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The Saga of the ’16 Civic Si

HondaPro Jason spills some beans.

By Brian Gillespie
Photos courtesy of American Honda

Rumors of the 2016 Civic Si have been all over the board. HondaPro Jason recently shared the latest, saying he heard it would be delayed until 2017 and that it’ll come with a turbo K-series—a detuned version of the new Type R engine with its six -speed transmission. As much as I like this idea, I found it hard to believe. It’s just so different from all of the other rumors I’ve been hearing since last summer.

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The Civic concept shown at last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit would make a nice Si.

Back in early 2015, the first of the rumors was that the Civic Si was going to get a turbo L15. At the same time I heard that the EX four-door would get a slightly detuned version of the same engine and that both would have CVT transmissions. I was a little bummed to hear that there’d be no six-speed. The sedan was supposed to have 200 hp and the Si was going to have 220 hp. Next, I heard a rumor that there might be problems, and that the horsepower in the Si was going to be reduced to 200. I also heard that the EX horsepower figure was going to be reduced. (By the way, I’ve never talked to anyone at Honda about these engine problems, so I have no knowledge as to the validity of that rumor.) About this time, I also started hearing that the Si was going to be delayed and that there would be no manual transmission until 2016. While all of this was going on, there were also mad rumors about the USDM Civic Type R. Would it have 375 hp or 305 hp, and would it be out in late-2016 or a couple of years later? And the price, it ranged from $30,000 to a not-very-Civic-like $45,000.

When the EX  sedan was finally revealed, we found out that it had 174 hp. To me, it seemed to confirm the possibility of decreased horsepower for the Si. Rumors persisted that there were problems with the Si model, too. Rumors aside, Honda waiting for a year to release an Si model wasn’t totally unexpected, since it was only in 2006 and 2012 that they released an Si version the same year as the new body style. Now comes the HondaPro Jason rumor that the Si will come out in 2017 and be powered by a detuned version of the Type R engine with a six-speed manual transmission.

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The Turbo VTEC 2.0 liter engine has been in the European Type R since 2015 and is manufactured in the U.S.

I have to say that I like this rumor; it makes sense on a lot of levels. To release a CVT-only Si just seems so wrong. Believe me, I realize the CVT makes the car quicker, but it’s still just wrong. On top of that, in the past the Type R didn’t have a different engine than the Si, just a more powerful version. Also, the Type R engine has been out for a while, so it isn’t totally out of the question to expand it to some other vehicles and take advantage of the R&D expended. Realistically they wouldn’t really need to develop a manual transmission for the 1.5L turbo EX Civic. So few manuals are sold that Acura decided to drop manual transmissions in future models. It would just make those cars slower anyway. Personally, I hope to see a lot of different turbo Ks, not just in the Civic Si, but maybe in a version of the Euro Accord and some Acura models as well. But more selfishly, the engine swap possibilities would be mind-boggling!

HondaPro Jason, I hope you’re right. (And congrats on the new member of your family!)

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Brian Gillespie
Technical Editor at VTEC Academy
Brian Gillespie fell in love with the Honda brand in 1974 when he owned and raced a CR 125 Honda Elsinore. Many Hondas later he started Hasport Performance with his brother Keith. The last 17 years have been spent developing all sorts of engine mount kits, paving the way for nearly every Honda engine swap that's since taken place.