Fun! The Honda Civic Si Sedan and Coupe now in their eighth generation carry on a well loved nameplate and a legend among the enthusiasts at heart. Like the GTI from Volkswagen, the Civic Si has a DNA and a legacy to uphold.
The newest Si however takes a new direction in North America with a smaller turbocharged engine instead of the old 2.4 liter VTEC mill that has served it well for so long. Powering it now is a high-boost version of the same 1.5-liter turbocharged four found in other Civic models.
In Si trim however it cranks out a healthy 205 horsepower, the same as the old naturally aspirated engine but offers up more torque at 192 pound-feet. Better still is that the power and torque both come across broader and lower in the rev range. Read more livable in every day driving. As before, the Si models comes only with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Improvements come native with the latest generation chassis which has better dynamics of suspension and rigidity to start with. Add the Civic Si’s helical limited-slip differential and new adaptive dampers to the mix along with better brakes and sticky 235/40 R18 rubber. Well now we’re really talking fun some more.
And it works so well. On our favorite mountain road the Civic Si Coupe was every bit as tossable and eager to please as the last generation Si Sedan we tested here last. The chassis has the refinement and grip, the senses pleased with plenty of communication.
The powertrain is where things are quite different. While the old engine required 7,000 rpm plus orbits to keep the power on, the new 1.5-liter turbocharged mill pushes your back into the seat far lower in the range and keeps at it for a while.
Turbo lag is minimal and power comes on in a very linear fashion. The shifting action of the manual transmission remains slick as can be. Power delivery out of a corner comes on sure and deliberate without a great deal of torque steer.
As before, the interior is packed with special stuff like the grippy sport seats with red stitching and logos. That red stitching flows across the doors, steering wheel, shift knob and boot. Ahead of the driver is a TFT digital cluster with all kinds of fun display options as well. It’s all finished out with aluminum sport pedals and matte carbon fiber look accents and that aluminum shift knob to burn your palm on a hot day.
Just as before we like it. The price and the packaging whether you get the Honda Civic Si Coupe or the Sedan really hits the magic balance. Its fun to drive, built well and in this iteration more livable than ever for the real life slog.
While we make it sound like the old Civic Si didn’t measure up, it did. It made it to our “Id Buy It” list back then. The new one does too.