One could be forgiven for worrying that when Honda updated the Civic, it would muck things up. Make a good thing worse. Especially when it comes to the enthusiast-oriented Si trim.
The eleventh-generation car debuted last year as a 2022, and the Si version followed soon after. As most of you no doubt know, the Si is the hopped-up performance version of the Civic, though it’s not the highest-performance trim. That would be the Type R, which is currently on hiatus for the moment – the 2023 Honda Civic Type R will bow soon.
The next Honda Civic Si is here, and on paper, it seems to keep the flame going nicely.
Not just in terms of performance specs, but also in terms of how the Si tends to differentiate itself from other Civics. This Si appears to be similar to the previous-gen car in terms of how it’s set apart from the lineup.
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.
Honda has already revealed updates for the 2019 Civic, announcing a handful of interior changes and adding a new sport trim last August. However, the sporting Civic Si wasn’t included as part of that corporate proclamation. Fortunately, Honda didn’t forget about it. The brand simply wanted to leave some breathing room between announcements, as this is a big one.
That’s right, this is the one you’ve been waiting for. The Honda Civic Si is finally getting bigger cupholders.
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.
Long before he launched a reasonably successful solo career, and long before he took time out of his busy day to personally criticize my musicianship, Victor Wooten was already recognized for his unique and astoundingly proficient technique on the electric bass guitar. Some time around 1990, an interviewer asked him how much time he devoted to learning new instruments. Just for perspective, it should be noted that this was very much the era of Prince and a few other musicians who, like Stephen Stills and Walter Becker before them, would often record anything from a demo track to an entire album by playing all the instruments themselves, using hired hands to fill in the gaps on the road.
Wooten gave the interviewer his characteristic cocked-head pause before replying. “Instead of putting time into learning other instruments,” he noted, speaking slowly as if to a child, “I take that time… and I put it into learning my instrument.” There’s a lesson here, if anybody cares to learn it. Don’t waste your time doing things badly.
In the paragraphs that follow, I will attempt to convince you that the Civic Si is eminently superior to its more celebrated Type R sibling because it adheres strictly to Victor Wooten’s advice. The Type R attempts to supersize its platform’s basic capabilities to the point where it can do battle with everything from rally-reps to ponycars, but the Si pursues the much cheaper, much less ambitious path of being simply the best Civic possible.
Its success in doing so is beyond any contradiction.
After a four-hour journey that included a ferry ride across the Northumberland Strait from Prince Edward Island, we arrived at one of the largest import car meets in Atlantic Canada in Bedford, Nova Scotia. There, owners showed off rows upon rows of cars in varying states of modification and personalization, from tasteful to tasteless.
My car club friends and I walked though to say hello to other folks we’d only previously chatted with on our local import forum, all the while gawking at some of the wildest vehicles east of Quebec. Body kits, massive turbo setups, and convoluted engine swaps ruled the day. But I only remember one vehicle vividly, parked at the end of a row and free from the usual slack-jawed, drooling masses: a pristine, unmodified, 1999 or 2000 Honda Civic Si Coupe (actually an SiR in Canada) still wearing its factory Electron Blue Pearl paint.
To me, back in 2007, this was automotive perfection.
Fast forward some 10 years later. I had the chance to meet the 2017 Honda Civic Si, a quicker, more mature, and more usable younger sibling wearing a similar shade of blue — then proceeded to act like a 22-year-old again and drive the ever-living snot out of it.
Not everyone was blown away by the new Honda Civic Si’s 205 horsepower, especially after a year of rumors suggesting output could fall in the 220-hp range. While the hotter ( but not hottest) version of Honda’s 10th-generation Civic possesses the same horsepower rating as its predecessor, albeit with significantly less displacement, many Big H aficionados had hoped for more.
Nah, you don’t want that, Honda says. The Si’s massaged 1.5-liter turbo does offer increased torque (192 lb-ft) compared to the previous 2.4-liter model, but the automaker claims the addition of more ponies would have harmed the model.
Honda needed to put some distance between the much-anticipated Civic Type R and the forthcoming Si before giving up any additional specifications. With so much buzz surrounding the 306-horsepower Type R’s North American debut, any news on the more modest Si would have been lost in a sea of Honda fanboy fury.
Still, the automaker was probably also aware that some enthusiasts might get a little snippy when they find out that the Si’s massaged 1.5-liter mill won’t see significant horsepower gains over the previous naturally aspirated engine. In fact, it makes the same 205 hp as the old model.
Honda isn’t one to dish details on a new product miles ahead of a debut, but information has a way of springing leaks.
An email sent to Honda aficionados from the automaker has ended up on the CivicX forum, and its description of the upcoming Civic Si’s torque rating is apparently legit. However, those fans wish it wasn’t, as the number isn’t exactly that of a performance monster.
We’re far removed from the 91-horsepower 1984 Honda Civic Si.
Honda, on the eve of the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, introduced the Si version of the tenth-generation Civic in prototype coupe form. Honda plans to bring the Si to market as a 2017 model next year with both sedan and coupe bodystyles.
Expect very few changes for the coupe when this “prototype” becomes a production car next year. In Honda vernacular, “prototype” is as close to production as a production car can be without actually being the production car.
To say that details on the next-generation Honda Civic Si have been limited would be a massive understatement. Honda fanboys — and even normal people — have been hungry for even the barest scraps of information.
Well, we finally have a scrap. The Los Angeles Auto Show recently let loose in a press release that Honda will introduce the tenth generation Civic Si at their expo in November. They also ended some of the speculation on what type of engine we can expect.
The “Si” badge has always denoted something special from Honda, from the ’85 Civic and CRX that flaunted the new-fangled fuel injection on the sport model to the not-quite-a-Type R that will hopefully be gracing our roads later this year. Honda fanatics will continue to debate the best, but my favorite Civic generation has to be its fourth, popularly known as the “EF” Civic.
Honda apparently didn’t like the U.S. at the time, as other markets were blessed with hotter engines, some with VTEC to boost high-end power. It took enterprising enthusiasts, some with more energy than money, to develop a trend to swap these powerplants into American-market Civics.
I recall test-driving one such swapped Civic, put together so poorly that the shift lever — not the knob, mind you, but the entire lever — came out in my hand on a 3-2 downshift.
No, I didn’t buy that car.
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- Kcflyer on one hand it at least wont have dirty intake valves like Honda's entire lineup of direct injection ice vehicles. on the other hand a CRV offers more room, more range, faster fueling and lower price, hmm
- Tassos BTW I thought this silly thing was always called the "Wienermobile".
- Tassos I have a first cousin with same first and last name as my own, 17 years my junior even tho he is the son of my father's older brother, who has a summer home in the same country I do, and has bought a local A3 5-door hatch kinds thing, quite old by now.Last year he told me the thing broke down and he had to do major major repairs, replace the whole engine and other stuff, and had to rent a car for two weeks in a touristy location, and amazingly he paid more for the rental ( Euro1,500, or $1,650-$1,700) than for all the repairs, which of course were not done at the dealer (I doubt there was a dealer there anyway)
- Tassos VW's EV program losses have already been horrific, and with (guess, Caveman!) the Berlin-Brandenburg Gigafactory growing by leaps and bounds, the future was already quite grim for VW and the VW Group.THis shutdown will not be so temporary.The German Government may have to reach in its deep pockets, no matter how much it hates to spend $, and bail it out."too big to fail"?
- Billccm I had a 1980 TC3 Horizon and that car was as reliable as the sun. Underappreciated for sure.