Sensible Sport: Honda Civic Si Racks Up Some Changes for 2020

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
sensible sport honda civic si racks up some changes for 2020

Not surprisingly, one change bound for the 2020 Honda Civic Si is its price, but fans of Honda’s sensible middle ground between Civic Sport and Civic Type R won’t be driving away empty handed.

For the coming model year, the bearer of Honda’s hotter 1.5-liter gains a mild change in appearance, additional content, and a nod towards improved performance.

If you’ve seen the front-end styling tweaks performed on the regular 2020 Civic line, expect the same here. The Si sedan and coupe toss the previous chunky, blacked-out grille crossbar in favor of two slimmer, equally dark bars placed top and bottom. A body-color bar now interrupts the fog light housings, which themselves are ringed in black.

Small stuff, made slightly more expressive by the addition of standard multi-element LED headlamps that casts a longer beam. (The crowd at IIHS is probably smiling right now.) It’s a similar story out back, at least on the bumper level.

While none of this is likely to either tempt or repel a Civic Si intender, a new, shorter final-drive ratio for the Si’s six-speed manual is said to improve acceleration feel. Whether or not it’s enough to change 0-60 times remains to be seen. Without providing a gear breakdown, Honda says the ratio is 6 percent shorter than before, so you can let your mind wander. Power remains unchanged at 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque.

There’s also safety-related news to share. All Si models gain a standard Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist functions for 2020, which should also make the folks at IIHS grin. For the uninformed, this package lumps in such things as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, road-departure mitigation, and lane-departure warning. Add to that Honda’s LaneWatch side-view camera system, which displays a passenger-side view via the infotainment screen when the right-turn blinker is on.

The list of changes means this already well-equipped front-driver becomes an even more desirable sporty commuter than it already was, and at not too much of a cost. Shod with performance all-season rubber surrounding blacked-out 18-inch wheels, a base 2020 Si sedan and coupe will retail for $25,930 after destination, or $700 more than last year. Add $200 for summer tires.

There’s one more additional cost that must be mentioned, however. Thanks to the shorter final-drive ratio, fuel economy takes a hit — always an unfortunate occurrence in a vehicle that calls for premium fuel. Whereas the previous Si models boasted an EPA rating of 28 mpg city/38 highway/32 combined, the 2020 model shaves 2 mpg from each of those figures.

There’s always a price to pay for performance.

[Images: Honda]

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  • Slavuta Slavuta on Aug 21, 2019

    I still hate that instrumentation.

    • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Aug 21, 2019

      +1 Bring back the Acura gauges from the 90's. Love those.

  • Jh26036 Jh26036 on Aug 21, 2019

    A really nice driving but dull car. I really wanted to like it as the local Honda dealer was giving the leftover sedans away for a little over $21k. I gave it a good long test drive and came away cold.

    • Slavuta Slavuta on Aug 21, 2019

      I didn't like it. I didn't like the brakes or steering feel. But to their excuse, I tested many cars that don't have good-feeling brakes or steering, let alone both.

  • Jim Bonham Thanks.
  • Luke42 I just bought a 3-row Tesla Model Y.If Toyota made a similar vehicle, I would have bought that instead. I'm former Prius owner, and would have bought a Prius-like EV if it were available.Toyota hasn't tried to compete with the Model Y. GM made the Bolt EUV, and Ford made the Mach-E. Tesla beat them all fair and square, but Toyota didn't even try.[Shrug]
  • RHD Toyota is trying to hedge their bets, and have something for everyone. They also may be farther behind in developing electric vehicles than they care to admit. Japanese corporations sometimes come up with cutting-edge products, such as the Sony Walkman. Large corporations (and not just Japanese corporations) tend to be like GM, though - too many voices just don't get heard, to the long-term detriment of the entity.
  • Randy in rocklin The Japanese can be so smart and yet so dumb. I'm America-Japanese and they really can be dumb sometimes like their masking paranoia.
  • Bunkie The Flying Flea has a fascinating story and served, inadvertently, to broaden the understanding of aircraft design. The crash described in the article is only part of the tale.
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