Sea Trials With Our Latest Civic Si

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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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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 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.

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