Pricing in Canada starts at $33,750, $27,530 in the US.
The Civic Si remains a car for a specific crowd, and they’ll love it.
The new Si previews how good the future Civic Type R will be.
I’ve put off reviewing this car for as long as I could. The new Honda Civic Si lives in a segment that is very near and dear to my heart. Sport compact cars have fueled my love for cars for more than 20 years and two cars stand as the beacons of the segment. One of them is the Honda Civic Si.
Like the Volkswagen Golf GTI, the Si represents a generation (two at this point) of auto enthusiasts and is a sacred automobile. Where this is concerned, Honda has done the Si justice with the new car – it is and does exactly what it needs to do. My delay in writing up this review had to do with waiting to drive the MK8 GTI (the press unit was in the shop for months) and sampling the new Integra. I have, however, reviewed the MK7.5 Volkswagen Jetta GLI.
While I remain upset with Honda and Acura (watch my video if you care to find out why), I can only praise the Japanese automaker’s wisdom in keeping the new Civic Si an honest Civic Si. This means that the driving experience is one of, if not the most involving in the segments, but the car’s not fast.
Not speed, just driving
Back for this round is the turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine which now puts out 200 horsepower and 192 lb.-ft. of torque, from 1,800-5,000 rpm. One of its most invigorating aspects is how it revs like a Honda engine. The 1.5T is nervous, never lazy, and always high-strung. Even so, the hp figure is down 5 from the previous Si which is a strange but ultimately irrelevant fact.
That’s because the Civic Si’s, although it will get you to speed briskly, MO is carving apexes or mountain passes, not blistering acceleration. Torque is plenty throughout the rev-range and it’s a pleasure to chase after thanks to the excellent 6-speed manual transmission, once more, the only transmission available.
Everything related to rowing gears in this Honda is pure Honda, aka, perfection. Pedal positioning for heel-toeing is spot on, the shifter’s travel is short and provides a satisfying mechanical “schnick.”
The Civic Si rewards the hard-working driver with feedback and gratifying responses to inputs from all controls. Steering is heavy and best in Normal drive mode. Selecting Sport artificially weighs it up and adds a filtered layer between the tires’ contact patches and the driver’s hands. Brakes feel strong further adding to the driving experience.
Honda’s moving away from the occasionally over-styled 10th-generation Civic. This has resulted in a Civic Si that is visually cleaner and sleeker with only a trunk spoiler, dual tailpipes, and dark 18-inch wheels setting it apart. The interior too has become upscale and attractive in comparison with the car it replaces.
The Si includes superb sports seats up front and most of the features found in top-trim Civics. As standard, it gets a 9-inch touchscreen, a Bose audio system, heated steering along with Si-specific red accents.
It’s not for everyone
And the Civic Si is really expensive at $33,750. The Volkswagen Jetta GLI on the other hand is not only less expensive (-$1,855) but it is more powerful and better equipped. Its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine delivers gobs more torque and is far more civilized when being driven on the daily. It also includes adaptive dampers which have been removed from the 11th generation Si as they were offered only a generation ago.
The Civic Si is more involving to drive, but the cost might be too great for most. This is why the Si is such a gem. It does not attempt to please everyone like the GLI as only a handful of true enthusiasts will see the Si’s real value. This is important as the Hyundai Elantra N Line, which retails for about $28,000, matches the Si in all metrics, or nearly.
The new 2022 Honda Civic Si is flawed only to those who don’t understand the Civic Si. For everyone else, there is the less-expensive Jetta GLI or the more powerful, AWD, and even cheaper Subaru WRX.
Alternatively, you can spend $42,550 on a 2023 Acura Integra Elite A-Spec 6MT…