Test Drive: 2017 Honda Civic Si
Performance-oriented versions of the Honda Civic once won over legions of loyal followers. Then interest waned when engineers came up short on a redesign of the popular compact a few years back and dropped the sought-after Si version.
Now, after recovering with a stunning redesign in 2016, the company is back on top with three different higher performing versions. They start with the Sport Hatchback and end with the over-the-top Type R . In between is the subject of this week's test, the Si, which returns this year for another engagement.
Although the Si is available as either a coupe or hatchback sedan, it only comes with one package of upgrades. They include a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline four cylinder engine that produces 205 horsepower, a body package with a low rear wing, adaptive dampers, a six-speed manual transmission, deeply contoured heated front bucket seats with special upholstery, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The only option (aside from color choices) are summer tires for $200.
The Si's engine has 31 more horsepower than the base 1.5t and 25 more than the Sport Hatchback. But it is not nearly as powerful as the turbocharged 2.0-liter, 306 horsepower unit in the Type R. So as you might assume, sheer accelaration is not the Si's strongest suit, although the smooth shifting six speed manual transmission allows drivers to maximize its power band.
The real attraction is the handling, which is improved with a stiffer suspension and quicker steering ratio. And the ride gets even better in Sport mode, encouraging the kind of driving that used to only be available on high end sport coupes and sedans.
Best of all, the price is below $25,000 for either the 2017 Honda Si coupe or hatchback sedan, making it one of the best performance bargain on the market today.
2017 Honda Civic Si
Base price: $24,100
Price as tested: $24,975
Style: Compact coupe or hatchback sedan (as tested)
Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-liter 4 (205 hp, 192 ft-lbs)
Transmission: 6-speed manual
EPA fuel economy: 28/38 (as tested)
Length: 177.4-182.8 inches
Weight: 2,900 pounds
Final assembly point: Aliston, Ontario, Canada