By on September 21, 2017

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2017 Honda Civic Si

1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (205 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm; 192 lb-ft @ 2,100 rpm)

Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive

28 city / 38 highway / 32 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

8.4 city, 6.2 highway, 7.4 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $24,775 (U.S) / $30,185 (Canada)

As Tested: $24,775 (U.S.) / $30,185 (Canada)

Prices include $875 destination charge in the United States and $1,695 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: The 2017 Honda Civic Si is not a baby Civic Type R. Yes, it shares the name and platform, but not only does it differ mechanically and stylistically in key ways, it also provides a different driving experience.

Different, but still excellent. Just a different kind of excellent. I’ll get to that right after I find my thesaurus.

Like its main competitors – the Ford Focus ST, Subaru WRX, and Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Civic Si is supposed to be the mid-level performance trim of a compact car (in Subaru’s case, the WRX is based on the Impreza but drops the moniker). As such, it’s not the outright burner the Type R is, and that’s just fine.

What the Si aims to be is the best mid-level sporty compact at the best price. It’s arguable whether it achieves the former but not the latter – it’s a bargain compared to its brethren.

Available in coupe or sedan – but not hatchback – form, the Si doesn’t have the controversial styling of the Type R. It has the cleaner look of the “lesser” Civics, and in sedan form it’s less goofy-looking that even the standard hatch. Its biggest concession to sport is a spoiler perched on the rear decklid.

There are other Si-specific exterior cues – a badge on the trim-specific grille, different front fascia, larger lower air intake, hexagonal center exhaust outlet, and different rear fascia. The car is also a bit longer and lower than the standard Civic and rides on 18-inch wheels.

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Inside, the Si theme includes red accent stitching, Si badging in the seats, an aluminum and leather shift knob, alloy pedals, carbon-look accents, and red-themed instruments. There’s also a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the driver’s info center provides readouts on such things as g-force and turbocharger boost.

Speaking of the turbocharger, it’s part of a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. If you want an Si, you best know how to row your own – like with the Type R, a six-speed manual is the only transmission offered.

Lack of transmission choice aside, the Si is a whole different beast than the Type R. Honda claims peak torque starts at 2,100 RPM and goes up to 5,000, and I believe it, but with 103 fewer lb-ft to work with, it’s just not as brisk. Still, it has plenty of punch and you don’t have to wind the hell out of it to use it.

Another difference is in the clutch. The Si has a different clutch than the Type R, and it’s not quite as user-friendly, thanks to a high takeup point that leads to abrupt engagement. The good news is you get used to it after a time.

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The shifter, on the other hand, is one of the best out there – it has precise and quick throws and is quite a joy to use.

As one might expect from a car that’s not track-focused, the Si doesn’t handle quite as adeptly as its sibling, but it’s still a blast. Understeer is present if you push too hard, but the car never feels unstable or uncontrollable. Light, quick steering helps, though I felt the Sport mode didn’t tighten it up quite enough.

Find a fun road, and the Si is a great companion. Ride and handling wise, it’s on par with the GTI, although maybe not quite as fun as the comparatively bonkers WRX or aggressive Focus ST. Another review I read made mention of torque steer, but I didn’t experience much.

The Si’s reflexes are quick enough that one wayward squirrel avoided meeting its end. Rocky the rodent escaped an unfortunate encounter with the front wheels, though he or she now has a shortened tail.

Settle down for a freeway jaunt, and the Si shows that it would make for a fine commuter, though its ride is on the stiff side even when not in Sport mode. It’s not exactly quiet at cruise, but the noise level is about standard for the class and price point.

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Sportiness is just part of the package. Honda bestows some, but not all, of the most popular convenience features on the Si. For example, it has USB, Bluetooth, a rear-view camera, satellite radio, touch-screen infotainment, Pandora, push-button stop/start, keyless entry, Honda’s LaneWatch camera system, and HondaLink. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which help make up for one key feature that’s missing – factory navigation. Other amenities include heated front seats, sunroof, and fog lamps.

You also won’t get leather seats or power-adjustable seats. But that’s okay – the front seats are bolstered nicely and comfortable even on longer drives. I never had an issue getting the seating position right.

The rear seats are a split-fold unit, and head- and legroom are fine throughout the car – adults can ride comfortably in the rear. There’s not a ton of interior storage – just the small center console, a well below that, a cubby in front of the shifter and another one below, and the glovebox.

As with most current Hondas, the lack of volume or tuning knobs for the stereo is infuriating, especially since the A/C knobs are about where you’d like the audio knobs to be. Also, the parking brake is electric, which just doesn’t feel right in a sporty car.

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You can have your sport without paying a pump penalty – I routinely saw MPGs in the mid-30s on the trip computer, and the Civic Si is rated at 28 mpg city/38 mpg highway.

If all four cars were priced equally, the GTI and Si would probably be the top two choices – and the GTI is a tad more refined and offers a bit more of a premium feel (although, personally, I’m drawn to the aggressiveness of the WRX).

Pricing isn’t equal, though. The Civic Si has a lower price than the base price of either GTI or WRX, and those cars can get up to $10K more when loaded with options. Meanwhile, the ST has a lower base price but costs a few thousand more when well-equipped. While upper-trim GTIs and WRXs will give you more in the way of comfort and convenience features (the cheaper Civic offers the same goodies in some cases), and all-wheel drive in the case of the WRX, the Civic makes a strong argument. It’s equipped well enough, it’s a blast to drive, it’s a fine commuter car, and it passes gas pumps more often than not.

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Even stacked against the base GTI and WRX, the Si stands out for value.

Go ahead, spend more for the others if you must. We won’t judge – all of them have their own strong appeal, and buying a sport-compact car is a decision that’s often influenced by emotion and a customer’s relationship with a brand instead of being purely rational.

Just know that Honda has sport on special – a special that won’t expire anytime soon.

[Image: © Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]

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72 Comments on “2017 Honda Civic Si Review – a Bargain, and a Blast...”


  • avatar
    tylanner

    While the car is undoubtedly a winner (that mpg number truly embarrasses my similarly powered GLI), it feels to me like this is an example of the Japanese makers nearing an asymptote of allowable design absurdity…as in future model design will drift back towards the mean. If that is the case this model will be that lonely unicorn on resale lots.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    No, no. Golf GTi if it has to be.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Why is this being compared to the WRX which is significantly more money and more power and no mention of the Elantra Sport which seems to be more evenly matched with the Si in power and sticker price?

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Because a lot of people will cross shop the WRX and Civic Si.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        But they won’t cross shop the Elantra Sport?

        • 0 avatar
          Jean-Pierre Sarti

          and that is hyundai’s problem imho. they make cars to be equivalent but not better than the manufacturers they are looking up at.

          and as brand loyal as many customers are, they have no reason to look at hyundai.

          i’ve always thought hyundai needs to do a toyota and deliver more for your money like toyota did for lexus in the beginning. brand shifting needs to be a generational commitment.

          i know in my extended family we are toyota lexus people, it took a while but once they were won over they are hooked , even if they are living off the memory of the toyota lexus from 20 years ago.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          Some will, but the Elantra Sport does not the name recognition yet to be on many shoppers radars. Most Elantra Sport customers are going to be those looking at higher trim level “normal” Elantras, Fortes, Focuses, Mazda3s, etc (Think Limited, Titanum, SEL, Grand Touring etc trims not the GTI, Civic Si, Focus ST, WRX) that then get sold on the Sport at the dealership.

          Remember the Elantra Sport actually has a lower MSRP than the top tier Elantra Limited trim, which has the same engine as all the lesser Elantras except the Eco version (and Sport obviously).

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            Maybe it’s not on shoppers’ radars, but it’s an oversight on the review author’s part to not mention one of the Civic Si’s most obvious competitors, the Elantra Sport all the while mentioning other cars that aren’t quite direct competitors, like hatchbacks and cars that are more money.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Author here. Personally, I don’t see the Elantra Sport playing in quite the same league, performance-wise, but you raise a fair point. Some folks will cross shop it.

      Perhaps a bigger oversight on my part is not mentioning the Mazda 3, which is fun to drive and similarly priced. I blame it on not having driven a 3 in about a year, but also, the Si/ST/GTI/WRX comparison feels more natural.

      And the WRX does start at just a couple grand more. The price difference only becomes more apparent when options are factored in.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        But the Elantra Sport is in the same performance league as the Civic Si, they put up very similar #s.

        And the WRX is in another league all together vs the Elantra and Civic, yet that comparison was made with the Civic Si.

      • 0 avatar
        tallguy130

        I would love to see TTAC do a big comparison of the players in this class. I know that’s hard to do without sucking automaker d— but man that would be interesting. What is the compact sport sedan to rule them all!?

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Performance-wise, the 3 compares to the 1.8T Golf and the Civic with the base 1.5L turbo…If Mazda still made a Mazdaspeed 3, that would be a competitor to the GTI, Si, WRX, Focus ST…they don’t still make it.

        Then the Golf R is competitor to the Civic Type R, Focus RS and the WRX STI.

        The Mazda 3 is a nice drive, but comparing a car making ~185 lb./ft. of torque over a 1500 RPM spread high in the RPM range to cars all making over 250 lb./ft. across a 4k RPM range starting below 2k RPM…performance delta is too great.

        Mazda backed out of the hot hatch market and there’s no use pretending they didn’t.

        The V6 Mustang, turbo4 Camaro, Miata, Subaru BRZ are “fun to drive and similarly priced,” too – that doesn’t make them an obvious comparison with this group.

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Part of the problem is bad model naming on the part of Hyundai. This is one of the few places where the often derided alphabet soup model names actually works, and is expected. Look at what we’ve got: Volkswagen GTI, Subaru WRX, Honda Civic Si, Ford Focus ST.

        And against that you’ve got the Hyundai Excel Sport.

        Isn’t Sport a small sub-name trim package on Mercedes-Benz C-class cars?

        I have a feeling that if Hyundai were to change the Excel Sport to, say, Excel SP there would be more cross shopping.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          “Part of the problem is bad model naming on the part of Hyundai.” Excellent point. The Elantra Sport’s name makes me think it’s the “warm” version of the model rather than the hot one. It sounds like a mid-tier trim level that could just be an appearance package or could be a meaningful mid-point between the Elantra’s base and (hypothetical) “hot” versions. Conversely, my impression is that the Si, ST, and GTI are the hot versions of their respective models. (Granted, Honda, Ford, and VW have muddied things by offering hot-plus versions in the Type R, RS, and R.)

          I don’t intend this as a dig at warm versions. (Qualifier: By “warm,” I’m excluding “you’re just making your car heavier and possibly more rust-prone” appearance-only packages.) Had I been in the market for a Fiat 500, e.g., I’d have shopped the now-defunct Sport and Turbo trim levels rather than the Pop, Lounge, or Abarth.

    • 0 avatar
      jay czyzyk

      Check motor yrend hot lap and you will comprehend

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Great review. It’s refreshing to read something clear and concise, which includes useful comparisons.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    Saying its less ugly than another version of the car doesn’t stop it being ugly.

    • 0 avatar

      at least Honda went bold with the design, and not boring. Agree, it could look too busy, but some people like that (me included with my Type R)

    • 0 avatar
      RedRocket

      The “cleaner look” the author alleges this poke-in-the-eye design has is still overdone and juvenile-looking.

      The Civic is selling well though, likely despite the overstyled body and more because of reputation among compact segment shoppers as the bestest car ever that actually ended in 1992 or so.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Peak power at 5700?

    Did people ever actually like the older Si offerings or were they always just Honda fans pining for the power delivery of a 3400 V6 or 1.8T?

  • avatar
    jonnyanalog

    I want to like the new Civic but its just so dang ugly. The GTI would be my top choice with the FoST a close second.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven all of the Si’s competitors, but none of them really did anything for me.

    So, it’s the Si for me.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    It’s strange that none of these Civic Si reviews mention the Elantra Sport.

    On paper, the Elantra Sport appears to be a Hyundai Civic Si.

    They couldn’t be more closely matched, and yet, they’re never compared.

    Is it just that the Civic is THAT much better executed than the Elantra Sport….so much so that the Elantra deserves no mention?

    Is the Civic Si really that much better for the same sticker price?

    Is the Civic Si $4,500 real world price better than the Elantra?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Exactly! I drove both in quick sequence and I really don’t understand which would I get until you throw in $4K savings for El.Sp. They both are not perfect.

      Elantra has [much] better brakes, power, manual hand brake, more features, leather (I don’t like), the sound it makes!!

      Civic has better clutch, shorter [but clunky] throws, seats are wonderful.

      It is easier to me to say what I don’t like about them:

      Elantra – gloom interior, knobs and switches action is not polished, hand brake feels cheap add-on, clutch uptake right off the floor, plastic seat backing

      Si – digital instrumentation, no real radio buttons, electronic parking brake, clunky gearbox, under hood packaging, numb brake pedal

      The bottom line – these 2 are if not twins, then cousins for sure. Get one that cost less [much less].

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        When I was looking, the Civic comparable in price to what I paid for an Elantra Sport had:

        -plastic wheel covers

        -no Android auto / Apple car play

        -*objectively* worse styling

        -no HID lights

        -no heated seats

        -less power

        I still am a Honda fanboy, but there was no way in hell I was going to get a Civic over the Elantra Sport.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I tell you even more. I dropped looking into those 2 and got myself Mazda6 Sport MT – brilliant car considering that I paid like for basic Civic. Can I call it upscale if it has no leather? But everything else looks Cadillac on this base model – stitched leather[ette?] on the dash. Chrome everywhere. The only thing I settled for is electronic brake. This is what I call, “everything you need, nothing you don’t”

          • 0 avatar
            nels0300

            I love Mazdas, had 4 of them, but also had bad luck with rust. I heard they fixed that.

            Mazda6 was a little out of my price range.

          • 0 avatar
            EAF

            Slavuta, how does the Skyactiv G 2.5 stack up against Hyundai’s 1.6 turbo? I agree with you btw! The Elantra Sport would be the clear winner over this 10th gen Civic. I could probably live with the exterior but not with that complete mess of an engine bay!! Yikes!!

            The Mazda 6 is gorgeous and I have not heard of a single mechanical flaw. Maybe too early to tell?

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            @ EAF,

            Mazda6 vs Elantra Sport… a tough one. These are not same apples. E.S. is quicker – for sure, it just delivers power and quickness in spades. But M6 is like having all high quality things in interior – knobs, switches, materials, fit and finish. It is quiet, smooth, comfortable, lots of zoom zoom. Great steering/clutch/gear/brake. I would say, E.S. has great brakes, nice gear shifter, ok steering feel, crappy clutch. Biggest issues with E.S – interior. Knobs and switches operation is industrial grade, interior finish – gloom. I would probably buy it but I don’t like leather and for same money I’ve got less in M6 but more of a car, and it is made in Japan (which I worship). As in case with my previous Mazdas, again, the car is not quickest overall (great in class) but once up to speed, hard to beat it. Mechanically, any J-made Mazda should be very good. Have 2 M3s 100 and 80K miles – no issues.

          • 0 avatar
            RedRocket

            Congrats, you are one of the 3 people that bought one of those Mazda models this year. Good if you don’t want to see yourself coming and going all the time I suppose, which is one of the big flaws with the Civic. Good luck with it at trade-in time.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Mazda and rust… I just saw a P5 another day -all wheel wells were gone. How old is that thing, 17? I had ’98 Protege for 17 years. @14 rear wells rusted out. At that time you no longer really care. Ok, I patched it with cans from food and lots of Bando. Suspension was rusty but never needed replacing anything for that.
          On the 2010 and 2011 problem is hardware. Hose clamps, hinge bolts are rusting. ’98 Protege didn’t have that. But it had rusted out exhaust pipe at this time. 10/11 hold for now better. There is no sign of body rust but there some on unfinished metal under hood. You know, where they just lightly spray-painted once.
          I mean, one time we had Subaru Loyale, mechanic said, he has to weld a bar to the floor because it might come apart. And car was only 12 years old. People buying those Subarus like crazy and nobody mentions “Subaru rust”

        • 0 avatar
          RedRocket

          But it’s a Hyundai. I mean, really… Walmart sells cheap stuff too, but for something you need to use and depend upon every day, would you trust it over the long term?

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Why did you start two separate threads to push the Elantra Sport? Are you one of Hyundai’s paid shills?

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        Nope, but they should be paying me.

        It doesn’t make sense to compare the Civic Si to the WRX and leave out the Elantra Sport because it’s “not in the same performance league”

        The Civic Si is not in the same performance league as the WRX, but somehow that is a more valid comparison than Elantra vs Civic.

        Doesn’t make sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Drew8MR

        He has a point though, The Elantra certainly belongs in the discussion more than the WRX. Plus, in my experience, no one really cross shops the WRX/STi/Evo with anything else. It’s a pretty dedicated fanbase.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Body-colored mirrors and door handles, gloss-black wheels with machined faces, red stitching everywhere inside…this thing wants to be a GTI so bad…LOL.

    “…the Si doesn’t have the controversial styling of the Type R. It has the cleaner look of the “lesser” Civics, and in sedan form it’s less goofy-looking that even the standard hatch. Its biggest concession to sport is a spoiler perched on the rear decklid.” So, cleaner and less-goofy than a car that’s about at the limit for cluttered and goofy – gotcha.

    And of course it has Honda brakes, which means after your first track day, you’ll be shelling out for four new aftermarket rotors.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Don’t know about “shelling out” but its been long time since I drove a Honda with great brake pedal feel. And just recently I drove Si, Sport Hatch and Accord Sport. Civics have numbness in their brake pedal. Accord was better.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      ^This. I’ve owned one Honda, a new ’85 Accord sedan. The front brake rotors warped at 10k miles. I had to pay to have them replaced and traded it not long after.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    The rear end is absolutely hideous. Those fake plastic bits are just ridiculous.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Not sure the term “cleaner look” can be applied to any Civic of this generation to be honest, although I understand you are making a relative comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I think this gen is like the 8th gen Civic. It looks somewhat odd now, but quickly looked mainstream. I remember when the 8th gen came out, it was extremely odd looking, but now no one gives an 8th (or similar 9th) gen a second glance.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        A valid point about car design in general. Yes I remember the “spaceship” 8th gen compared to the 7th gen that had a very traditional roofline. Actually I remember being mad at how horrible I thought the 7th gen looked when it came out in ’01. I was just getting into the “import scene” as a youngin and thought the world of the 5th and 6th gen Civics and their pretty simple and handsome lines (I still prefer them to any newer style Civic, frankly).

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Silly Tim – everybody knows that Squirrels are called Earl

    PS – please share your thesaurus to help other contributors use alternatives to “Mill” for the internal combustion engine, motor, powerplant, motivational source, X cylinders of fury … etc.

  • avatar
    civicjohn

    Go with the Rabbit or Hyundai. Awesome companies and great resale.

    Nothing says “I’ve arrived” between those 2 rather than the completely fugly styling of the Civic.

    I’m embarrassed every time I open the door of mine.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      Civic doesn’t exactly say you’ve arrived either. What it does say is that you have questionable taste. Ha.

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        Perhaps it says I like the resale value. I would hardly consider that “I’ve arrived” driving any of the three. I did check to make sure this morning, the wheels didn’t appear to be plastic and amazingly they snuck Apple CarPlay in!

        And yes, I think they “fixed that thing” in the 4 Mazdas you owned.

        Lastly, I’ll be tailgating with friends on Sunday so I hope you can share with the group that special cocktail recipe you had during that abysmal period you owned 4 Hondas.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    I’m not going to fan boy out but the Elantra Sport puts up the same numbers, has a little more space inside, and doesn’t look so boy racer. If your shopping a Civic Si and don’t want to look like a 18 year old kid give the Sport a test drive. You’ll save 4-5k if you beat them up well too.

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      Come on, let’s fan boy out the Elantra Sport, it clearly needs it considering Civic Si reviewers don’t know it exists.

      I’m actually a Honda fanboy as well, owned 4 really cool Hondas. Same with Mazda, count me as a fanboy.

      But Honda and Mazda have plenty of fanboys.

      I have an Elantra Sport now, it’s a really good car, and Hyundai needs fanboys, so I’ll shamelessly fanboy the hell out of it.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    If you could get all the suspension and power on a plain looking I would go buy one now. Better yet on a car with the body of a 94ish Civic. But I realize I’m probably more in line with the “we want a small fee ute” crowd demand wise but I can wish.

  • avatar
    AK

    One thing to note about the Focus ST- incentives.

    Go ahead and chop at least $4500 off the msrp of an ST because they are constantly being offered for dirty cheap.

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