2002 Honda Civic SiR
Text and Photography by Sammy Chan
Test Notes on April 3rd, 2002:
Makes terrific notes, sounds like a sewing machine on wheels. Sound even
more appealing and exotic than Acuraís RSX Type S. Power is strong even at low
speed, so itís quite a surprise to see that on paper, itís maximum torque is
only 132 lb-ft/5000 rpm.
Revs to limiter of about 7300 rpm in split-second, redline on tachometer
spans from 6800 to 8000 rpm, kind of low for such exotic material. Consider that
the Toyota Matrix XRS sports a 9000 high on its tachometer.
Donít confuse this with the 200 horse version called the Type R that we
will never get in North America, well, at least for now. Actually, a more
powerful version in the tune of 215 horses is available in Japan. For your info,
hereís the output figures for North American, British and Japanese versions:
||160 HP/6500 rpm
200 PS/7400 rpm
215 PS/8000 rpm
||132 lb-ft/5000 rpm
20.0 kgm/5900 rpm
20.6 kgm/7000 rpm
Only 5-speed (6-speed on the Matrix XRS, but SiR excels the XRS on feel),
but the console placement is just lovely and makes shifting gears so intuitive
and such a delight (Well, as long as itís fracture-proof !). Shift has a high
quality feel to it, makes click-click sounds, but still not at par with BMW
which on the other hand is a notch below the wonderful Honda S2000. I would like
to see shorter shift throws, though itís already very good as is.
Gear ratio seems short, with first maxxing out at 52 km/h and second gear at
only 93 km/h (not unlike Honda Prelude if I can recall, also, it means that you
have to spend more time shifting to third in your 0-100 km/h timed blast).
Engine revs at 100 km/h for 3rd, 4th and 5th
are 5200, 3800 and 3200 rpm respectively.
Clutch pedal effort is just about right and interfaces with the transmission
well. Has never let me down or embarrassed me while getting off from stop on
inclines, makes rocking car back and forth fun and addictive. Pedals are non-metallic finish though.
Not as firm as I would like and body roll is noticeable. Road grip is
more than acceptable but not phenomenal. Blame its tall body and those fifteen
inch Michelin MXV4 tires if you will. For those who are willing to fork out
$25,500 (most are now paying full-price as quotas are very limited), they might
as well spend a few more on better tires and better-looking alloys, ditto for
better-looking callipers inside the front wheels.
Brakes fast and strong, no problem here.
Although responsive, feel is not consistent and thereís some vagueness
to it. Hope some lap times with the SiR on the track at upcomingís AJAC Car of
the Year (October, 2002) event would leave me with a better impression. Steering
effort is ideal though. Torque steer is strangely too evident.
Fit and finish is very very good for a Civic, probably the best-finished
Civic I have ever encountered. The silver label at the bottom of the B-pillar
reads "MFD. By Honda of the U.K., MFG., LTD."
Recaro-like seats are simply gorgeous both in looks and support, too bad they
canít adjust for height, leaving me with a less than ideal seating position
without bringing down the steering wheel (only tilt, no telescope) too much as
to block the gauges. The red-stitched steering wheel is very handsome at least.
Same for the gauges, though the not-as-white-as-I-like face is rather dull for
my taste. Rear leg and head room turns out to be better than expected. Cargo
area is sufficient for most, glad to see an indentation at the back of the
liftgate for easy closing.
The all-new, European built 2002 Honda Civic
SiR three-door will be sold in Canada with the manufacturerís suggested retail
price of $25,500.
Under the hood
of the SiR is a high-output
DOHC 2.0-litre i -VTEC engine that produces 160 horsepower and 132
lb.-ft. of torque, while being capable of meeting the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV)
standard. The SiRís i -VTEC engine is a next generation powerplant that
combines Hondaís patented VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic
Control) technology and new VTC (Variable Timing Control). Hondaís new VTC
system continuously adjusts the intake camshaft phase according to the engine
load. This new system allows for low fuel consumption, low emissions and maximum
torque at all engine speeds. The 130 lb.-ft. of torque produced by the new
engine provides the widest power range and most linear power band ever for a
The Civic SiR has a performance-oriented close ratio "rally-style"
5-speed manual transmission mounted on the centre dashboard. The transmissionís
close proximity to the steering wheel allows for quick shifts and a sporty feel.
Compared to other Civic models, the SiR uses firmer dampers and springs.
Substantial front and rear stabilizer bars give the SiR added tautness and
precision in cornering. Large diameter disc brakes up front and new rear disc
brakes complement larger wheels and tires all around to maximize the vehicleís
performance nature. In addition, the braking system features Electronic Brake
Distribution and an anti-lock braking (ABS) system.
The 3-door styling is an entirely new configuration for the
seventh-generation Civic and will be offered in Canada only as the SiR. Its
high-curvature rear end and functional tailgate allow for maximum utilization of
space and easy loading and unloading. Along with aerodynamic enhancements, the
mesh-type front grille and rear roof spoiler further accent the performance
character of the SiR.
SiRís interior styling boasts excellent visibility, smart control placement
and highly supportive sport seats with red stitching. Interior enhancements
include performance oriented seats, white gauges and a 60:40 split rear seat
that folds straight down onto the seat base to create a flat load floor. The Civic SiR will be produced at Honda of the U.K. Manufacturing plant in