Given the fact that I have to relinquish the keys to my 2010 Honda Civic HFP (Honda Factory Performance) Si coupe tomorrow, I am left to wonder if perhaps they make a patch that could help curb my withdrawal symptoms. Quite frankly, my Dyno Blue Pearl colored Civic HFP Si should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning: “Frequent Trips to the Redline May Put Your Driving Record at Severe Risk.”
At least in my case, it is utterly and totally impossible to drive this whirling dervish of a car in a calm and sedate manner. The engine cries out to be revved and the manual transmission is the most pleasurable unit I have ever used. And I have tested the Mazda Miata, Nissan 370Z, Mini Cooper and a number of BMW manual transmissions. It is, quite simply, the best manual transmission in the world.
As follows is my review of the many aspects of this two door Honda Civic HFP Si that truly make it an unforgettable driving experience. You think you need an utterly impractical sports car to have a good time? Well, this sports car has a spacious 11.5 cubic foot trunk, split folding rear seats, brilliantly designed cupholders and enough cubbies in the interior to hold all of your junk.
And if you need even more utility the Civic Si is also available as a hugely practical four door family sedan. Mind you, this is a family sedan that also just so happens to have an engine that revs all the way to a stratospheric 8,000 RPM.
What is HFP?
Honda Factory Performance (HFP) is the line of accessories that you can add to your standard Civic Si coupe at the dealer. My tester boasted uprated 18 inch wheels on Summer tires (standard wheel size is 17 inches), a stylish front under spoiler with more aggressive looking foglights, a rear under spoiler, side skirts and a sport muffler. All told they would add about $4,000 to the price of your Civic Si not including installation but the overall look is well worth it.
The uprated tire/wheel combo makes the Civic Si not only look cooler but they also improve the handling with a slight penalty in ride quality. If you are going to use your Si as a family car, however, you might want to consider sticking with the 17 inch HFP wheel upgrade. The sport muffler, however, turns the Si into a howling screamer as you reach the engine’s 8000RPM redline. The noise the motor makes is well and truly addictive making it nigh on impossible to drive this car slowly.
The Civic Coupe is a styling two door to begin with but with the rear spoiler that comes standard with the Si and all the visual add-ons courtesy of HFP it looks positively menacing. This may cause problems because this car looks like it is going fast even standing still. The Dyno Blue Pearl exterior color is deeply luminescent and would be my choice were I to buy this car for myself.
Interior Design, Materials Quality and Utility
Unlike most Civics, the Si has a digital speedometer that reads in a slightly devilish red color (instead of the usual soothing blue). The interior is airy and spacious although the coupe feels more cramped in back than the rear seat of the sedan. So if you carry passengers often buy the four door Si sedan.
The black seat fabric on the seats is positively gorgeous with red Si logos stitched into the seatback and these sport seats offer plenty of comfort over long drives. All of the plastics are of high quality and the air conditioning easily battled the high Memorial Day Weekend temperatures in Southern California.
The shift knob is a tactile delight made from some metal alloy and is perfectly for hands of all sizes. The two tiered speedometer/tachometer design is still inspired and all of the knobs and switches move with a high quality feel. Overall, this is Honda interior design at its most delightfully whimsical, practical and forward thinking.
Driving the Civic HFP Si around the suburban streets near my home I could not keep my speeds below 60 miles per hour which can be troubling on streets with 35 mile per hour speed limits. Thankfully most of the roads near where I live have 50 mile per hour speed limits. But once you rev the engine to redline in first and second you are at 60 miles per hour. To paraphrase the inimitable Britney Spears, “Oops, officer, I did it again.”
Thanks to the 18 inch summer tires, the 2010 Honda Civic HFP Si handles corners as tightly as Joan Rivers clings onto the phone number of her plastic surgeon. To use a horrible cliché, this coupe really does corner like it is riding on rails. I can’t believe I just said that but it’s true.
As I have said earlier the shifter is such an utter joy to use that you will find yourself using the perfect gearing to slow the car down as you approach stop lights instead of applying the strong brakes. This will no doubt slow wear of the brake pads as those wear far quicker than clutches. Especially clutches made by Honda.
The steering in the 2010 Honda Civic HFP Si has a precise feel yet never feels darty like the racks in some competitors such as the Mini Cooper S. Although the engine screams as you hit the redline, the engine does quiet down sufficiently in sixth gear on the freeway to facilitate a peaceful interior at cruising speeds. But what fun is that?
Is This Car Family and Dog Friendly?
The interior of the Civic Si has durable plastics, the sturdiest feeling cloth upholstery I have ever seen in a test vehicle and everything is obviously assembled with the typical Honda level of care. The only issue is that this car accelerates so quickly and can handle such high cornering speeds that you should invest in a safety harness for your dog and an Indy 500 strength car seat for your youngsters.
As this car returns to Honda tomorrow I am going to cut this review short so I can go take it for a drive on my favorite twisty road near my house. The 2010 Honda Civic HFP Si just screams “bad influence” but given its practicality, fuel efficiency and low price when compared to vehicles with similar levels of performance it remains the sports car buy of the century. So when you go out and buy yourself a Civic HFP Si also be sure to pick yourself up a really good radar detector.
Vehicle Tested: 2010 Honda Civic HFP Si Coupe with Navigation & Summer Tires
Price as Tested: $24,055 plus HFP Accessories
Engine: 2.0 liter 4 Cylinder
Power: 197 horsepower/139 lb. feet of torque
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual (No automatic offered)
Economy: 21 city/29 highway
0-60: 6.7 Seconds
Trunk Size: 11.5 Cubic Feet
Safety Ratings (Government): Front Impact (Five Stars)
Side Impact: Front Seat (Four Stars)
Rear Seat: (Five Stars)
Rollover: (Four Stars)