TO THE POINTWhat’s New? With 197 horsepower flowing through a six-speed manual gearbox to a helical limited-slip differential and 17-inch Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2 summer tires, does it matter what else might be new on the 2006 Honda Civic Si? Selling Points: Sleek styling, sophisticated engineering, comfortable front seats, lots of standard safety equipment, reputation for reliability, amazing performance Deal Breakers: Cramped back seat, funky dash design Our Advice: Honda unleashes a redesigned 2006 Civic Si, equipped with enough performance hardware that it sets the new standard by which sport compact cars must be measured.
With the introduction of the 2006 Civic Si, Honda celebrates the performance model’s 20th anniversary. The Civic Si first debuted as a 91-horsepower hatchback in 1986, riding on 13-inch, 70-series rubber. A 1989 redesign brought a 108-horsepower engine and 14-inch wheels running P185/60 tires. The 1992 model rode on those same size tires, stopped now with four-wheel-disc brakes and powered by a 125-horsepower motor equipped with VTEC technology. The 1999 Honda Civic Si Coupe – the best of the breed until this year – whipped up 160 ponies and included a sport suspension riding on P195/55R15 treads. The 2002 model returned the Si to its hatchback origins, adding ABS and 16-inch wheels to the mix. The motor didn’t make more horsepower, but torque was greater and peaked at lower rpm. The 2002 Civic Si also had a funky console-mounted shifter, like a rally car.