From our first stint behind the wheel of the all-new, tenth-generation Honda Civic, we knew we had a winner on our hands. Even the base car, with its less-powerful 1.8-liter engine and optional CVT transmission, immediately showed that this Civic had plenty of potential from the perspective of its willing chassis. It just needed a more engaging powertrain.
And here, your reward for several months of patience, sits the new Civic Si coupe. A quick look at the figures immediately sent our expectations sailing upwards. 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque from a 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4 mated to a six-speed, three-pedal manual transmission? Sounds good to us.
The driving position of the Civic Si is very good, with plenty of steering wheel extension and tilt to get perfectly comfortable. You feel like you sit low in the car, but outwards visibility with a positively panoramic feeling windscreen and smallish A-pillars makes plotting each apex dive a joy.
But what you want to know is how the Civic Si feels on your favorite stretch of backroad. To give you an idea, we took the car up to Glendora Mountain Road?one of our favorite stretches of twisty pavement?hit the Sport button, disabled stability control, and let rip. What we found is that the Civic Si is a very capable, sporty coupe with positive handling and strong brakes that felt up to the task for brisk road driving, even with some elevation change built into the scenario. The suspension is a bit of give-and-take between performance and a more comfortable damping rate, but for this class of car, the overall balance is very good.
Of course, a front-wheel-drive coupe is always going to be compromised compared to the alternatives, and while torque steer wasn't an issue with our little backroad burner, asking too much of the front tires ultimately gives understeer and a little bit of a lateral "hopping" sensation where the front tires occasionally seemed to skip across the pavement on very tight turns. This, even with the factory 235/40R18 summer tires mounted (a $200 option). We also found ourselves briefly waiting for the turbo to spool on our hilly test route, but that's to be expected in most small-displacement, single-turbo applications.
Around town and on the freeway, the Civic Si is an excellent choice if a small, two-door coupe fits your lifestyle. While the aesthetics may be a little too busy for some staffers, the car is comfortable and feature packed, with a 7-inch display, rearview camera, Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration, heated sport seats, a limited-slip differential, dual-zone climate control, and a power moonroof ? all standard equipment.
At an as-tested price of $24,975, including an $875 destination fee and the aforementioned summer tire mark-up, the Civic Si coupe makes a compelling argument for itself. Those looking for a little sharper driving experience will still find themselves gravitating to either the Toyota 86 or Subaru BRZ coupe, which offer a more pure sports car experience at the disadvantage of slightly higher cost and less refinement. Yet, as an everyman's (or everywoman's) sports coupe, the Civic Si's livability and non-frantic nature makes a better choice in daily driving.
2017 Honda Civic Si Coupe Specifications
- ON SALE Now
- PRICE $23,900/$24,975 (base/as tested)
- ENGINE 1.5L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/205 hp @ 5,700 rpm, 192 lb-ft @ 2,100-5,000 rpm
- TRANSMISSION 6-speed manual
- LAYOUT 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, FWD coupe
- EPA MILEAGE 28/38 mpg (city/hwy)
- L x W x H 177.4 x 70.8 x 54.7 in
- WHEELBASE 106.3 in
- WEIGHT 2,889 lb
- 0-60 MPH 6.2 sec (est)
- TOP SPEED 130 mph (est)
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