Sea Trials With Our Latest Civic Si

David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Honda Civic Si Coupe project car
Apr 16, 2019

story and photos by David S. Wallens

There have been a few constants here at GRM: the desire to produce great content, a hatred of hurricanes, and a love affair with the Civic Si.

We’ve been playing with the Civic Si since it was first introduced, as we did a factory-backed project with Honda way back in 1986–the first year for the model. (For those keeping score, yes, we did a 1500S as well.)

Over the years several more have passed through our core fleet, including Civic Si models from 1992, 2000, 2002 and 2014. Then add in a few CRXs.

This year we’re fostering a 2019 Civic Si Coupe, the latest evolution of the model line. Yes, the color: Honda calls it Tonic Yellow Pearl. You could also call it Mellow Yellow. Or Not Very Mellow Yellow. Or Yellow AF. Your call.

A quick rundown of the specs: Power comes from a 1.5-liter turbo four backed by a six-speed manual that features a helical limited-slip diff. The 205 horsepower matches that of the previous generation, but torque has been increased from 174 lb.-ft. at 4400 to 192 lb.-ft. at 2100 to 5000 rpm.

Curb weight is down, too: 2889 pounds for the new coupe (and 2906 for the new sedan) vs. 3002 pounds for both versions of the previous car.

The screaming engine revs of yore are gone, though, as Honda lists just a 6500 rpm redline for the new car; the old one, they said, could go to 7000 rpm. The B16A in our 2000 Civic Si could go past 8000, yet the new car produces so much more torque.

The mission for our Civic Si coupe? Track days. Expect to see the Civic at events like the SCCA’s Track Nights in America Driven by Tire Rack as well as those held under the NASA banner. (We’re already signed up for two upcoming Track Nights in America: Daytona International Speedway and the FIRM.)

The Civic landed late week, so we’re still being easy on it. This weekend was for break-in miles: Daytona Beach, Florida, across the state to St. Pete and then up to Gainesville. The occasion was Record Store Day as we helped friends from two Athens powerhouses, Five Eight and Pinky Doodle Poodle, complete a Southeast swing.

Call the weekend sea trials. Initial impressions: We hate to disrespect earlier versions of the Civic Si, but by far this is the most refined, most usable one ever. It’s quiet. It’s comfortable. You don’t have to rev the snot out of it to get thing moving.

The shifter feels spot-on. Pedals are perfectly spaced. The steering wheel feels up-market. Gauges are right where you’d want them. The Apple CarPlay works as it should. The controls–things like the turn signals and such–feel a bit more upmarket. The radio volume is again controlled by a little knob, one that has perfect detents.

The seats offer good bolstering but aren’t too tight. They’re roomier than those in the BRZ. The car gobbled up those cross-state jaunts with ease. Our traveling companion had no trouble getting some well-deserved rest. (Seven shows behind the drum kit across three days is quite the workout.)

Even in coupe guise, over-the-shoulder visibility is quite good. The rear wing does block the rear window a bit, though. The coupe’s doors are a tad big.

And then there’s the color. The comments came constantly, and there was one common theme: It’s bright but not too crazy, and the black accents perfectly keep it in check. (That yellow paint does show the dirt, but some quick-detail quickly cleaned up things.)

In less than a month, we’ll have the Civic on track. Look for a full report then. As a daily, though, it has already posted top marks.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Duke MegaDork
4/16/19 1:39 p.m.

There is one just like that in that color sitting on the local Honda dealer's lot.

Emphasis on sitting.  It doesn't appear to have moved in months.

ultraclyde PowerDork
4/16/19 1:42 p.m. it. I'm a fan of color, and wow, that is ALL the color. 

Slippery GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/16/19 2:15 p.m.

I really like everything about this Civic, but the exhaust tip. 

barefootskater Dork
4/16/19 2:19 p.m.

Man I wanted the 17 that sat on the local lot for over a year. But black paint and too few doors.... Thanks for not getting black, white or silver.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
4/16/19 2:37 p.m.

One of these is on my list for a future One Lap of America car. Not sure what it would take to push me to actually buy one. I'm very interested to hear how the stock size brakes do. I know TNIA isn't likely to fully stress them but I hope you guys get a chance to hammer on the car a bit and see how they do. A few laps around Sebring maybe? I've tracked the previous generation and haven't been able to find a pad that lasts on One Lap. 

Duke MegaDork
4/16/19 2:52 p.m.
Slippery said:

I really like everything about this Civic, but the exhaust tip. 

The exhaust tip is quite possibly the least visibly offensive item on the entire car.

For the record, I don't have a problem with the color.  If I had seen a Nitro Yellow Green Neon in person before I bought mine, it wouldn't have been white.

alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/16/19 2:54 p.m.

To heck with the color- it's a great car.  Makes me sad that we are not going to make cars in the US anymore.  

CobraSpdRH Reader
4/16/19 3:28 p.m.

So did the 2019's get an update? I was watching reviews on these last week and I remember people hating the lack of a radio volume knob.

This seems like it would make a lot of sense for daily duty (sedan for me please), but I liked the "revving it within an inch of it's life" from my former Integras, Preludes and S2000.

CyberEric HalfDork
4/16/19 3:29 p.m.

This sounds great, especially with a real diff. I do wish the exterior styling were different. 

sjd New Reader
4/16/19 4:24 p.m.

In reply to CobraSpdRH :

They 2019's did get an update and it included a volume knob and some hard buttons for the audio system.


I love this colour and mine is on order. I must say I'm happy that the Canadian cars gets the LED headlights.

Ozzy New Reader
4/17/19 9:33 a.m.

Dave, I will be curious to see how this car stacks up against the 2019 Hyundai Veloster 1.6T (I know you guys tested it too).  Both have the similar price points, weight & power.  To be honest I am just glad to see some manufactures still care enough to offer a fun small car with a stick (cough.. cough Ford).

nderwater UltimaDork
4/17/19 10:18 a.m.

<< Banana! >>

z31maniac MegaDork
4/17/19 10:43 a.m.

That color really works with the kind of outlandish styling of the new Civics. I like it.

doc_speeder HalfDork
4/17/19 11:16 a.m.

I put a helical LSD in a MK2 VW autocross car years ago.  Totally transformed the car.  I'm happy the VW and Honda (likely others that I haven't noticed) are putting real LSDs in FWD cars.  It's taken way too long IMO.


The Civic is ugly in my opinion, but it's cool that Honda still cares somewhat about enthusiasts.  As a  side note, I test drove a new 2018 CRV a few months ago while car shopping for my aunt.  It had the 1.5 turbo that I assume is quite similar to the si.  It was a CVT.  What a moaning, thrashy, noisy, underpowered feeling piece of crap.  Surprising amount of road noise too.  I was totally disappointed.  It did not feel like a Honda.  Hopefully the Civic is much better. 

albino09 New Reader
4/17/19 2:35 p.m.

A local guy has been campaigning a sedan in DS and cleaning up. I like the lines of the coupe over the sedan and the hatch over both but unfortunately the Civic Sport Hatch doesn't get the LSD...I need 4 doors. Can't wait to hear what y'all make of this. 

WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/17/19 2:51 p.m.

I love the color, but then I just vinyl wrapped my Miata into a similar color (Vvivid Viper Green - Gloss):


Glad to see someone offering a fun car in something other than grey/white/black!

sleepyhead Mod Squad
4/18/19 2:27 a.m.

there was a 2017? bombing around NoVA before we left that had that green for the body, but had black or blue replacement panels hood/trunk doors?.  wasn't sure if it was a wrap, special edition, or what... but looked pretty good

I look forward to following along on this, I like fwd cars with lsd's... especially ones that mightcould be swapped into Fit chassis?

Feedyurhed SuperDork
4/22/19 7:35 a.m.

I like it a lot. Even the color. As mentioned in a previous post, It's very sad the domestics have chosen to get out of the small car business.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/23/19 9:56 a.m.
CobraSpdRH said:

So did the 2019's get an update? I was watching reviews on these last week and I remember people hating the lack of a radio volume knob.

This seems like it would make a lot of sense for daily duty (sedan for me please), but I liked the "revving it within an inch of it's life" from my former Integras, Preludes and S2000.

What's new for 2019? A few things. Right from the Honda media site:


Oct 25, 2018 - TORRANCE, Calif.

  • Display Audio system now features physical buttons and a volume knob
  • Two new exterior color choices: Platinum White Pearl and Coupe-only Tonic Yellow Pearl
  • Performance-focused Civic Si winner of Car and Driver magazine's '10 Best' and Editor's Choice awards
  • Civic on pace to be America's #1 retail-selling passenger car for 3rd straight year

The 2019 Honda Civic Si Sedan and Coupe begin arriving at dealerships November 1 sporting a range of interior improvements, new exterior colors and an updated Display Audio system with a new interface that includes a volume knob and physical buttons for key functions, and improved Bluetooth® integration with easier device pairing. The Si Coupe and Sedan are highly praised for their exceptionally responsive chassis, high-torque turbo engine and outstanding overall value, and have collected 2018 Car and Driver "10Best" and Editor's Choice awards.

The sport-tuned Si variants of the award-winning 10th generation Civic lineup boast numerous standard performance features, including a powerful 205-horsepower, 1.5-liter, direct injected and turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder engine, a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, a helical limited-slip differential, and an adjustable two-mode adaptive damper system.

Available in 2-door coupe and 4-door sedan body styles, the 2019 Civic Si benefits from a number of other changes to its interior. In addition to the updated Display Audio system, Civic Si receives larger cupholders, more intuitive steering wheel controls, an improved electronic parking brake switch, and physical buttons for fan speed. Additionally, Platinum White Pearl is added to Civic Si's exterior color palette, while Si Coupe gets a new Tonic Yellow Pearl. While the summer tire package is no longer available as a factory trim, it remains available as a dealer-installed option.

CobraSpdRH Reader
4/23/19 10:15 a.m.

Well, I wonder if this will mean there will be some deals to be had on 2018's still sitting on the lots...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/23/19 2:01 p.m.
CobraSpdRH said:

Well, I wonder if this will mean there will be some deals to be had on 2018's still sitting on the lots...

Good question. Are there any leftovers out there? What about in markets that aren't prime territory for the Civic Si?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/23/19 2:03 p.m.

After I got home and looked at the photos, I realized that I should have photographed the car in front of garage number 19. At the moment, I was looking more for a bank of doors that was fully closed. Plus I needed some room so I could photograph the car with a long lens. When I get back to DIS, I'll reshoot in front of garage number 19. It's the details.  

4/27/19 11:19 a.m.

Civic Hatchback Sport to Si

Great minds think alike. I too just got a 2019 Honda Civic. However, I felt the need for a hatch, so I have a Honda Civic Hatchback Sport, with a 6-speed manual transmission. There was no Si option on the hatchback. The good news is I like the dual exhaust on my sport better than the vacuum-cleaner-nozzle on the Si. The bad news is that I have a few less horsepower.

I would love to hear about ways to make my hatchback sport more like a Si. I can see no reason for the horsepower difference (isn't it the same engine). I am looking forward to see what you come up with.


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/31/19 8:12 a.m.

Yeah, a Civic Si hatch would be pretty sweet. I agree, it can be a tough call: The Sport loses the limited-slip but gains the practicality of the hatch.

As far as making up the power difference, does Hondata offer anything? 

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