Strengths and weaknesses:
- no automatic headlights
- average audio system
Honda hits one out of the ballpark
A true baseball fan would understand the concept of visiting every major league baseball park as a must do item on one’s personal bucket list. To have missed the opportunity to take in the sights and sounds of live baseball at old Yankee Stadium would have been unthinkable.
The same can be said for the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Closing at the end of 2009 for baseball and returning in 2010 as a football only facility, we had to get there this year. What better way, then, but to pack up a 2010 Honda Civic Si Sedan and head west for a road trip of stadium-sized proportions.
Everyone knows the Honda Civic sedan is an excellent car. Roomy, reliable, stylish and dependable, it makes the list of vehicles Canadian’s want to own, drive or for that matter, steal. Add more power, a higher rev-limit, bigger wheels, tires and brakes and watch the fun begin. The Honda Civic Si Sedan is a thoroughbred race horse in a stable of dependable, but less exciting work horses.
The heart of a champion beats with 197 horsepower at 7,800 rpm. Torque is rated as 139 lb.-ft at 6,100 rpm. Mated to a close ratio six-speed manual transmission, two quick shifts and 6.7 seconds are all that’s required to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h. Cruising downtown streets or several thousand km of highway at normal speeds, the Civic Si Sedan feels much like any other Honda. But as we downshifted and let the revs build between each gear change, the surge of power and noise emanating from under the hood provided us with many hours of entertainment on our way to Minneapolis.
The largest city in the state of Minnesota, Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River just north of the confluence with the Minnesota River. A destination overflowing with trees and lakes, it has a storied history as the flour milling capital of the world and a hub for timber. Nowadays, Minneapolis is renowned for literacy, theatre and culture as much as it is for its natural beauty and resources.
The Minneapolis Sofitel hotel in the suburb of Bloomington brings a little European flair to the heart of the Midwest. A total of 277 rooms, plus five suites define this chic metal, glass and stucco structure located within easy driving distance of most major attractions.
Guest rooms range in size from the 37 square metre Superior Room with either twin queen or king beds, to the Prestige Suite at 74 sq.m, with king size sleeping quarters and a separate living area. Standard accoutrements for all rooms include a flat screen TV and available Wi-Fi.
Upon arrival, a grand atrium took center stage with a second storey walkway stretching between guest quarters and the award-winning restaurant, Chez Colette. Serving French cuisine in a setting reminiscent of a Paris brassiere, the food was excellent as we enjoyed omelettes with a side order of Canadian bacon. Later that evening, Le Bar was the setting for casual fare and socializing.
The twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are surrounded by a series of well executed highways and connecting roads. First stop on our list after leaving the hotel was the famous Mall of America. Opened in 1992, it features 520 retail outlets while employing over 12,000 people. Each year 40 million visitors walk through the doors for shopping, events or to get married, many coming from as far away as Japan, Korea and Sweden.
Leaving the mall behind, with slightly less money than we entered, it was time to stretch the legs of the Honda Civic Si Sedan on our way into downtown Minneapolis.
To maximize power, premium unleaded fuel is required. In a vehicle such as this, the added cost is worth the investment as owning an “Si” model is as much about performance as it is about the exceptional outward appearance and incredibly comfortable front sport seats.
Once you experience the sound of a Honda built DOHC 16-valve i-VTEC engine cresting towards redline, you’re hooked for life. Stopping is equally impressive, as we experienced several times rushing into highway traffic jams before reaching the downtown core. Power-assisted front and rear brakes, plus a sport-tuned suspension and Electric variable power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering (EPS) kept everything under control.
A walking and cycling city, Minneapolis welcomed us with excellent restaurants, a world-class theatre district, more shopping and of course, baseball.
Where to Stay
Hotel Sofitel Minneapolis
5601 West 78TH Street
55439 Bloomington, USA