Strengths and weaknesses:
- Tight rear seat
- complicated electronic instruments
"HFP gives you $5,400 worth of extra equipment for a price just $2,700 higher than the regular Civic Si coupe."
The 2012 Honda Civic Si HFP coupe provides plenty of performance at a reasonable price. And that could be a problem.
The combination of price and performance is so appealing that by the time you read this, there may be none left. Although made at the company’s assembly plant in Alliston, Ont. - and not imported - production of the Civic HFP (for Honda Factory Performance) was limited to 400 cars for Canada. And about 300 had already been sold in less than two months.
So if a dealer in your area still has one, maybe you should grab it.
For starters, HFP gives you $5,400 worth of extra equipment for a price just $2,700 higher than the regular Civic Si coupe. For another, because production is limited, customers will have something special - a Civic with real cachet. Only available colours are black or white, each with a black interior.
Dave Jamieson, assistant vice president with Honda Canada says the HFP will remind people of the fun side of Civic, which has been the country’s best-selling car for 14 straight years. Since 1973, more than 1.6 million have been sold here.
“It is green, safe and fun – much than just reliable transportation,” he says.
HFP’s powertain is identical to other Civic Si models - a 2.4-litre inline “four” with multi-point fuel injection, drive-by-wire throttle and a close ratio six-speed manual transmission that is a joy to operate. In all gears, the 201-hp engine pulls willingly up to the 7,000 rpm redline.
The differences are found in the suspension system, which gives HFP the kind of crisp handling usually reserved for real-wheel drive sporty cars.
This suspension package has different dampers and stiffer springs that are lowered and tuned to the two-door’s weight. As well, there are front, side and rear underbody spoilers and unique 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires. HFP exterior badging and floor mats complete the picture.
Zero to 100 km/h acceleration should be in the 6.5 second range.
Honda claims seating for five, but I wouldn’t want to be the fifth passenger - or even the third or fourth. Rear seat legroom is negligible, which is typical for this type of car that’s aimed at younger drivers.
HFP also has the kind of electronics that appeal to the target audience with an “intelligent” multi-information display that can show all kinds of trip information and vehicle functions. It’s a little hard to figure out at first, but will be useful when owners get the hang of it. However, the sequential rev limit indicator that shows the shift points for optimum performance is totally redundant since there already is a big tach front and centre in the lower level of the tiered instrument panel.
Honda resisted any temptation to turn HFP into a lightweight rocket and it comes with all kinds of standard goodies - from a premium 360-watt, seven-speaker audio system, with all the modern playback capabilities, to a navigation system with bilingual voice recognition and a Bluetooth hands-free phone interface.
Like all Civics, HFP is loaded with safety features and its construction utilizes Honda’s impact-resistant Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure.
At the rate 2012 HFPs are being snatched up by customers, does this ensure a similar performance-oriented Civic coupe will be built for model year 2013?
Honda isn’t saying. Let’s hope so.