Test Drive: 2022 Honda Civic Si
2022 Honda Civic Si
Class: Compact Car
Miles driven: 499
Fuel used: 17.1 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 29.2 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A-|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||200-hp 1.5L|
|Engine Type||Turbo 4-cylinder|
|Drive Wheels||Front-wheel drive|
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 27/37/31 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $27,300 (not including $1015 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Blazing Orange Pearl paint ($395)
Price as tested: $28,710
The great: Delightful manual transmission; playful, eager-to-rev engine; nimble handling
The good: Generous passenger room for a compact car; affordable price point for an engaging performance machine
The not so good: Very limited options; several desirable comfort/convenience features aren’t available
More Civic price and availability information
Honda’s sporty Civic Si model has long been a laudably practical, accessible performance machine, delivering a spiced-up, enthusiast-satisfying driving experience in the wrapper of an affordable compact car. The previous-generation Si debuted for 2017 and closed out its run with a mildly freshened model for 2020. The trim level took a breather for the 2021 model year but it’s back for 2022, and it’s based on the Civic’s excellent redesigned platform.
We at Consumer Guide are fans of the 2022 Civic line in general—we awarded it Best Buy status right out of the gate—and the Si is one of our favorite versions of the car. It’s (relatively) cheap to buy, lots of fun to drive, and pleasant enough to be a livable everyday commuter. As with the previous-gen Si, the new one gets an upgraded version of the Civic’s turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. It makes 200 horsepower (five hp less than the previous Si) and 192 pound-feet of torque and comes paired exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission.
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At $27,300 to start, the Si sits a few rungs above the middle of the Civic lineup in terms of price—the roster starts with the entry-level LX model at $23,550 and tops out with the Sport Touring model at $30,050. The new-for-2023 Civic Type R—the track-ready, super-performance hatchback model that Honda has just unveiled (but not provided and specs or pricing for as of yet)—will likely start above the $40K mark.
The Civic Si comes only as a sedan, and its options are very limited. You can upgrade to a set of high-performance summer tires instead of all-season radials for $200, and for another $395 you can choose one of three extra-cost colors (Blazing Orange Pearl, Platinum White Pearl, or Sonic Gray Pearl) in place of Aegean Blue Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, or Rallye Red. There’s also a set of upgraded 18-inch black alloy wheels available for $1708. Other than that, it’s just accessory-type items such as all-weather floormats, door-sill protectors, and HPD (Honda Performance Development) underbody-spoiler add-ons.
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The Civic Si’s focus on bang-for-the-buck budget performance and its basic “mono-spec” configuration means doing without some amenities. Want an automatic day/night rearview mirror? Sorry, you’ll have to manually flip the lever on the bottom of the mirror. Heated and/or power-adjustable front seats? No and no. How about leather upholstery? Nope, sorry, just cloth—and although there’s flashy red upholstery on the front bucket seats and in the front-door inserts, Honda apparently decided the back-seat area didn’t warrant the same treatment—it’s just plain black cloth back there.
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However, those front seats are exclusive to the Civic Si—they have integral (non-adjustable) headrests, embroidered Si logos, and “just-right” seatback- and seat-bottom bolsters for a near-ideal mix of comfort and support. They’re not too confining for everyday commuting, but they hold you in place quite well when you’re driving aggressively.
The Si’s interior is clearly built to a price, but the assembly quality is good, and details such as the leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, red trim accents, and red contrast stitching help liven up the ambiance. As with previous Si, the shift knob isn’t fully wrapped, however—the top and base of the knob are satin-finish aluminum, which looks great but gets chilly to the touch on cold days and uncomfortably warm on hot days. Happily, the new Si comes standard with an impressive 12-speaker Bose-brand audio system—it sounds especially rich and clear, especially considering the Si’s budget-performance mission.
Even though Honda didn’t see fit to give the new Si a horsepower boost, the carryover turbo 1.5-liter engine has a snarky, eager character and a wonderful willingness to rev. The upside of the slight drop in horsepower output is that the engine’s peak torque output comes a bit lower in the rpm range. The crisp 6-speed manual transmission is a key part of the Si experience. The shifter’s action is snickety-smooth—it has a great mechanical feel (like metal-on-metal, in a good way), and it’s very accurate and easy to use. The transmission’s automatic rev-matching on downshifts is a delightful new feature that made us feel like a pro driver—and it can be turned off if you want to practice your heel-and-toe shifting technique for real.
The clutch-pedal feel is VERY light, but also reassuringly progressive and forgiving. It’s pretty easy to feel the takeup point despite the lack of “weight” or pronounced feedback in the pedal’s travel. As luck would have it, we tested the Civic Si at the same time we had a Volkswagen Golf R (the Golf R and Golf GTI are also redesigned for 2022) in our Consumer Guide test fleet. The R has a much stiffer, more-demanding clutch pedal, but its shifter feel is more muted—not quite as crisp or mechanical-feeling as the Si’s.
As expected, the Si’s ride is notably stiffer than the Civic Touring sedan we tested previously… it gets a bit nervous and jittery, but never outright harsh, over sharp bumps. You’ll be quite familiar with all the expansion cracks on the roads in your neck of the woods, however. Thanks to its sport-tuned suspension and steering, larger brakes, and limited-slip differential, the Si’s handling is wonderfully agile—about as good as it gets for a mainstream front-wheel-drive compact sedan.
The 2022 Civic Si gains all the benefits of the Civic’s impressive new architecture, but retains its engaging personality, and that’s something to celebrate.
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