Believe it or not, Japanese imports with big spoilers and body kits were popular even before the Fast and Furious movie franchise. In fact, import car shows were quite big in the late 90s but the gaudy modifications became more mainstream after Vin Diesel took to the silver screen. Fast forward to 2008, when Honda released the Mugen Civic Si; a limited-edition Civic that looked fast and furious almost a decade before the Civic Type R existed. Let’s take a closer look back at it.
A little better than a standard Si
Mugen is actually Honda’s unofficial special tuning manufacturer that produces high-quality power and aesthetic modifications for various Honda models (kind of like what Saleen was for the Ford Mustang). Back in 2007, they decided to work with Honda in making a special edition of the eighth-generation Civic Si that was more track-oriented and available in a limited number. What came of it was the Honda Civic Mugen Si.
Ask any Honda enthusiast about Mugen and you can watch their eyes light up for a hot second while all the fancy exhaust systems and suspension components that they wish they could afford run through their mind. Honda capitalized on this enthusiast excitement by adorning the Civic Si with a five-piece Mugen body kit, a stiffer suspension, forged aluminum-alloy 18-inch wheels, an adjustable rear spoiler, and a sport exhaust system. The inside of the Civic Mugen Si was the same as the regular model, however, it did come with a ball-style shift knob and a special plaque.
In true Honda style, this limited-edition run meant only 1,000 of these Mugen-adorned Si models were produced.
Not quite a Civic Type R
The major fallback of the Civic Mugen Si was that nothing was changed under the hood. It still had the same high-revving 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 197 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque, which wasn’t a bad thing, but it would have been much better with some engine modifications.
According to a Road and Track review, the Mugen Civic Si produced the same type of performance numbers as the standard Civic Si. Although, the handling was much sharper, thanks to the stickier tires and the improved aerodynamics. Whether you realize it or not, that big spoiler and aero kit actually do add downforce.
Otherwise, they were mainly there for looks, and to be honest, the Mugen Civic Si actually does look rather subtle in comparison to the current Civic Type R. The main difference is that the Civic Type R actually has the horsepower to back it all up.
Can you find one now?
When it debuted, the Mugen Civic Si retailed for around $23,000 and they tend to pop up on the used-car market for about $13,000 now and then, depending on the mileage and condition. Since Honda only produced 1,000 of them, they were hard to find to when they were new and they’re even harder to find now. But we would say that if you like the way it looks and want to own a piece of Honda history, get one if you can.