The new 2017 Honda Civic Si is upon us. Using a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, it produces 205 horsepower—a figure that, as its detractors have pointed out, is identical to the horsepower output of the outgoing Civic Si, and is bested by pretty much all of its contemporaries. Now, Honda is clearing the air over the rationale behind the relatively tame power output.
Senior Civic product planner Rob Keough recently spoke to Automotive News regarding the Si's horsepower (or lack thereof), saying, "You can tune more power into it, but all of that takes away from the durability of the engine."
Keough added, "Honda likes to build their engines to last hundreds of thousands of miles, so they're working toward that target."
In addition to adhering to Honda's reputation for reliability, 205 hp was reportedly chosen as the target in order to keep the sports compact cheap. "We wanted it to be attainable and affordable, so our target for Si was really to come in at this price point with this performance level," says Keough. Dropping a detuned version of the Civic Type R's 2.0-liter into the new Si would have yielded more power, but would've also jacked the Si's price up to around $30,000—a figure, according to AN, that's "too rich for Honda's blood"—and I suspect, the blood of the Si's target audience.
However, Keough left the door open for a Civic slotting in between the Si and Type R, if the market shows enough demand for such a car.