2009 Honda Civic Si

New Grille

Engine

Coupe body

Limited slip differential

Sport seats

Inteiror design

Steering wheel

Instrument cluster

Gearbox

Navigation system

Destination entry

CD and PC Card slot

USB port

CD screen

The 2009 Honda Civic Si is the sport model of the Civic line-up. Where the base Civic is bland, the Si version is very exciting, combining excellent handling and a high-revving engine.

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Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Honda made some minor style updates for the 2009 model year, giving it a new tiered diamond grille inset, a cue that is becoming standard for Honda.

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Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CNET
The engine is the same as in the two previous model years, being a 2-liter four cylinder. With an 8,000 rpm redline, it produces 197 horsepower.

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This Si is the coupe model. Honda released a sedan version last year, and is expected to again this year. The couple has an excellent shape, with a spoiler unique to the Si.

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The steering is very precise, and the car's handling is enhanced by a limited slip differential on the front wheels. The ride is sports car firm.

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These seats are well bolstered, doing a good job of keeping you in place during hard cornering.

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The interior design and materials are the same as in the other Civic models, including the two tier instrument cluster, but the Si gets a few unique styling cues, such as the Si-logo tachometer dial.

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The steering wheel feels a little thin and cheap. We would like to see one with a thicker wheel.

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The tachometer sits in the usual place for an instrument cluster, but the speedometer is a digital read-out in a display just below the windshield.

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This close ratio six speed manual gearbox feels great, with precise gear shifts.

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One thing that makes the Si a real value in this class of cars is its available tech, which includes this navigation system. The system works well, but is a little crude by today's standards.

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This on-screen keyboard can be used for destination entry, and the Civic Si also has a really good voice command system.

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The screen on the navigation unit motors down to reveal a CD slot and PC Card slot, the latter a strange accommodation for digital music.

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New for 2009 is this USB port in the console, which works with iPods and USB drives. This is our preferred method for digital music.

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The MP3 CD interface, like the other screens on this system, is ugly, although the functionality is good.

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Honda fits the Civic Si with a seven speaker system, which includes this subwoofer on the rear deck. 350 watts of power make the music loud.

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