Driving a Honda Civic Si HFP at the Niagara Drive Centre

Honda Canada invited me to Niagara Falls to test drive their new Civic Si HFP – their “tuned out of the box” Civic.

They put me at the cutest country inn (see this blog post), and Thursday morning I walked outside to 6 of their HFPs.  There’s only 400 in Canada.

HFP –Honda Factory Performance.

Non-car nerds: the Honda Civic has, for years, been a “Top 5 cars to modify” because of its good, strong base.   

Their HFP package provides a ton of modifications direct from the factory, at half of what it would cost you to do it.

In the morning we toured through the country.

It was very scenic, and more nature than I’m used to.

That’s good photo-staging there; my driving partner Kanishka set it up.

We were a good team; neither of us turned on the radio (let’s listen to the engine), and he also hides from the sun (no sunroof never).

The afternoon was spent on the track.  

Which turned out to be an airport COME ON.

See the airplane top left? It was a yellow bi-plane from the 20s that starred in the Amelia Earhart movie.  Hello from shangri-la.  Needless to say, I was out of my head all day.

I’m certain the automotive journalists of Canada think I’m this loud and hyper girl… opposite, guys!  That was a dream-come-true day for me, so there was no containing that amount of joy.

I like to think that was one of the fastest times of the day.

I’m not competitive :|

The engine makes that good grrrRRR sound, which I like.  Yes I want the car to move when I hit it, but I also want to hear it.  When I had that red Civic two weeks ago, I was superfluously revving everywhere I went.

My instructor Daniel Morad, the first North American to win a heat race at the Formula BMW World Final in 2007 YES dude.

There’s Zach Spencer (white shirt), who travelled all the way from Vancouver, and is the host of Driving Television.

Welcome to my blog, Clare!  Read Clare’s National Post column here.

Now meet Shea Holbrook, 22 year old racing professional who races a Civic Si in the True Car racing series.  She’s doing amazing this season.

Just yesterday Shea climbed the podium TWICE in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car division.  YES missy!

This is her mom Erin, and her dad was there too.  They’re the cutest family you ever met.

One of my favourite parts of the Civic, and

top 3 hazard buttons I’ve ever seen.

Big big fan of the hazard button. I used it three times during a 40 km highway drive yesterday.

I’ll make a video soon, to show you my technique.

Bottom line: I’m a fan of the Civic because it’s fun to drive.  It reminds you why you fell in love with driving in the first place.

Plus, it sticks to the road both in performance, and mechanically.

Then a trolley took us home.

Someone yelled, how fast have you got this thing up to? The driver yelled back, one time 90kmh! We cheered.

Thank you Honda, for one of the most fun driving experiences I’ve ever had.

UPDATE – July 31

Honda Canada just released their official video of the above day.  It’s well edited, and they had helicopters!



Shift You Later Civic, Sigh

I love shifting gears, you know this.

Most press cars are automatic. So this week was real refreshing.

Shift, rev, peel, skip from 4th to 2nd, lots of superfluous revving just because I can.

I use the hazard button a LOT when I drive.

It find it more effective than brake lights alone.

See the pink arrow above? Note the positioning, the clear path from wheel to engaging the alert system? That’s how you know this is a drivers car – Honda Civic SI.

Shifting gears is easy, don’t be intimidated.

It’s like learning a little dance routine: depress clutch, shift with arm, release clutch. See? Easy.

Even in 5″ heels.

Had to give it back Monday to Honda Canada.

This week’s car, an Acura MDX.

Acura is the fancy, higher-end line of Honda.

It’s making me drive slower, like the Navigator did. I guess that’s good.



The First Ever Honda Manual Driving School

I prefer standard.  I learned on it.

Most of my cars have been manual, but remember when my car died last fall? It’s been press and rental cars ever since, all automatic, so I hadn’t shifted anything since the fall.

Still killed it.

That’s a Honda Civic HFP, tuned out of the factory, one of about 200 in Canada.

Excellent hazard button set up. Top 3 I’ve seen.

It should be immediately accessible, no barriers. I have a thing about them.

The worst hazard buttons are on TOP of the steering column, are you kidding me. Put my hand through the wheel during an emergency situation. Have you ever got your arm caught while turning, it’s terrifying.

I say it all the time, and found further proof today…

#ThursdayNight best night of the week

Alen and I after our lap.

The lap.

Thanks for a fantastic afternoon Honda, look forward to driving your Civic in June.