Hondata can make a base Civic turbo more powerful than the new Si

2017 Honda Civic hatchback

A new Honda Civic Si is on the way, but if you’ve got a base Civic with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, you may soon be able to outdo it.

That’s because serial Honda tuner Hondata now has a software tweak that can make the standard Civic more powerful than the Si. The trick is an increase in boost (by 9 psi), which resulted in 225 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque for Hondata’s manual-transmission Civic Sport hatchback test car, measured at the crank. Honda lists the stock output at 180 hp and 177 lb-ft.

That means the Hondata-tuned Civic makes 20 more hp and 62 lb-ft. of torque more than the new Si, which uses a tuned version of the base car’s 1.5-liter engine. Those numbers only apply to cars with the six-speed manual transmission, but Hondata also has a tuning package for CVT-equipped cars. This version only increases boost by 3 to 6 psi, but results in a healthy 214 hp and 220 lb-ft.

Besides adding power, the Hondata software tweaks also enable no-lift shifting, and keep the turbo spooled up while shifting, which should improve responsiveness. The setup is currently awaiting California Air Resources Board certification, which will let owners in California and the other states that follow its strict emissions standards install the upgrade and still pass emissions tests.

A Hondata dealer can install the upgrade for $350, or owners can do it themselves by purchasing a Hondata FlashPro tool for $695. This also lets the user switch back to the stock tune, or select different tuning options. Hondata plans to launch a CARB-legal version of this device that will allow switching between the performance and stock tunes, but won’t have any additional options, according to Autoblog.

Pricing information for the Civic Si isn’t available yet, although Honda says it will start in the mid-$20,000 range when it goes on sale later this month. Regardless, the Hondata software tune is probably the cheaper way to boost performance, especially for the Civic hatchback. Honda won’t offer the Civic Si in hatchback form, so the only factory performance option is the Type R, which will be more expensive, and possibly a bit too intense for some people.

Granted, going this route means boosting power without the Civic Si chassis upgrades, although the aftermarket can probably help out there, too.