1986 Civic Si
1986 Civic Si.

Three Decades of The Honda Civic Si

The Civic is the quintessential Honda, seen by many today as a reliable and affordable means of transportation. The Civic Si was greeted the same way when it debuted in 1986 on the heels of the CRX Si a year earlier. Since then, the car has seen its fair share of revisions and upgrades, but despite three decades passing, the cost of the car hasn’t changed all that much after adjusting for inflation.

The team at HondaPartsOnline.net put together this interesting comparison chart that details the Civic Si’s specs and pricing through the years.

“Performance enthusiasts know this Honda combines some smooth shifting, quick agility, and unmistaken power into a reasonably priced compact,” said Cesar Aranda, HondaPartsOnline.net Director. “Other car brands don’t offer this kind of performance and quality for the price, so we thought it would be fun to look at the pricing history and see if the Si is still an affordable option.”

Dressed To Impress

The United States Congress outlined the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards in 1975 following the 1973 oil embargo. Through the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, Congress established fuel economy standards for cars to begin meeting by 1978. By 1985, automakers were expected to record an average of 27.5 mpg with their fleets. With the Civic Si, Honda was uniquely positioned to meet these increasing demands. When the hatchback Si arrived, it delivered 26 in the city and 30 on the highway. By comparison, today’s Honda Civics deliver 40 or above on the highway, depending on the model.

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1986 Honda Civic CRX Si. Photo: Honda North America.

Power & Performance

Performance was solid for the 1986 Civic Si at 91 horsepower. A series of sensors assisted the car’s computer in handling what Honda called “timed-sequential multi-port Programmed Fuel Injection.” By comparison, the Civic Type R is the most powerful car Honda has ever sold in the United States. The 2.0-liter engine under the hood is characterized by direct injection, a dual overhead cam, and Honda’s evergreen VTEC technology. The Type R creates 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, a great deal more than Civic buyers in the 80s were used to.

“Honda’s been racing motorcycles since 1955, and they were building Formula 1 engines in 1983. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Honda is one of the best engine builders in the world,” Aranda explained. “Considering that Honda has pioneered a lot of engine performance technology, it’s great that they continue to improve this high performing, affordable model for the public.”

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Honda Civic Type R. Photo: Honda North America.

Pricing Comparisons

HondaPartsOnline.net analyzed the pricing through the years and found that, when adjusting for inflation, not much has changed. In fact, in some variations, today’s Civics cost less. For example, when the 2003 Civic Si hatchback’s MSRP is adjusted for inflation, it rings up nearly $2,000 more than the 2017 base model. On a similar note, the 2017 Si coupe has better fuel economy and more horsepower, but costs less than the 2015 model.

“Honda keeps improving the performance on the Si, reducing the weight, and keeping the price low,” Aranda added.

The graphic from HondaPartsOnline.net is below. Enjoy!

Carl Anthony in Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

HPO CivicSiCostInfographic Final k

Civic Photos: Honda North America.