Hondata's test car is a basic Honda Civic Sport hatchback with a manual transmission. In its stock form, it's a genuinely fun little car, thanks to light weight, a solid shifter, and agile handling. So this car has all the benefits of the Sport, but with an extra helping of power. Driving it back-to-back with the 205-horsepower Civic Si, it definitely pulls harder when stomping on the throttle. The power is even a little overwhelming for the car if you get on the gas in a corner. There was a time or two in which we managed to get the inside wheel spinning turning through an intersection. Still, the extra power was a blast. You can see the extra boost, as well, thanks to the Hondata FlashPro computer's handy phone app that shows boost pressure and other information in real time. It's amazing that it only costs $695 for the FlashPro tuner to unlock so much power. Even more so if you opt to have a Hondata dealer flash your ECU for $350. The tune is also CARB-certified now, so Californian Civic owners can enjoy it, too.
But possibly more exciting than the extra power, is the no-lift shift functionality. What that means is that when the driver goes to shift, he or she can keep one foot on the gas while the other presses the clutch. How this works is that the computer sets a low rev limiter (4700 rpm by default) for when the clutch is depressed and the gas pedal is pressed. This keeps the revs low enough for quick, safe shifts but maintains revs and throttle to prevent much boost loss.
In practice, it feels like a manual transmission cheat code. With one less pedal action, you can shift much more quickly than you would normally. In addition, you hardly lose any acceleration, in part because you're shifting faster, and in part because you haven't lost much boost or revs. It's strange but wonderful. It also works so well that we don't see much need for changing the default settings.
Would we recommend buying a Civic Sport and a Hondata tune over an Si? Not quite. Even though it's a cheaper package with more power, the Si's improved suspension, limited-slip differential, and additional comfort features make it a better all around performer. Its larger turbo also means that if Hondata starts tuning the Si, it will have greater power potential than the normal turbo Civic engine. But there are some reasons a normal turbo Civic and the tune could be better. If you're on a budget, want something with a more comfortable ride, or want the hatchback body with Si performance, the a Hondata-tuned turbo Civic would be a great option.