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Honda Civic Si scores on (almost) all points

Honda Civic Si scores on (almost) all points

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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The Honda Civic shouldn't offer much beyond a low price for an entry-level car, but the new Civic Si completely blows away that conception. With navigation and a voice-command system, the car costs only $22,290. I'm used to seeing prices of more than $40,000 for the gadget-filled cars we review at Car Tech, so finding the sporty Si coupe sitting all alone on the Detroit show floor was surprising, to say the least. And the Honda Civic Si skimps in few other areas. For performance, its 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine pumps out 197 horsepower. It has a limited slip differential, antilock brakes, and electronic brake-force distribution. Its manual transmission has six gears. The instrument panel is this really cool-looking setup with the tachometer directly in front of the driver, plus, in a tier above it, a digital speed display and a fuel gauge. The audio system includes XM Satellite Radio and pumps out 350 watts. Did I mention that this car costs a mere $22,290? The only part that seemed a little substandard was the steering wheel, which felt kind of cheap. That's particularly bad because it's full of multifunction controls, making it difficult, if not impossible, to replace.