By on June 16, 2020

If you’re like us — and I do mean us, as this is an issue on which there’s no disagreement — you probably view the Honda Civic Si as an attractive entry in the affordable “fun” car realm. A peppier-than-most powerplant, standard six-speed manual, brand appeal, stellar model reputation, and a spacious cabin? What’s not to like?

Well, certainly not this lease offer, which makes the 205-horsepower Civic Si a cheaper get than a low-end Corolla.

As noted by CarsDirect, this month sees Honda offering a Sign & Drive lease on the Civic Si that amounts to $260 a month for 36 months with nothing due at signing, making for a fun and affordable sedan (and this offer does apply only to the sedan variant). More affordable, certainly, than the current lease on a Toyota Corolla LE, which comes out to $209 a month with $1,995 due at signing.

2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan - Image: Honda

Over the three-year term, you’d pay five bucks a month more for the Corolla, which makes do with a 1.8-liter four generating 139 hp and 126 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged 1.5-liter in the Si generates 192 lb-ft of twist. Cheapskate performance fans will also note that the Corolla LE carries a standard continuously variable automatic. Not to dump on the significantly improved 2020 Corolla, but… forget it!

CarsDirect claims the Civic Si carries a lease interest rate equal to 0.98 percent APR and a higher residual value than the Toyota, allowing Honda to offer a pocket performer for economy car dollars.

While local offers may be higher than the L.A.-based one listed here, there’s probably no better time to get into a Civic Si for three years than now. Civic Si coupes are an extra $10 a month, making them a slightly more expensive lease than the Corolla. As for buying, Honda’s offering 1.9 percent APR for 60 months, but nothing tops the current lease offer on the sedan. It runs out July 6th.

[Images: Honda]

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38 Comments on “Food for Thought: Honda Civic Si or… Corolla?...”


  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    I wish you hadn’t published this story. If the Corolla crowd finds out it might mean that for the next three years we’ll see Civic Sis clogging the left lanes of highways driving slow with the turn signal on.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    That would be the no brainier of the century. That is a ton of car for that money. Im used to Ford turbos, so it was a little more peaky but still excellent and the shifter was great. Even if you can’t drive a stick and don’t care about performance, the So is a nicer place to be and would be worth learning.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I dunno. It’s hard to look at the Si – particularly the sedan. But this is an excellent deal. I wonder how good a deal one can get on a Civic Sport Coupe with manual transmission – the one with the two-liter non-turbo powerplant. That’s the kind of car Honda instinctively knows how to make and is the most reliable kind of Honda. Perhaps it’s not truly fast but it is peppy, lively, good-handling and fun.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “you probably view the Honda Civic Si as an attractive entry”

    No, I don’t.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “you probably view the Honda Civic Si as an attractive entry in the affordable “fun” car realm. A peppier-than-most powerplant, standard six-speed manual, brand appeal, stellar model reputation, and a spacious cabin? What’s not to like?”

    Not to like:
    Turbo, 80s arcade style instrumentation, numb brakes, current Honda reliability, less than good gear box and clutch.

    But if you ask me to pick this over CVT toyota. Yes. However, put here MT, 2L Corolla, I take Corolla. Less speed, more go.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Dude you are crazy. Driven a 6MT Corolla hatch and an Si nearly back to back. Other than the styling of the hatchback and potential reliability with the 1.5T, there is zero reason to get any Corolla over the Si unless you just hate driving.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I know, Corolla is a stupid choice and my statement is based totally on reviews, not personal experience. But I aint paying for Si either. I drove it and I don’t see why not spend 5K less and get Elantra Sport (when MT was available). I picked Mazda6 over Si easy, even though, I like smaller car vs bigger car. I basically drove [nearly] all MT cars. When comes to MT/Clutch – 1 VW, 2 Mazda, 3 Mustang, 4 Mini, 5 Honda, . . . . 28 ’11 Corolla.

        In fact, I drove so many MT cars, I have hard time to rate them. Also MT/Turbo combination is a little finicky

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      As pathetic automatic driving scum, I’d do the Corolla SE CVT over the Civic 1.5T CVT.
      But I’ve heard all my life that Honda makes a very good manual transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Could you ever think that it will come to this – I don’t want any of these new cars. Will keep my old mazdas ALAP

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        I’ve owned a few Manual transmission cars, both American and Japanese and the 2010 Accord I owned until last month was silky smooth despite having only 5 gears. Easiest manual transmission on earth and actually kind of fun for a large 4 cyl car. Wish I had learned manual in one of those, nope it was an 89 Ranger with the V6 and a frickin heavy clutch. Maybe that’s what it takes to graduate from the Manual transmission academy. The truck was also fun on its own way.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    “What’s not to like?”? It’s a lease. Leasing is for chumps. At the end of 3 years, you’ve spent almost 10 grand and you have nothing to show for it.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      You got the use of a car and someone else’s money for three years. Buy a car and sell it after the same time period and you’ll end up having paid about the same – or more, if you’re comparing to a good lease deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      It’s like a hooker dude. I’m not paying for the car, I am paying for it to go away at lease end.

      But go ahead and get that sweet CPO deal on one of my returns… maintained by the book, low miles, garage Kept, detailed by an OCD owner, and never going a day in our time together without kissing the rev limiter. Yeah, she’s run the 1/4 mile…in reverse.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        And those turbos? I hear you are supposed to cool them down before shutdown following a spirited run, but I’ve never had issue shutting them down red hot.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Wasn’t it P.J. O’Rourke that said the fastest, best handling car made was a rental? My leases anyway are 2-3 year rentals and I can vouch that statement is 100 percent true.

    • 0 avatar
      millerluke

      Leases can make excellent financial sense in certain situations. In Ontario, when using a vehicle for work, lease payments are entirely deductible (to the extent of what percentage of the mileage the vehicle was used for business.) For a purchase you can only deduct a portion of the vehicle’s value, which works out well when new, not so well when it ages.

      Also, if you intend to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease, you can sometimes get a better deal leasing than outright financing. You also don’t need to worry about the mileage at all.

      Lastly, getting a new car every three or four years is a bonus for some (like those who never want to do or pay for repairs.)

      I purchased my current car (a ’19 Camry) but based on the rapid-ish depreciation (I drive about 40,000km a year for business) I’d have been better off tax-wise had I leased it, at least once year three comes. However, I also arranged aggressive payments (helped by my work providing a biweekly ‘vehicle allowance’) so the car is paid off after 48 months. Which means my wife gets a free used, well maintained, moderately high-mileage Camry.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    I can’t think of a single reason to choose Corolla vs. Civic on these terms.

    Local Toyota dealer is everything that is negative about dealerships wrapped up in a neat little bow. Local Honda dealer is very good. Friendly and competent and fair majority of the time.
    Even if the Honda dealer were crap I’d still choose the Civic.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Must be regional…went diving into the Louisville area Honda dealers and the only $260/mo, $0 down Civic deal is for the LX sedan. Oh well…

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    When I think Honda, I think motorcycles not cars.

  • avatar
    teddyc73

    Sorry, but I disagree. What’s not to like you say? Well, the car’s hideous overwrought styling for one. So I guess there is disagreement and I’m not like you.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Are you talking about the Corolla or Civic here ’cause it applies to both. That said, I would put up with the crap on the Honda to not have to look at the Toyota front end every-time I went into the garage.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I just checked the Honda website and see no such offer available listed. The 1.9% offer is there.

    I also checked cars.com and there are 3 Civic Si’s available within 50 miles of me (DC Metro area) and they are all coupes.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      I’ve urged the TTAC community to stop pretending these regional gimmick leases are a real thing for years.

      There are 414 manual Honda Civics on Cars.com -in the whole of these United States- right now.

      It’s been a few years since I was paid to sell cars, but I did it long enough and with enough regional and brand variance that I can say with confidence: this shit is pretend. Stop it, y’all.

  • avatar
    la834

    There’s a new VW microbus on the way

  • avatar
    MorrisGray

    No lease specials on a Civic SI in north Georgia either.
    And that lease special is not on the Honda Autos web site, just the 1.9/2.9% purchase finance rate depending on term.

    I think I will wait and hope for some improvements for the next 2021/2022 Civic SI models. Or for some other manufacturer to offer a better option for me. My preference would be a manual transmission with a naturally aspirated motor in a sedan body style. First thought would be like a Lexus IS350 or a Toyota Camry. Of course if Honda still had that available in the SI or the Accord, I would choose one of those first.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Was this article written from a Honda press-release?

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    No such deal in the Boston area. And why would there be – the dealers around here do not even stock the Si.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      Yeah, same for Vancouver, I’ve only ever seen one Si in the wild, it’s all Type-R’s. Granted my city is an anomaly, but same thing with GTi’s and WRX’s, you see a lot more Golf R’s and STI’s than you would think given the price difference.

  • avatar
    jeanbaptiste

    I wouldn’t mind some “retro” colors coming back as options. Can I get a harlequin gti???

  • avatar
    18726543

    “And those turbos? I hear you are supposed to cool them down before shutdown following a spirited run, but I’ve never had issue shutting them down red hot.”

    Funny you bring this up, as I was thinking about exactly this the other day! Does anyone remember turbo timers from the 80’s/90’s time frame? Never have so many of the cars for sale been turbo-equipped as today, and as far as I know not a single manufacturer has included a “turbo timer” functionality into the OE design. In fact, cars shut down now while just sitting at a stop light! Can you imagine how an OE would justify keeping them running 3-4 minutes after you’ve already gotten to where you were going?

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