2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe new car reviews

A Civic Si in its natural habitat: the race track.

Better than: Honda Civic EX
But not as good as: Honda Civic SiR
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 87.65

Faster sport compacts may have come and gone, but the Honda Civic Si has soldiered on for more than a quarter-century thanks to a proven combination: more power, less fluff, stiffer suspension, tactile quality and effective ergonomics.

Honda introduced the ninth-generation Civic for 2012, and a sporty Si version joins the bill. Sometimes they make us wait for the hot one, sometimes they deliver it for opening day. Fortunately, this time there's no delay.

What do you need to know? The Civic Si again comes in two flavors—two-door coupe and four-door sedan—and displacement is up to 2.4 liters. Horsepower didn't really change—197 vs. 201—but Honda's calculator says that torque is up 22 percent.

The helical-type, limited-slip differential also remains standard, and there's just one transmission choice: a six-speed manual. The two-tier dashboard introduced last year remains, but, like the rest of the car, it all seems a bit more integrated.

In typical Honda fashion no real options are offered. Pricing is done by packages:

Civic Si Sedan: $22,405 Civic Si Sedan with summer tires: $22,605 Civic Si Sedan with Navi and XM Radio: $23,905 Civic Si Coupe: $22,205 Civic Si Coupe with summer tires: $22,405 Civic Si Coupe with Navi and XM Radio: $23,705 Civic Si Coupe with Navi, XM Radio and summer tires: $23,905

Do you like Civics? We do! In fact, we have owned just about every generation of the Civic Si. Subscribe now for tons of sports car content delivered 8 times a year.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

First, some disclosure. My wife and I own a 2000 Civic Si. In the past we have also owned an '86 Civic Si, '88 CRX Si, '88 CRX SiR clone and a '92 Civic Si. The magazine's old 2002 Civic Si project car also lived with us for a while.

While it's true that the Civic Si has lost a bit of its edge over time, I still think it's one of the best performance deals sold today. The shifter is a joy to use, and I love the limited-slip diff. Okay, the engine may no longer spin to 8000 rpm, but it still packs some punch.

I also miss the double-wishbone suspension, but this the current setup works well. Heck, it's good enough for World Challenge and the Continental Cup, so I guess it's okay.

I enjoyed the seats, and the double-level dash has (finally) grown on me. The thinner windshield pillars are much appreciated. I even think it looks cool.

If I were to buy one, though, I'd go for the sedan. The weight penalty is only 18 pounds. I'd rather have the extra convenience. Blue or that rust red? Hmmm.

Alan Cesar Alan Cesar
SuperDork

There are much, much faster cars for this kind of money that do everything else just as well. I don't think it's a bargain.

Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

This Honda is a nice car. Heck, ALL Hondas are nice cars. The problem is, there are a ton of truly great cars on the market today, and the once class-leading Si is now outdone by a number of competitors. If the Si was a $18K car it would make more sense. At $23-$24K, it is butting heads with the upcoming FR-S , BRZ twins, the WRX, the MS3, and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe The WRX, MS3 and Hyundai all offer a better driving experience, and if the hype behind the Subaru / Scion is true, it will flat out murder the newest Civic Si.

Sorry Honda, nice just doesn't cut it anymore.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
mazdeuce
mazdeuce UberDork
4/3/12 4:32 p.m.

It's about 400 lbs north of where it should be.

nderwater
nderwater PowerDork
4/3/12 6:04 p.m.

Honda totally lost me with the 2002 Civic - the newer versions just have zero appeal. With the S2000 and RSX out of production, the only Honda I'd consider is an Odyssey... for my in-laws.

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
4/3/12 8:00 p.m.

the dashboard is still retarded. And there is still no turbo to give this car the punch of its competitors. Stop building appliances while Subaru, Mazda, even Kia are making cool, fun cars.

wemay
wemay None
4/26/12 5:57 p.m.

Has seen it's days as the compact performance leader come and go with the arrival of turbo + awd cars in the segment. Still a nice, oldschool drive.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Faster sport compacts may have come and gone, but the Honda Civic Si has soldiered on for more than a quarter-century thanks to a proven combination: more power, less fluff, stiffer suspension, tactile quality and effective ergonomics.

Honda introduced the ninth-generation Civic for 2012, and a sporty Si version joins the bill. Sometimes they make us wait for the hot one, sometimes they deliver it for opening day. Fortunately, this time there's no delay.

What do you need to know? The Civic Si again comes in two flavors—two-door coupe and four-door sedan—and displacement is up to 2.4 liters. Horsepower didn't really change—197 vs. 201—but Honda's calculator says that torque is up 22 percent.

The helical-type, limited-slip differential also remains standard, and there's just one transmission choice: a six-speed manual. The two-tier dashboard introduced last year remains, but, like the rest of the car, it all seems a bit more integrated.

In typical Honda fashion no real options are offered. Pricing is done by packages:

Civic Si Sedan: $22,405 Civic Si Sedan with summer tires: $22,605 Civic Si Sedan with Navi and XM Radio: $23,905 Civic Si Coupe: $22,205 Civic Si Coupe with summer tires: $22,405 Civic Si Coupe with Navi and XM Radio: $23,705 Civic Si Coupe with Navi, XM Radio and summer tires: $23,905

Do you like Civics? We do! In fact, we have owned just about every generation of the Civic Si. Subscribe now for tons of sports car content delivered 8 times a year.
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