Before the video game Gran Turismo came along, Honda had a lock on youthful buyers with the Civic. Fun to drive, reliable, and equipped with technologically advanced and fuel-efficient engines, Honda Civics could be easily tailored to the owner's personality through myriad aftermarket parts catalogs and websites.
But then the PlayStation gaming system exploded into living rooms, exposing the youth of America to Civic alternatives ranging from aging Nissan 240SXs to hyper Mitsubishi Evolutions. Honda responded by killing the handsome Civic Si coupe after the 1999 model year, and by dropping the Civic's popular double-wishbone suspension system with a 2001 redesign. In 2002, the Civic Si returned as a 160-horsepower version of the Europe-only hatchback, which looked like a doorstop and didn't possess the increasingly popular aggressiveness popularized by drivel such as "Too Fast, Too Furious."
With the debut of the Honda Civic Si Concept, a barely disguised version of what will appear in showrooms for 2006, Honda makes it clear that it still wants its slice of the sport-compact pie. Honda has also announced that the production version of the Si will debut at the 2005 Specialty Equipment Marketers Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas in November, and that Honda is SEMA's official vehicle manufacturer for the show - which means scores of modified new 2006 Civics adorned with scantily clad women will litter the desert floor come November.