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Reliability is Why the New Civic Si Didn’t Get More Power

Right now, hot hatch enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Civic Type R.  This is a big deal, because it’s the first time the model will be available in the United States. But dedicated Honda fans are also wondering about the horsepower on the new Civic Si.

Specifically, they’re wondering why there isn’t more of it.

The last generation Civic relied on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder to deliver motivation, and the 2017 Civic Si is powered by Honda’s latest 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Both produce exactly 205 horsepower, though with 192 pound-feet of torque on tap, the new mill has about a 20-pound advantage when it comes to twist. Now, in an era when it seems like every model is bigger and badder than the last, that’s a little curious.

But the reasoning behind the flat horsepower figure is pretty predictable — the engineers wanted to ensure the motor stayed reliable.

That’s a paramount concern for Honda, as the company — like arch rival Toyota — has built its reputation on dependable cars which require about as much maintenance as a microwave. Seriously, everyone has a story about a 100k-plus Honda that’s never missed a beat. And while the Civic team could have cranked up the boost and gotten a little more grunt, beefing up the internals of the engine so it’d be stout enough to deliver thousands of miles of trouble-free performance would have pushed the price far north of the $24,775 MSRP. It’s that simple.

Of course, tuners will still have the option of tweaking the turbos to deliver a little more thrust, and many will surely do so. Because even if the additional stress means a slight reduction in engine life? This is still a Honda we’re talking about, so they’ll likely be well into six figures on the odometer before anything happens.

Consumer models of the hot-rod Type R are still making their way across the Pacific, but the 2017 Civic Si is available at your local AutoNation Honda dealer now.

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