We've driven a few generations of the Honda Civic Si coupe, but this is the first opportunity we've had to drive the four-door version. The Civic, of course, comes in several different trims, but the Si choice is simple: with navigation or without.
Appearance: Like the regular Civic sedan, the Si has an aerodynamic design with a sculpted hood, chrome-trimmed grille and slender headlights. The Si gets a more athletic look with the body-color integrated decklid spoiler, chrome exhaust and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Performance: It starts with a push of a bright-red button. While its competitors are turning to turbo power, Honda is sticking with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine. The Si's high-revving engine now squeezes out an extra four horsepower for 205, compared with a normal Civic's 143. The Si, as it should, has one transmission choice: a 6-speed, close-ratio, manual transmission. The throws are short and easy, although Lyra found shifting between first and second a bit finicky. The Si also gets a limited-slip differential and sport-tuned suspension. Those refinements add up to a fun and composed ride. (Peter is ready to order one.) Still, the sedan, though it weighs slightly more than 3,000 pounds, isn't as nimble as the Si coupes we've driven.
Interior: We drove the regular Civic recently and enjoyed the quality upgrades in the cabin. With the Si, you get front sport seats with bright-red textured inserts and accent stitching, and Si badges on the seat backs, leather-wrapped steering wheel and floor mats. The Si treatment also includes an aluminum shifter knob and pedals. The seats are snug but comfortable, with good bolstering for some aggressive driving. The Si has the regular Civic's two-tier instrumentation, but the gauges glow in red instead of blue, and there are rev-limit indicator lights to guide your shifts. Overall, the Si's interior is an attractive package that reads sports sedan more than compact cars. For once, we can't complain too much about Honda's touchscreen system with smartphonelike app-oriented interfaces. But the voice commands are sluggish. And we still prefer a physical dial for volume control.
Our 3 favorites
Interior: The two-tone black and red seats are striking.
Restraint: Honda makes the pedestrian Civic look sporty without overdoing it.
Performance: It's fun and gets 22 mph (city) and 31 (highway).
Sleek: The design is aerodynamic.
Price: $25K, with navigation package.
Practical: Four doors for easy access to back seats.
The bottom line: Want some sportiness, but still need to cart around the kids? The Honda Civic Si sedan combines that practicality in a package that can please even the enthusiast.