Memories are better than reality
The first manual car I ever drove was a '98 Honda Civic SiR Coupe. It was a close friend's car. He loved that car more than life itself, and I was honoured that he offered to go through circuits and bumps with me in a deserted parking lot. It was in that Civic SiR that I learned all about the clutch friction point, the meaning of “rpm,” how listening to your engine is often better than watching the gauges, and that no matter what, you never, ever want to try and shift into first gear while rolling.
I have fond memories of that Civic – at the time, that friend was the only one of our group who owned his own vehicle. He spent most of his time chauffeuring my now-husband and I around, his aftermarket audio system with 10” sub rocking the two-door no matter what the time of day. His all-black exterior and interior were nondescript, but the VTEC wail was unmistakeable, and his car got looks of envy (and sometimes jealousy) everywhere we went.
So, when I found out I was going to get a chance to drive the brand new 2012 Honda Civic Si, I was very much looking forward to taking a trip down memory lane.
Well, it was a bit of a short trip, I have to admit. Save for the “H” on the hood and the “Si” symbol on the back, there really was no connection between that SiR I drove over a decade ago and the new model. You're all thinking the same thing right now: Well, of course not, why would there be? But let me explain.
Cars like the Honda Civic Si, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen GTI, BMW M3 all have reputations (read: histories) to live up to. They have deep-seeded pasts that are forever present in their DNA, and no matter what year you get behind the wheel they should be instantly recognizable. They are meant to stand out from the pack, to be a little different.
And I just didn't get that sense with the 2012 Honda Civic Si.
Each time I was asked what I thought about the Civic Si, I could only manage one response: “It's soft.” Which confused the majority of people, I have to admit. What did I mean by that? Well, here's a car that's meant to be sporty and a bit “tough” especially when compared to its normal brothers in the lineup, and I just didn't feel it.
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