There Was A Time When The Honda Civic Si Was Only A Hot Hatch

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In fact, it was nearly a Type R.

Honda knew it had a fairly limited audience, but it was a growing one nonetheless. The 2002 Honda Civic Si, unlike today, was solely offered in the US as a hatchback. In fact, it was really the US market version of the European Type R. Heck, it was even made in the same English facility and imported to North America. And yes, it was kind of funny looking. You see, Americans at this time still hadn't discovered the hatchback, let alone the hot hatch, save for a few VW Golf GTI fans. There was no Ford Fiesta ST. No Focus ST.

The MazdaSpeed3 was still a few years away. But those who went to a Honda dealership specifically for the 2002 Civic Si knew exactly what they were buying. Power came from a 2.0-liter VTEC with 160 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque, and was directed to the front wheels through a manual gearbox.

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And then there's that dash-mounted shifter. It's actually one of the coolest things about this old Si, a fact that Matt Farah quickly points out on this new episode of The Smoking Tire. It's not the prettiest car on the road, but it's a fun and relatively fast and inexpensive driver's car. Just one tip for the owner of this Civic Si: ditch the lowering kit. Watch the video and you'll quickly understand why.

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