Live something in the shadow of the razor-sharpand compete directly with the excellent ones , the humble Honda Civic Si has been flying under the radar, so to speak , In fact, the Civic Si is an exceptionally balanced and attractive sports compact – one of my favorites in this class. It is also a great choice for budget performance.
- The turbo engine combines good torque in the medium speed range with high thrills
- The handling is precise and appealing
- The 2020 model makes life easier thanks to new driver assistance and cabin technology
I do not like it
- No navigation option on board
- Honda LaneWatch is not a substitute for real blind spot monitoring
This year, the 2020 Si will be refreshed in the middle of the cycle with revisions to the exterior and interior design, improvements to standard driver support features, and some performance improvements.
The little turbo that could
If you take a look at the underworld, you'll find the Si is powered by a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder, direct-injection, turbocharged engine that produces 205 horsepower and 195 pounds of torque. Now 1.5 liters are allowed sound a bit small, but the small engine with peppy character offers very healthy torque in the medium speed range – with a peak torque of only 2,100 rpm – and an adorable willingness to keep swiveling the rev counter up to its 6,500 rpm limiter , Sure, it has a performance and torque disadvantage compared to its biggest opponent, the VW GTI, but the Si is no less exciting once the revs start.
The thrill of the engine is exacerbated by one of the most satisfactory six-speed manual transmissions on the road. The gearbox is super precise with a gear lever that almost magnetically engages with every short throw. The gear change is accompanied by a light clutch – ideal for fatigue-free commuting and stop-and-go crawling – with excellent pedal positioning for easy heel and toe jumps.
The transmission of the 2020 Civic Si has a revised transmission with a shorter axle ratio than in the previous year. The result is improved acceleration and responsiveness of the accelerator pedal, but at the expense of slightly higher engine speeds – and a drone that is a bit more powerful – when driving on the freeway. Overall, the new transmission seems to better match the performance goals of the 1.5T and Si.
The manual gearbox is the only gearbox available to Si buyers. There is no automatic or dual clutch option. I'm perfectly happy with it – the six-speed Si & # 39; s is about as perfect as I could wish for – but that will understandably be bad news for people who can't drive or don't want a manual.
A limited slip differential is standard on the Si and helps to control the traction between the contact surfaces on the front wheels. The Si runs on 18-inch wheels equipped with 235 millimeter wide all-season tires. You can also choose summer tires. Summer tires for $ 673 are a must for Si buyers as they significantly improve performance and are fantastic value for money. (Note: According to Honda's consumer side, the price of summer tires went from $ 200 originally to $ 673, which cost so much at the time I made the video. Still, it's a pretty good one Business.)
The last part of the performance puzzle is the chassis, which consists of a MacPherson strut front and a multilink rear combination with adaptive dampers on all four corners. The shock absorbers can be changed from fixed to fixed by pressing a sports button near the switching tower.
The Si ride is stiff, but never hard. The steering has a good weight and an appealing feeling that brings the sport to life compactly in your hands. Like the drivetrain, the suspension is fine-tuned and gives me excellent control and feedback in every phase of a curve – from braking to turning the crown to transitioning back to acceleration.
As I mentioned earlier, the Si is underperforming compared to the GTI, but the way it handles corners feels so much more precise and responsive that on the road – where the joy at every corner and crest is far more important is than the specifications – – I really don't care. I feel encouraged to bring more speed through a curve with the Honda, which seems to be lighter on the toes, and this makes up for any lack of torque. On the track, it would probably be a different story, but time strikes and round battles are more of the R type anyway.
What's new for 2020?
The rest of the Si updates are new features and optimizations that are shared with the rest of the Si,
From the forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, there are new standard driver assistance functions. On the highway, the adaptive cruise control ensures that long journeys are more relaxed by maintaining a defined distance behind a guide car. The Lane Keeping Assist ensures a compact hold between painted lane markings and warns you when you are drifting out of your lane or over the lane edge.
My favorite safety enhancement are the new LED headlights with automatic high beam, which are activated on dark streets and dimmer automatically to prevent oncoming traffic from being dazzled. My least preferred stock is the LaneWatch system from Honda – a camera on the passenger side that is activated at the push of a button or with the turn signal activated. I'd rather have a blind spot monitoring system that monitors both sides of the car, but I guess LaneWatch is better than nothing.
An updated 7-inch version of the Honda Display Audio Infotainment System is located in the front and center of the dashboard. Make sure to take your phone with you so you can take advantage of the standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as there is no OEM navigation option available for the Si. Since I prefer Android Auto to almost every onboard infotainment at this price, I don't mind this setup, but it's still worth mentioning.
Minor improvements that you may miss are the new volume control, which replaces the old and cumbersome capacitive control, and additional physical buttons and shortcuts for infotainment and climate control functions. In addition, the new Civic has improved Bluetooth pairing and improved overall system performance. The steering wheel thumb control has also been redesigned, the seats have been updated and the rest of the cabin gets a little visual refreshment for this new half generation. Oh, and the cup holders are bigger now too.
Pricing and competition
The 2020 Honda Civic Si is available in coupe and sedan configurations. Personally, I prefer the look and usefulness of the sedan; Back doors can be very practical. With the same wheelbase and less than 20 pounds curb weight, performance is the same in every way. The prices are also the same, starting at $ 26,195 (including a target fee of $ 995) regardless of whether you choose two or four doors.
There aren't many options on the table for the well-equipped Si, but I recommend beating the extra $ 673 for summer tires, which gets you at a suggested price of $ 26,868. This is roughly what you would expect to pay the middle softer, A less sophisticated, but much more entertaining option is the new Hyundai Veloster N, which costs just under $ 29,000.
No wonder that the sharpest rival of the Civic Si is also the oldest: the Volkswagen GTI. The VW is more of a premium car with nicer cabin materials, an available dual clutch automatic transmission, a larger 8-inch screen with onboard navigation, a digital instrument cluster and much more. It's also a hatchback that I love. However, the Honda starts at around $ 2,000 less than the GTI – which almost prizes itself out of this class if you're not careful.
The Honda Civic Si – an independent Sport Compact legend – continues to shine as an excellent performer and excellent performance value, and the 2020 model year will be even better.