2017 Honda Civic Si new car reviews

The new Honda Civic Si was not built to win the internet. If you’re a hardcore autocrosser, you probably shouldn’t ditch your latest flavor du jour. If you wish that the 4x100mm bolt pattern was still common on all new cars, then this also isn’t for you. This isn’t a Focus RS or a Civic Type R. It’s also not a unicorn–like, turbocharged, stick-shift diesel wagon wearing brown paint from the factory.

Instead, the Civic Si is a car clearly built for the more common enthusiasts driving on normal public roads. It’s through that lens that this latest, all-new Civic Si becomes much, much more appealing.

Other staff views

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Associate Editor

Okay, let’s first do the numbers: 2889 pounds (add 17 more if you want four doors), 205 horsepower, 192 lb.-ft., $23,900 and 38 mpg. Why’d we throw highway fuel economy in there? Because for a sporty daily driver, it’s that impressive.

What do you get for your $23,900? Actually, quite a bit. There are no options available (aside from a $200 set of summer tires), so every Civic Si will be delivered with a six-speed manual, a limited-slip differential, driver-adjustable shocks, a rear wing, a power sunroof, a good stereo with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic climate control, heated seats, keyless entry, fog lights and a leather-wrapped wheel. You’ll get 18-inch alloy wheels and 235- width tires, too. The only choice you’ll have to make is coupe or sedan–sorry, no Si-trim hatchbacks will be sent here.

We started our drive on the Honda Proving Center’s winding road course in the Mojave Desert. This track mixes together flowing corners with some banking and a few manmade hills to roughly approximate a twisty mountain road, albeit one meticulously designed and maintained by the same company that makes robots capable of love. In this context, we were a tad underwhelmed.

The first thing we noticed was the new Si’s engine: Though it produces the same peak horsepower number as the outgoing model, this new turbocharged 1.5-liter engine trades nearly a full liter of extra displacement for a turbo that pumps out 20.3 psi. Also gone: VTEC, signaling the end of an era.

The result of this technology is a ton more torque–192 lb.-ft.–available over a much wider range, 2100-5000 rpm. The outgoing Civic Si didn’t make its 174 lb.-ft. of peak torque until 4400 rpm, with max horsepower sitting by the sidelines until 7000 rpm.

In short, the new Civic Si feels much more like a normal car, and it’s easier to drive, too. No more shifting and hunting for that VTEC wail–the new Civic Si just quietly pushes itself along. It’s not the fastest small car, and it doesn’t sound fast or feel fast, either. It accelerates like a bureaucrat, a helpful one that’s only been working a few years and still wants to impress their boss and get another promotion or two before settling down.

The exhaust is also Si-exclusive, and Honda told us it had a “Sporty Sound and Increased Output.” We’ll have to take their word for it, because we couldn’t really hear it while driving. They did prove their statement with a graph charting interior sound pressure against engine rpm, though neither axis lists its units.

Once we’d gotten up to speed, we pushed the Sport button in hopes of stiffening up the chassis. Oops–it was already enabled.

The new Si has a solenoid on each shock that adjusts the damping force, but we didn’t really notice much of a difference. Sorry, pushing the button doesn’t magically sub in a set of race-valved dampers.

Overall, the Civic Si was too soft on track, though to be fair that’s a complaint any racer would level against almost any mainstream production car. It understeered at the limit, but we found ourselves trail-braking to rotate the car with success. Compared to the standard car, the Si gets a slightly stiffer front spring rate and anti-roll bar (7 percent for each), while the rear is substantially stiffer: 32 percent more spring rate, and a 26 percent stiffer rear anti-roll bar, which explains its ability to rotate when asked.

Power and spring rate aside, we actually quite liked the bones of the car. Gone are the new fluid-filled bushings found on the standard Civic. On the Si they’re replaced with solid rubber pieces.

The variable-rate electric power steering rack gets a bigger motor than on the standard Civic, presumably to cope with the wider wheels and tires. We’re big fans of the new car’s steering feel, and it was one of the few things that reminded us of past models.

The shifter was awesome, too— but you expected to read that in a Honda review, right? We didn’t have any issues with the brakes— also larger than standard Civic parts, but the test track used for the unveil didn’t seem too taxing. (The cars we drove were all fitted with Honda Performance Development brake pads.)

Once we were done with our laps on track, we changed cars and headed out for a driving loop, winding through the Mojave Desert’s craggy mountains. Here, the car shined. The suspension was supple but didn’t fall on its face through the switchbacks, while the torquey engine stopped sucking the life out of the experience and became a helpful companion, there only to keep you twisting through the canyons.

We hit the Sport button a few times, too, but by that point we assumed it was as effective as that crosswalk button at an intersection. Still, we pressed it: When in Rome, right?

Here’s our big takeaway on the Civic Si: This is one of the best daily drivers we’ve ever sampled, and in that context we were thrilled with its performance. It’s why we have owned so many of these over the years. It’s the right mix of performance, practicality, reliability and price. You can’t put a number on it, but that familiar Honda feel is still there, one we have been enjoying for decades.

So, should you buy the sedan or the coupe? Take our advice: Buy the sedan. You get a bigger trunk and much easier access to the back seat, but that’s not the real reason to choose the sedan.

The real reason is simple: People will make fun of you for driving a poky coupe that has a turbo and driver-adjustable shocks but won’t win any autocrosses. But people will commend your practical decision-making skills for driving a slightly sporty sedan that can stiffen itself up a bit during that mountain-road vacation, but won’t ride harshly enough to wake up your sleeping baby, or drone on the highway enough to give your passenger a headache.

Honda hasn’t built a Focus ST beater, a Volkswagen Golf GTI fighter, a Subaru WRX alternative, or a BRZ autocross foe. Instead, they’ve built a less expensive option–something with just enough sporting pretense to tackle the daily commute.

And for those who wish that Honda offered a faster Civic, soon you’ll get your command: The Type R is finally headed our way.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

TL;DR: I want one. There, how’s that for a review?

Full disclosure: I liked the previous Civic Si sedan so much that we bought a new one. It’s been my wife’s daily driver for three years. Trips to the dealership? Zero. Problems? Zero. Complaints? Zero. Okay, one small complaint: It lacks the edginess of our 2000 Civic Si—her previous daily driver—but she does admit that her newer one is more comfortable. Plus the four doors work well in daily life. I like the limited-slip diff. And, I admit, the modern air bags, stability control, and other safety features are good piece of mind. Around here, at least, I watch a lot of people run lights and basically drive like idiots.

The new one just adds on more good stuff—like torque. It’s weird being in a Civic Si that pulls from down low. A B16A this is not.

The unconventional two-tier dash board is also gone. The new one works fine. Happy to see some red/orange around the gauges. Thanks, Honda, for keeping that tradition alive. The electric parking brake is now par for the course. I love the seats. Glad to see that they’re dark, too. That’s one thing about our ’14 that doesn’t thrill us: the red seats. My wife was happy to see that they’re now heated. That’s the one thing she wishes our ’14 had.

Exterior styling? I really like it. I love the Aegean Blue of our test car. It recalls our Electron Blue 2000. I’m digging Honda’s new styling DNA. I don’t think it looks forced. I know that the internet has been critical of the fake bumper vents. Know what? The 2006 Volkswagen GTI also had them. I don’t remember such an uproar. The stance looks right, too, and I don’t feel like it has to be lowered. The center-exit exhaust doesn’t make it faster, but I dig it.

I have been there with the Civic Si since my first days here at the magazine back in 1994. At the time Tim had just finished restoring a 1500S—the predecessor to the Si. An ’86 Si soon followed. And then I had my own ’86 Si. And a ’92 Si. And that’s ’00 Si. And our ’02 Si project car lived with me for a while. And then throw in two second-gen CRXs. All of that leads up to our current ’14 Si.

It’s like the Civic Si has grown up with us. Yes, it’s gotten bigger and heavier—and I’m totally okay with that. Like we said in our initial review, it might be the perfect daily, especially at that price.

Will I trade in our ’14? Haven’t ruled it out.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
mazdeuce
mazdeuce MegaDork
5/30/17 2:55 p.m.

I salute them for building a "pedestrian" Civic Si and keeping the LSD. Well done Honda.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/30/17 4:17 p.m.

Yeah, happy to see the limited-slip and manual box remain, too.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
5/30/17 8:47 p.m.

LSD, 6-speed and a choice of 2 or 4 doors? Why can't everyone do this? Thank you for keeping the small coupe alive!

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
6/1/17 6:01 p.m.

It seems like the new Sentra Nismo is a little bit tamer than the last version - I understand with Honda coming out with the Type R to blow you away so the Civic Si is a little tamer now.

Maybe Nissan is coming out with a Sentra Nismo Spec V 510 version that will blow us away? Nah, that would never happen.

Robbie
Robbie UberDork
6/1/17 6:16 p.m.

The big question is, will we talk about the CTR in ten years like we talk about the ITR today?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/1/17 7:53 p.m.

Also, I should mention that I'm a long-time Civic Si owner. Right now my wife daily drives our 2014 Civic Si sedan. Before that, a 2000 Si Coupe that bought new. And before that, we had a '92 and an '86. And we lived with our '02 Si project car for a while. Plus we had a pair of CRXs.

Today, I admit, faster options exist. Still, we keep coming back to the Si. For a daily, it's hard to beat. We got our '14 new. Trips to the dealer so far? Zero. I like that.

JeffHarbert
JeffHarbert HalfDork
6/1/17 8:11 p.m.

Glad that the red paint makes those jowls look smaller.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce MegaDork
6/1/17 8:36 p.m.

I just saw an ad on TV for the Ridgeline, Si, and TypeR​!
I don't watch much network TV, but I was surprised.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy PowerDork
6/1/17 9:59 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens:

I drove a 2011 5-speed Accord for 6 years - 152,000 miles with no problems. I would buy an Si next but I can't 800# of conveyor belt in it like I did in my truck today.

I miss my little 5-speed, 4-cylinder Honda - that little engine just sang.

sjd
sjd New Reader
6/1/17 10:10 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Today, I admit, faster options exist. Still, we keep coming back to the Si. For a daily, it's hard to beat. We got our '14 new. Trips to the dealer so far? Zero. I like that.

We have a 2015 Si sedan as well as a 2000 Si and couldn't agree more. In two years with the 2015, we haven't had a single issue either, which is attractive in a daily driver. In Canada it was a lot cheaper than those faster options too.

Lugnut
Lugnut Dork
6/1/17 10:32 p.m.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugly.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
6/2/17 7:24 a.m.

On paper, it seems to line up nicely with the Fiesta ST more than the Focus ST. Similar HP/Weight ratio and price. The Civic trumps the FiST with a LSD but the FiST apparently trumps the Civic with a better chassis/handling. If it goes to HS, might be interesting with a set of Konis on it.

chrispy
chrispy HalfDork
6/2/17 9:00 a.m.

A previous gen (or 2) Civic Si is on my short list as my next DD/autox car. I was gifted, and drove, an '06 auto Civic for a year or so and liked everything about the car, just wish it was a manual. It had over 180K when I sold it with just basic maintenance. Glad to see the positive reviews. I'm having trouble getting over the exterior styling of the all of the new Civics.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/6/17 10:08 a.m.

For a minute there, I thought I jinxed our Civic Si by noting that it has never needed a trip to the dealer. My wife picked me up from the airport late, late Saturday night. As we made a right turn in our neighborhood, we both heard a noise--and not a good one. "Yeah, I heard that earlier today," my wife said, "but I looked under the car and inside the wheel wells and didn't see anything weird."

Okay, we'll look more tomorrow.

We went for a drive around the neighborhood and heard it. It kinda sounded like maybe it was a rear bushing. So we looked again under the car. Nothing. It's super-clean everywhere.

Later that day my wife found the culprit: It was something in the trunk. There's not much in there, but something somehow was resonating under certain conditions.

Mystery solved.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
6/6/17 10:18 a.m.

I've been keeping an eye on these for a potential daily driver replacement for when my Mazda finally gives up the ghost. On paper, they look great: high 30's for MPG, cool stereo, a 205hp turbocharged engine, a real LSD, and (implied) Honda reliability. But, they are kinda ugly, and if you are going to get kinda ugly, why not crank the weirdness to 11 and offer this package on the hatchback/liftback thing?

Also, when is the Accord Sport going to get this drivetrain or a variant of it? That would be a great compromise of decent looks and turbocharged sportiness. And please, don't forget the LSD!

jj
jj HalfDork
8/15/17 6:25 p.m.

I just bought one. Only driven it three times so far, so not much in the way of impressions yet. The interior is very nice for what it is. The steering is great. I actually disagree with the GRM review about the shocks, I can tell the difference in sport mode.

The Type R rear sway bar is only $96 and will be one of the first things I do. Also, the strut towers are pre-slotted. I bought the sedan; the coupe to me is still too boy racerish. Couldn't talk the dealer off MSRP though, but at least no mark up. They also had a hatchback sport 6MT in stock that they would drop $1,300 off to $21,300, but the Si sold me.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/16/17 7:45 a.m.

Congratulations. What color?

jj
jj HalfDork
8/16/17 8:52 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens:

In Black. It looks nice, and the fake bumper vents don't stand out as much.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/16/17 9:05 a.m.

Cool. Good choice.

docwyte
docwyte SuperDork
8/16/17 9:17 a.m.

Both the Si and the Type R are seriously FUGLY. That, in and of itself, is more than enough to keep me from buying one, no matter how good a car they are.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/16/17 10:31 a.m.

I am enjoy

jj
jj HalfDork
8/16/17 10:33 a.m.

It honestly looks much better in person, but I understand how some could say that.

On a side note, it has the same bolt pattern as my 94 mustang track car. The civic's offset is 45mm, mustang's is 30mm. That would be extremely convenient if I could use the same track wheels on both cars.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/16/17 2:21 p.m.

I finally looked at a Type R in the flesh. It's still pretty ugly, but the worst part was the price. The were asking $47k and wouldn't budge.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
8/16/17 3:47 p.m.

It's a shame they couldn't make the Type R LOOK like the SI. A bit of sporty/honda "ricey"ness, but not teenage fanboi level. That said, when the WRX finally bites the dust I will likely swing by the Honda dealer and check this out. I said I wasn't going back to FWD, but maybe I'm coming around since this one has an LSD and 6MT.....

jj
jj HalfDork
8/16/17 7:20 p.m.

looks to do well in PWC. Won it's debut race.

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
8/17/17 9:30 a.m.

To those that own these, how do you like it so far? I have a few questions about some of the stuff none of the magazine reviews have talked about yet:

-Gas mileage: how does it fare in the real world?

-Do the rear seats fold down? One of the things I love about my Mazda 3 hatch is the cargo room. Just last weekend, I hit up a Lemons event, and I was able to toss my mountain bike in the back along with all my photo stuff with lots of room to spare. Could I feasibly do the same with the seats folded down? (I know there's a hatchback Sport, but it's sorta fugly and makes less power/no LSD).

-How is the sound system? I've heard that Hondas don't have certain buttons on the radio and that drives people nuts. Also, how is the Android Auto integration?

-How are the headlights? I swore up and down that my next car after my Mazda would have HID or LED lighting, because I'm sick of not being able to see at night. Looks like these are halogen projectors, right?

-And most importantly, how is the power? I drove a friend's 2013 Focus ST last weekend, and I loved how much power it had. Granted his is a Ford Performance-tuned car, the stock ST seems to be pretty close to the Si on paper.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/17/17 10:22 a.m.
irish44j wrote: It's a shame they couldn't make the Type R LOOK like the SI. A bit of sporty/honda "ricey"ness, but not teenage fanboi level. That said, when the WRX finally bites the dust I will likely swing by the Honda dealer and check this out. I said I wasn't going back to FWD, but maybe I'm coming around since this one has an LSD and 6MT.....

I agree. The SI looks OK, the Type R somehow doesn't lend itself well to that shape. I wish they would make it somehow like an modern ITR, those have aged well I think. After owning Hondas in the past, I want them to make things I want to own.

Cblais19
Cblais19 New Reader
8/17/17 11:37 a.m.

-Owner reported real world mileage I've been seeing over on CivicX has been nearly as good as the normal 1.5T cars, just with premium a requirement. So averages in the low 30s.

-When I heard the same system in the normal Civic it was decent, but not great. Carplay and AA support is present in the center console display and also in the media tab in the multifunction display in front of the driver. Does not have a volume knob, but that really hasn't bothered me in my Accord - the steering wheel controls have been more then sufficient.

-I believe that when IIHS did their headlight testing on the Civics the base halogen projectors actually outperformed the "upgraded" LEDs.

jj
jj HalfDork
8/17/17 12:22 p.m.

Tony Sestito wrote:

To those that own these, how do you like it so far? I have a few questions about some of the stuff none of the magazine reviews have talked about yet:

-Gas mileage: how does it fare in the real world?

After 3 days of mostly freeway driving, Im averaging 39mpg

-Do the rear seats fold down? One of the things I love about my Mazda 3 hatch is the cargo room. Just last weekend, I hit up a Lemons event, and I was able to toss my mountain bike in the back along with all my photo stuff with lots of room to spare. Could I feasibly do the same with the seats folded down? (I know there's a hatchback Sport, but it's sorta fugly and makes less power/no LSD).

Yes, both seats fold down. There are also release levers inside the trunk to put them down.

-How is the sound system? I've heard that Hondas don't have certain buttons on the radio and that drives people nuts. Also, how is the Android Auto integration?

Overall, the sound system is nice. definitely better than the average factory system. the head unit is good but as some others have said the touch controls are a little cumbersome, but not annoying. I would rather have a fan and volume knobs, but as is, i don't think I'll be bothered in the long term. Sound quality is good with the exception of the subwoofer. I honestly think they designed it on paper and signed it off without ever actually listening to it in real life. The good news is that there is already a sub there, so the factory wires could be easily used to power a different aftermarket passive sub.

-How are the headlights? I swore up and down that my next car after my Mazda would have HID or LED lighting, because I'm sick of not being able to see at night. Looks like these are halogen projectors, right?

Edit: Halogen projector beam, LED for day. (+ fog lights)

-And most importantly, how is the power? I drove a friend's 2013 Focus ST last weekend, and I loved how much power it had. Granted his is a Ford Performance-tuned car, the stock ST seems to be pretty close to the Si on paper.

Performance wise, I have only 300 miles, so I haven't put my foot in it yet. It feels like boost doesn't start to build until 2500-3000, and it also feels like it builds gradually. I'll say more once I get past the break-in mileage (600). In a C&D comparison, I think it was only .2 slower than the ST in the quarter mile, but it is 300lbs lighter than the ST.

Overall I really like it. Suspension and steering feel great. I also found some more Honda info that says this Si uses the brakes along with the mechanical LSD. They also said it uses brake vectoring to help turn in and cornering.

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