is rated at a reasonable 10.0 L/100 km in the city, 6.4 on the highway.
What the HFP changes didn't fix was the 2012 Civic's less-than-stellar interior. There's no point beating a dead horse here: Honda misjudged the market when it redesigned the 2012 Civic's cabin, saving money by cheapening what was already an interior that was falling behind the competition in terms of fit-and-finish, features and ergonomic design. We've been promised a fix for 2013 Civics, so stay tuned.
If you love to drive, the HFP Civic is a no brainer
If you're already a fan of the Civic Si, the additional pieces the HFP edition adds seem like a deal. The extra styling bits add more character to the base Civic Si's rather tepid styling. And at just under $30,000, the Civic Si HFP's price is right in line with the competition.
Keep in mind, Honda Canada is making only 400 copies of the 2012 Civic Si HFP this year. And in the two months the model has been on-sale, about 300 have already been sold. Honda Canada has not committed to building the Civic Si Coupe HFP after this year's inventory has been sold.
That said, Honda Canada seems to have created a winning formula with both the Civic and Accord HFP editions. I'd be surprised if more models weren't already in the works for 2013. May I suggest an HFP version of the more versatile Civic Si sedan for next year?