Will all the hype surrounding the first U.S.-bound Honda Civic Type R, people seemingly forgot there’s another hot Civic on the way.
Honda debuted the new production-ready 2017 Civic SI on Thursday in a video posted to its YouTube page. The new SI will be the first to come with a turbocharger, and the first to come without a VTEC engine.
“The 2017 Honda Civic SI is our first turbocharged SI and sets a new sporty compact benchmark in terms of agility and precise handling while building toward the launch of the Type R as the final chapter in our epic 10th-generation Civic story,” Jeff Conrad, vice president of American Honda’s automobile division, said in a statement.
Based on the facts and figures, the Civic SI is aimed squarely at the Nissan Sentra NISMO, and the Honda seems to have the upper hand. The SI’s 1.6-liter turbo in-line four produces 205 horsepower and 192 foot-pounds of torque, which is 8 horsepower and 15 foot-pounds more than you get from the NISMO’s 1.6-liter unit.
Both cars come with six-speed manual transmissions, similar standard equipment, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and driver-centric interior designs. But one thing that sets the Civic SI apart from the Sentra NISMO is its large digital display that minimizes distractions so you can focus on driving.
The two front-wheel-drive Japanese compacts also have similar sport seats. Even if you somehow don’t notice the SI’s rear wing, front splitter and red interior accents, you’ll realize it’s not an average Civic as soon as you sit in the body-hugging seats.
While the SI represents an alternative to the Sentra NISMO, it also is a great option for any enthusiast who wants a hot Civic, but can’t afford the more expensive Type R. It might not be able to compete with the Type R’s 306-horsepower power output, but the SI still is extremely agile, as Honda spent nearly as much time tuning its chassis as it did on the top-of-the-range Civic.
Honda said the 2017 Civic SI will go on sale in May and have an MSRP in the mid-$20,000 range.
All photos via Honda