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Review Pg 1
My first impression when I pulled away in this car was how refined the Civic has become. We got a taste of this when we tested the Si hatch, and it seems to be in the genetics of the latest Civic. Quiet, tasteful and comfortable interior and a good ride, even with the stiffer suspension. But you don't really care about that if you're interested in the performance package, do you?



What really matters is how it handles. And here, Honda's chassis tuners have done a terrific job. Key changes to the suspension include lower and stiffer springs (almost an inch lower), retuned dampers and beautiful 16x6.5" wheels mounting Yokohama A680 performance tires in 205/50-16. These are the exact same tires used by the Toyota Celica GTS, so they're readily available and pretty capable for OEM fitment rubber.



The net effect of what would seem to be rather modest changes is a profound improvement in handling. Body roll is dramatically reduced. Oh, its still there which shouldn't be a surprise since the swaybars remain stock. But its much more manageable and doesn't get in the way of fast cornering. Understeer is also banished from normal driving, only reappearing when you are cornering at very high speeds, and even then its quite benign. Overall grip levels have shot through the roof - both in lateral and longitudinal acceleration. We recorded dramatically improved braking numbers despite no changes in brake hardware. As we've said before about many of Honda's OEM tire fitments and braking numbers - "Its the tires stupid!" And on launch it took some serious gas pedal pressure to break the tires loose (sure, its only a D-series engine, but lighting up OEM all seasons isn't exactly hard to do).

Overall balance of the car is really quite nice. You can really push it into a hard corner with great confidence in the chassis. It does what you ask, with solid turn in and excellent mid-corner stability. Bumpy turns are no problem at all, especially compared to some of the overly stiff aftermarket setups available that are suitable for billiard table smooth racetracks only. If there is one complaint about the handling its that the car isn't as tossable or adjustable as I'd like. Its a small complaint, but frankly the Civic Si we tested spoiled me. Lift throttle oversteer is pretty hard to find in the FP Civic. Probably not a bad idea for the average street driver, but we'd like to see a little bigger rear swaybar and maybe an alignment tweak to give us some more rotation.

Now, read on for the actual performance numbers


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