I haven’t had the chance to drive my buddy Nick’s eighth-gen Si since he bought it about three years ago. Finally, that changed a few weeks ago.
Car: 2008 Honda Civic Si
Location: Chicago, IL – June 2021
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
The unusual thing about this particular Si is that it’s bone-stock. In fact, the brakes are nearly kaput, and the air conditioning recently went out. Not exactly the best vehicle for ripping around the streets of Chicago on a hot near-Summer’s eve. But I didn’t care; I increased my braking zones, rolled the windows down, and just drove it.
This was actually my first time piloting an Si of this vintage. I’m quite familiar with the 10th-gen which is immensely different. It’s a good car, but in different ways. Namely due to its turbocharged, fairly un-enthused engine and vintage Logitec Wingman-like shifter. The eighth-gen’s naturally-aspirated K20 and tight shifter on the other hand are wonderful.
The engine pulls to its 8,000ish RPM redline with all the enthusiasm despite having nearly 100,000 miles on the clock, and will happily hang out above 6,000 RPM all day. If I wasn’t concerned for this older sport compact’s cooling system, I would’ve kept it in the higher revs all night long.
I also found it had a respectable amount of low-end torque, making it an excellent, short-shiftable city car. To top it all off, it was incredibly easy to heel-toe downshift, and the shifter was near-new Type R-level good. In fact, I bet some aftermarket bushings would make it feel like 90 percent of a Type R’s serene shift action.
I didn’t get a chance to play with the little Si in any corners, but Nick states it drives really well for riding on tired-as-heck springs and dampers, as well as very meh-level all-season tires.
Considering all of the above, and the fact that it’s a part of a truly bygone era of Honda, this thing might be worth the current 2021 Used Enthusiast Car tax. And that truly means something coming from yours truly, because this tax generally infuriates me. But the eighth-gen Si, particularly in decent shape and coupe form, is definitely something special.