What Are They?
Honda is showing off two important models at this year’s LA Auto Show. One is the sporty Honda Civic Si, a high-performance version of Honda’s popular Civic compact car. Although Honda has offered previous Civic Si models, the latest version of the Civic — redesigned for 2016 — has missed the sporty model until now.
In Los Angeles, Honda showed off the Civic Si Prototype, a thinly disguised version of the production-model Civic Si Coupe. It includes a long list of stylistic upgrades from the standard version, including more aggressive front and rear ends, a rear spoiler and larger wheels. Of course, the prototype also includes interior upgrades like red stitching and sporty accents.
But the most important upgrade is under the hood, where the Civic Si will boast a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Power output hasn’t been confirmed, but we’re expecting more than the 205 horsepower in last year’s model (but less power, surely, than the upcoming Civic Type R). Honda has not yet shown off a prototype version of the Civic Si sedan, but we suspect a production model is on the way.
Less surprising is the auto-show debut of Honda’s recently redesigned 2017 CR-V crossover, which was originally shown off last month. On sale since 1997, the CR-V will now be entering its fifth generation with the latest model, which features new styling, an upgraded interior, more equipment and a radically different powertrain: a new 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 190 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, which will likely offer better gas mileage and performance than the outgoing powertrain.
Honda has not yet announced pricing for the 2017 CR-V or the Civic Si. But based on current pricing, we suspect the CR-V will range from roughly $25,000 to roughly $34,000, while the Civic Si will likely start under $25,000 with shipping.
When Can You Get Them?
The CR-V goes on sale next month. Since the Civic Si is technically just a prototype, we suspect it’ll need a little more time before it goes on sale — but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it in dealerships by summer 2017.
Add Them to Your Shopping List Because…
The 2017 Honda CR-V deserves a spot on your shopping list for obvious reasons: It’s a proven small crossover with an excellent track record, affordable pricing, notorious reliability and excellent fuel economy. While it’s not the most exciting or unusual small SUV on the market, it’s undoubtedly one of the best.
As for the Honda Civic Si, it’ll be a great option for shoppers who want something a little more exciting than a standard Civic without going all-out for the upcoming ultra-high-performance Civic Type R. Earlier Civic Si models have offered excellent balance between sporty performance and traditional Civic values — like excellent gas mileage and reliability — and we suspect the latest version will do the same.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Mazda CX-5 — Across the show floor in LA is an all-new version of the popular Mazda CX-5, which has touted impressive gas mileage and exciting driving characteristics since its launch in 2013.
2017 Toyota RAV4 — Although the RAV4 is aging, it was recently updated with some new styling and — most importantly — some new tech. The RAV4 also now touts a hybrid powertrain, which likely gives it a gas-mileage advantage over the CR-V.
2017 Subaru WRX — Although the sporty Subaru WRX is more expensive than the Civic Si, it adds stronger performance thanks to additional power and standard all-wheel drive. It’s worth a look if your budget can swing it.
2017 Volkswagen GLI/GTI –The high-performance Jetta-based GLI and the Golf-based GTI are more practical than the Civic Si Coupe. They also offer well-crafted interiors and an excellent 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.