Honda has launched its UK-built Civic Si 5-door hatch in Australia, expanding the local Civic lineup to include everything from three to five doors.
Priced from $38,990 AUD for the six-speed manual and $41,290 for the five-speed automatic, the new Si sits at the top of the Civic range, with the auto costing just $700 less than the hi-po FN2 Type R.
So it's a little expensive, but aside from two extra doors what do you get for your cash?
The key differences are in the styling department. The Civic Si rides on the FK chassis, which has more in common with the FN2 Civic Type R's underpinnings than it does the FD-series floorpan of the Civic sedan. As a consequence the Civic Si boasts the same edgy style as the Type R, which certainly has its merits.
The triangular theme certainly draws in the eye while the Si's profile isn't that far removed from its three-doored cousin. However, that plasti-chrome grille is no match for the Type R's handsome face.
That being said, it's still an attention-getter. With its attractive-yet-polarising looks and top-shelf pricing we'd wager the Civic Si will find more favour as a fashion statement than just a basic mode of transport.
With just 103kW and 174Nm emnating from its 1.8 litre VTEC engine though, it probably won't be bought for its performance credentials.
The 114kW Civic Sport sedan bests it in the power and torque stakes, while its double-wishbone rear suspension is a good deal more sophisticated than the Si's space-saving torsion beam rear end. Not only that, but the Civic Sport is also $8.5k cheaper.
But the sedan can't match the Si for spec. The Civic Si comes with leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, flat-folding rear seats, heated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, auto headlamps, cruise control, keyless entry, push-button starter, a trip computer, fog lamps, and 17-inch alloys.
An MP3-compatible CD/tuner with USB and iPod connectivity is also included. Dual front, side and curtain airbags, as well as ABS, ESP, EBA, EBD and traction control are all standard. Bluetooth and an eight-disc stacker are optional extras.
Fuel consumption is another Civic Si high point, with the manual slurping just 6.9 litres of petrol per 100km on the combined cycle. The auto drinks 7.2 l/100km, which is still an admirable figure.
Think the Civic Si is your cup of tea? You'd better be quick. Honda Australia only plans on selling 420 of these, so head on over to your local Honda dealer while they're still fresh.