After a year with out an SI, coming late in 2017 Honda has blessed us with the sportier version that we love so much. Based on the 10th generation Civic, there are a few changes to make it just that different.
Available in either the Sedan or Coupe, the Si gets sportier bumper treatment front and back with new wheel designs and a small spoiler in the back to give it a bit more aggressive look while maintaining a more grown-up look comparing to the Type-R.
While the overall look is different, it’s not much different than the regular Civic. It’s missing the Honda Factory Performance lip kit from the previous generation. And those blacked out areas in the bumpers are filled in with a honey comb material and are purely aesthetics. But at least there’s an octagonal exhaust in the middle, although I would prefer the twin round exhaust featured in the civic hatch. Actually, the whole car looks similar to the hatch.
Inside, we have nice soft touch materials through out the cabin, with a sprinkle of faux carbon fibre on the dash to give a bit of sportier flair. Red stiching surrounds the steering wheel, seats as well as doors. Comparing to the regular Civic lineup the only thing that stands out is the manual shifter. And what a shifter it is, wrapped in leather with a metal top the shifter assembly aspires confidence and it adds a bit of that nostalgic feel of the discontinued S2000.
The infotainment system is unchanged, still lacking the volume knob but it does include all the toys like Apple Carplay and Android Auto. With Qi charging as well it’s designed with the future in mind. Climate control is easy to use but there is a bit of lag when switching to climate screen to adjust fan speeds.
The front seats are supportive buckets with nice big bolsters on the side to keep the occupants in. With cloth seating surfaces that are heated, it not only supportive but comfortable. The only down side with the seats are the integrated headrests, for people that are a bit shorter it pushes your head forward a bit more than it should and can get uncomfortable.
Powering the SI is the 1.5L inline 4, with 205hp and 192lb-ft of torque it has a bit more power comparing to the hatch and other Civic models thanks to a premium gas tune. Power delivery is simply amazing, with a bit of turbo lag below 2000rpm the Civic pulls strongly towards the redline. Power is fed through a slick shifting 6-speed manual with an LSD which allows all that power to be fed to both of the front wheels at the same time. Unlike the naturally aspirated engine from the previous year, there’s really no need to rev out the engine, with more than adequate mid range torque, it proves it’s a perfect match for this chassis. But with all these positives, there are some negatives. The biggest letdown is sound, from the inside the buzzy engine doesn’t sound the greatest. It doesn’t provide the growl one would expect from an SI. At least from the outside, the centre exhaust does let out a bit of a snowl, but it’s not enough to satisfy the racer boy image.
Behind the wheel, the Civic feels pretty normal. But after a press of the sport button, it quickly liven things up. Unlike most cars in which it simply makes the wheel heavier and throttle a bit more sensitive, the SI also stiffens up the suspension. For everyday drives this isn’t all that noticeable, however, when pushing the car around corners, it can easily be felt. The stiffer shocks allow for reduced body roll and more composure over bumps allowing for the driver to feel more confident behind the helm. Digging hard away from corners the Civic is a blast to drive.
For everyday drives, the Si behaves how a Civic should, achieving some astonishing fuel consumption while doing it as well. With mixed driving, I was able to achieve under 8L/100km. The posted economy is 8.4 city and 6.2 highway. With short shifts and light throttle, these numbers can be easily reached.
Overall the SI is a fantastic vehicle. With enough power to have tons of fun on the streets with out getting into too much trouble. While yes the Type-R is amazing and is able to get blistering track times. The Si is the more sensible alternative. At $32,000 it’s also affordable.
Big thanks to Honda Canada for allowing me to drive the new SI for the past week, it’s been a blast.