Even at its worst, Honda’s never made a bad-driving Civic Si. The latest generation Honda Civic seems to be good, but we hadn’t heard anything about the sporty Si variant until now. Well, the embargo of Civic Si driving impressions is up, y’all. Is this new car as good as the ones in years past?
Welcome to another Review Rundown, where we’ve gathered and contextualized a whole bunch of good reviews so you can get a range of perspectives in one place.
Here’s the Scoop
New for 2021, the Honda Civic Si continues forward as Honda’s manual-only sporty Civic. Sedan only, and riding on a new chassis, the Civic Si faces off against cars like the Hyundai Elantra N or N-line. No coupe this time, though — the Si is a sedan-only affair for the Civic’s 11th generation. But four doors is fine, especially when it’s paired with three pedals.
On The Powertrain
The Civic Si comes standard with a 1.5 liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s similar to the 1.5L turbo in the non-Si, and in turn, the same engine from the old car. Honda insists the engine’s been retuned, peak torque comes sooner in the powerband, at the expense of total output. Power goes to a six-speed manual transmission only.
From Joey Capparella for Car and Driver: “We didn’t notice much of a difference in the engine’s character during our drive, as its sound and power delivery largely mimic our experience with the 2020 model. The 1.5-liter is still somewhat coarse when pushed, but there’s little turbo lag.”
From Steve DaSilva for Jalopnik: “For newcomers to the Cult of VTEC, however, the engine is more forgiving — the low-end torque lets you miss a downshift and still have fun. Plus, it gives the Si just enough torque steer to keep things interesting.”
From Kristen Lee for The Drive: “Likewise, the engine is peppy at low speeds and feels appropriately powered to match the sub-3,000 pound curb weight.”
From Travis Langness for Edmunds: “This change in tuning doesn’t completely change the character of the Si, but it does make it better to drive at the limit. Instead of feeling let down after 6,000 rpm, you feel the urge to push the Si all the way to redline — second gear, third gear, right up to the limit before you grab the next one. It’s almost like the Civic is nudging you with an elbow every time you bounce off the rev limiter to pack up your stuff and head for the racetrack.”
From Gabriel Vega, for Motor1: “This might be more of a gain on paper than on the street, however, as the 1.5T is still mostly characterized by its willingness to rev. A quick-spinning engine—quicker than ever thanks to a lower weight flywheel—finds it’s horsepower peak at 6000 rpm, before hitting the limiter at 6,600. In all of that action the small deficit of power is hard to notice, especially in the kind of real-world-fun driving that the Si is known for.”
On Handling and Driving Dynamics
The Civic Si’s structure has been revised, with suspension parts that are more similar to the track beast, hardcore Civic Type R.
From Kristen Lee for The Drive: “The chassis, paired with the encouraging steering and all the suspension goodies, is—in a word—stellar. Athletic and supple, it works beautifully with you and shines brightest on serpentine pavement.”
From Travis Langness for Edmunds: “Want to enter or exit a corner quickly? The Si is good at that too. The steering, while a bit light for a sporty vehicle, is precise. Body roll is minimal, even during multiple changes in direction, and the limited-slip differential helps you control the power as you roll on the throttle while exiting a corner. In short, it’s fast, and it’s fun to drive fast, and it’s easy to drive fast.”
From Scott Evans for MotorTrend: “Disappointed as we are in the test results, we’re finding it hard to be too upset after spending time behind the wheel. Three-tenths of a second here and 0.02 average lateral g there aren’t things you can feel. What you do feel is a sports sedan that’s even more fun and rewarding to drive than before.”
From Antuan Goodwin for CNET Roadshow: “ Honda really dialed in the Civic Si’s steering for this new generation, too, with great weight and feedback for sporty driving without being too fatiguing around town.”
From Victoria Scott for SlashGear: “…the narrow, pushed-forward A-pillars allow for some of the best sight lines I’ve ever witnessed in a car that still needs to pass a roof crush test. Hairpin apexes were easy to spot without any of the unfortunate torso bob-and-weave routines that some modern cars require, due to their chunky pillars, and the downright airiness of the cockpit brought me back to my days of freeway off-ramps in my old ‘Lude.”
On Interior Comfort and Livability
The Civic Si is a sporty car, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of creature comforts that make your commute tolerable.
From Steve DaSilva, for Jalopnik: “If you want a Lexus, you’ve clicked the wrong article. Maybe wait until the new Integra comes out. If you’re looking for something completely barebones, though, you’re also in the wrong place. The Si is comfortable, well laid-out, and has all the tech you want — without the bloat.”
From Gabriel Vega, for Motor1: “Despite only offering manually adjustable front seats, the Si’s sport seat is comfortable, even on long drives, thanks to added support around the thigh area.”
From Travis Langness for Edmunds: “It’s more than comfortable enough for your daily errands without sacrificing any performance. The aggressively bolstered seats might look intimidating at first, but they’re well padded and lumbar support is adequate. Basically, they hold you in place and they won’t beat you up on a road trip — just what you’d want out of performance seats.”
From Victoria Scott for SlashGear: “The stunning honeycomb vent trim bifurcating the dash is crisply emphasized with trademark Si red accenting, and the seats are supremely comfortable, with hip and lower back bolstering taken straight from the 10th generation Type R. As a bonus, the standard sound system – a 12-speaker Bose setup, complete with a subwoofer – is by far the best I’ve ever heard in a car anywhere close to this price point.”
Here’s a batch of ’22 Si images from our friend Kristen Lee at The Drive. Follow that link to read her review and see even more great shots.
It seems like the latest Si, is more of the same, awesome goodness. On paper, it might not seem to be more than the sum of its parts, but most are in agreement that it’s a damn fine performance sedan.