The Si nameplate first made its appearance on the Civic hatchback in 1986. It remained a popular option through two generations of Civics and then, as quickly as it appeared, it was gonefollowed in short order by the Civic hatchback itself. Somehow, Honda had become a convert to the popular myth that Americans won't buy hatchbacks.
Now, after a six-year absence from the line and prodded by the success of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen GTI, Honda will finally give its fans the car they have been begging for; the European version of the hot Civic Si hatchback. Slated to go on sale early in 2002, the new Civic Si will share no recognizable body panels with the current Civic line up. The new car will feature a 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine that incorporates Honda's VTEC variable-valve timing technology. The Si will also have a firmer suspension and larger disc brakes than the rest of the Civic line.
Inside, the Si sports super-supportive bucket seats and an unusual 5-speed shifter that protrudes from the dash, just as in rally cars. The rear seat splits 60/40 and can fold to create a completely flat floor. Standard features include a power moonroof, AM/FM stereo with CD and rear wiper/washer.