What is it: The 2017 Honda Civic Si is back with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four and a six-speed manual transmission.
Key Competitors: Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Golf GTI
Base Price: $24,775 As Tested Price: $24,775
Highlights: The 2017 Honda Civic Si gets a smaller engine than the last model making the same amount of power and more torque. The standard six-speed gets slicker action while the drive-by-wire system gets rid of the normal cables associated with throttle control.
Gallery: 2017 Honda Civic Si interior
Our Opinion: Damn, this Civic is good. This is the first time the Civic Si gets a turbocharged engine and while horsepower is the same as the outgoing model (205), torque is up 18 to 192 lb-ft. With more power lower in the rev range, the Si has no problem feeling quicker than it actually is. And that low-end torque works well with a two-mode adaptive damper system and the sport-tuned suspension.
The turbo whine, while subtle, will turn heads if you’re quick into the throttle, and there’s plenty of oomph to overpower the front wheels, if that’s your prerogative. Oh, and the six-speed manual offers short, and satisfyingly clicky throws.
Out of the box, the Si offers plenty of features. Heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control and a 450-watt, 10-speaker sound system are all standard.
The seats are bolstered just enough to hold you in place during spirited driving without making you feel like you should schedule an appointment with your chiropractor after your morning commute. My larger frame (read: gut) had no problem fitting comfortably into the seats, and I felt no discomfort over several hours of driving. Nothing seems to upset the car. The Si eats up any road imperfections, even when powering through sweeping turns on the throttle. The chassis is solid.
The only problem with the Civic Si actually has nothing to do with the car itself. It’s the compelling competition that throws a wrench into the Civic’s otherwise winning formula. The Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Focus ST are priced in the mid-$20,000s while pumping out more power.
What I like about the Si, and why I would buy it over its competitors, is that it’s the only one that comes in a coupe bodystyle. There is just something about the inconvenience of two doors (you don’t have to drive large groups of people places) that I can’t seem to shake.
The Si coupe looks sporty thanks in part to the slightly gratuitous spoiler and center-exit exhaust. It reminds me a lot of the Accord coupe, which I would also buy over the sedan.
The Civic Si is a teeny bit softer and a tad slower than the competition, but the overall package you get right off the dealer lot makes it a great car to commute to work with, then take on some twisty back roads on your way home without feeling like you’re compromising in one area or the other.