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article details
Author Jeff Palmer
Categories Project Cars, TSX, Civic
Create Date February 21, 2008 16:40
Last Update February 25, 2008 11:15
Chapter 1

If you're thinking about getting an Si with Navi, plan well ahead
Though I had been considering picking up an Si Sedan for quite some time, I finally started actively seeking one in early summer of 2007. My target: Si Sedan with Navi and high-performance tires, painted in Taffeta White, Fiji Blue, or Galaxy Gray. You'd think that wouldn't be too tall of an order to fill, but the VERY first car I was able to snag - a Fiji Blue one - was finally delivered to me on January 3, 2008 - roughly seven months after I decided I was ready to buy. The only accessory I ordered with the car were the all-season floormats, and I specifically requested that the dealer's "standard" pinstripes and mudflaps package be left off the car.

This looks better
While I really like the Si Sedan as a package, there are a few little things that I've never been crazy about. First of all, the "DOHC i-VTEC" decals on the rear doors - while a nice homage to past Sis and Si-Rs - seem a little bit out of place on a 4-door. Fortunately, the cure for that involved 5 minutes with a hairdryer. Then there's the body-colored grille. It looks okay on some colors, but I found it to be a bit too much on my Fiji Blue Si. To fix that, I hit Collegehillshondaparts.com and ordered part number 71122-SNX-A00ZA, which is the part number for a grille insert, painted black. After ordering the part, I checked the service manual to determine how involved the installation was, and was a little dismayed when I learned that the manual recommended removing the entire bumper in order to replace this part. I decided to see how far I could get without fully removing the bumper, and fortunately I managed to get it done that way without too much heartburn. Either way, there are a number of fasteners that require removal, and all but four of these fasteners are easy to reach. Removing the bumper would have made it easier to remove those final 4 fasteners (on the lower edge of the grille), but I managed to pop these out with a little bit of prying. Of course, 3 of them shot off inside the bumper and I had to grope around blindly until my fingers stumbled across the loose pieces, but all in all I'd say it was still less work than removing the bumper. Upon completion of this little project, I wasn't sure that the end result was worth the effort, but after seeing the car in daylight I'm now certain it looks better. This first "mod" cost me $50 and about 45 minutes. This will most likely be the ONLY appearance modification I make to the car. I may be swapping the wheels at some point too, but I'd primarily be putting them on for the weight savings. If I had a choice, I would have preferred the little lip spoiler from the Civic hybrid as opposed to the Si's "wing", but after seeing Si sedans on the road for the past 18 months or so, the wing doesn't bother me as much as it did at first sight.

A Civic? Isn't that a big step down from your TSX?
Frequent and/or long-time readers of the TOV probably already know that my previous sedan was a 2004 Acura TSX 6MT. I very much enjoyed owning that car, even in stock form, but mine benefited from a few tweaks, including the A-Spec package (suspension, wheels, body work), and about 20 more hp than stock. While the 20hp was great, I think the car still needed another 20hp. It also badly needed a limited-slip differential. In stock form, the Civic Si sedan has the limited slip differential, a power to weight ratio that probably surpasses even my modified TSX, sportier seats, the K20Z3 (IMO, one of the most enjoyable 4-cylinders offered by Honda in the US), and a rock bottom price tag. Plus, it was on the market when I was ready to buy (other Hondas/Acuras on my radar included the 2009 TSX and 2009 TL). My thinking was that I could buy it, drive it for a year or two, enjoy the hell out of it, and if the 2009 TSX or 2009 TL were to my liking, I could trade the Si and not take too much of a hit on depreciation.

2008 only $20 more than the 2007
When I decided to go for an Si sedan, I was ready to drive home in a 2007 model if I could find one. I knew that the key change for 2008 was the addition of the tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS), but it seemed like everything else was largely carryover. The 2008 models sticker for a mere $20 more than the '07 models, which seems like a small price for the TPMS. How did the financial wizards at Honda pull off this seemingly amazing feat? Well, it seems like a few items were deleted, with the most notable deletion being the lining that normally clads the interior of the trunk lid. There are probably several other small items as well, but the only other thing I've spotted so far is the deletion of the little rubber pad that normally lines the bottom of the coin pocket found under the HVAC controls in the center stack. Since this is where I stash the button to my garage door opener, I noticed this one almost immediately. I'm guessing that one saved Honda a bundle. In the pic to the right, you can see the little rubber piece (from an '06 Si coupe) removed from the pocket.

Summer tires, yeah, they work in the winter
Living in Atlanta, you rarely ever have to worry about frozen precipitation becoming a concern of any sort, so I've always looked forward to having the opportunity to buy a car with factory fitted summer tires. As luck would have it, within days of taking delivery of my car, Atlanta experienced its first winter storm in ages. Fortunately, while we had fairly heavy snowfall for a few hours, the roads never froze, even though the temps dipped into the low 30s. Having driven on summer tires that turned to glass at low temps, I wondered how the Si's Michelin Pilot Exalto PE2s would respond to the wintry conditions. While not quite as grippy as they would normally be in warmer temps, the PE2s were perfectly safe in the cold, wet driving conditions. Otherwise, I already know that the PE2s perform fantastically in wet and dry conditions.

First Road Trip
Though I had hoped to put at a few more miles on the car before taking it on its maiden road trip, I had to make a visit to Nashville in early February, and the Civic performed flawlessly. This trip added about 500 miles to the odometer reading, and the motor loosened up noticeably over those 500 miles. Overall the ride quality was quite good on the open road, and the 6th ratio provides a reasonably relaxed cruise pace while retaining plenty of reserve for passing slower vehicles and cruise speed on fairly steep grades. Fuel economy was decent, but I expect it to improve as the motor breaks in further and as the weather warms. On the ride from Atlanta to Nashville, the K20Z3 delivered right at 30mpg. The next tank was a little lower, at 27.5mpg, but my average speed on the return trip was a fair bit higher, and there was also nearly 80 miles of around-town driving on that tank as well. The only minor quibble I had with the road trip experience was getting used to the seats. I generally find them to be very comfortable, but I would appreciate a few more degrees of adjustability, particularly with respect to the angle of the seat cushion. Additionally, my body happens to fit the firm bolstering quite well, but I could see how they may not suit everybody's body type. The Si's suspension delivers a comfortable ride over most freeway road surfaces, but there were a few patches of older road with lots of uneven concrete segments that reminded the occupants of the Si's more sporting intents. Considering the Si's razor sharp reflexes, it's a trade-off that I'm more than willing to accept. Speaking of razor sharp reflexes, just last week I was driving home from the airport and managed to avoid being clipped by TWO cars, thanks to the Si's instant turn-in response and low mass.

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