We’ve been in the tenth-generation Civic multiple times since its release. We’re big fans of the coupe, sedan, and hatchback versions of the car. Recently, we had the opportunity to drive the new 2017 Civic Si at Road America in Wisconsin. Having enjoyed the rest of the Civic lineup so much, we were pretty excited to get behind the wheel of the sporty Si.

civic si

When Honda released the Civic Si's specifications there was a lot of hubbub about the power output. Many folks felt the Si should have more power than what it ended up with. We kind of agree with the critics, however, we have to note there felt to be plenty of power and most people will be happy with the Si the way it is. Still, it seems that Honda could have given the Si a bump without encroaching on the upcoming Type R’s sales.

The Si has a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque in both the sedan and coupe forms of the vehicle (the hatchback doesn’t get the Si treatment). That engine is offered with only a six-speed manual transmission (because why would you want anything else in a Si). Overall, it's an enticing package. 

How Does It Look?

Civic Si

The Civic Si looks like the aggressive vehicle we wanted it to be. Honda blacked out what is chrome on the regular Civic, put some lovely 18-inch wheels on it, and placed a wing on the back. The car is striking, especially in blue. The blacked out trim makes the car look downright sinister from certain angles. We kind of wish the black trim wasn’t glossy black, though, as a duller finish would have made the Si look even angrier.

Civic si

The interior looks much the same as the regular Civic. There are some special stitching and some special Si sport seats in the cabin that are clad in a soft cloth material, but the inside doesn’t match the drama of the exterior. We can’t say we’re too mad about that. A more subdued interior is preferable to us. We’re also glad to see that Honda spent its money on the outside of the car and on the performance components of the car instead of gussying up the interior.

How Does It Drive?

civic si

One thing became immediately apparent once we got behind the wheel and buzzed out on the track: the suspension in this car is excellent. Honda added stiffer springs and higher quality mounts and suspension components. The rear suspension shares some parts with the Type R. The two-mode adaptive damper system means that when you put the car in sport mode, the damping force is ramped up just like the throttle and steering effort.

All of this makes the Civic Si a wonderful car to helm on a beautiful racetrack like Road America. We noticed a tiny bit of understeer in the corners, but it’s easily manageable. For the most part, the Civic Si is extremely easy to drive, and you know right where it’s going to go and what it’s going to do. Steering is precise and well-weighted, especially with sport mode engaged.

Honda Civic

The engine feels eager and there’s a fair amount of torque from just over 2,000 rpm all the way up past 5,000 rpm. You can ring the engine out but if you want to get the most out of the turbocharged mill you'd better shift a little early. When you get up around the red line, power diminishes. The Si won’t blow the doors off everything on the road, but it still felt fast. The six-speed manual gearbox is typical of Honda. It’s light and easy to use. The only real issue we had behind the wheel was that there’s not much of a bite point with the clutch. This took some getting used to.

After our track run, we hopped in the passenger seat of the Civic Si as a colleague took his turn behind the wheel on the public roads around the racetrack. The suspension system shines on regular roadways as well. The Civic Si is silky smooth over bumps and gaps in the road and would be an excellent everyday car and an occasional autocross or track machine.

Should You Buy It?

Civic si

The Civic Si is a good buy if you want something a little sportier than the regular Civic. The model has a good amount of power, excellent handling abilities, and it looks exactly like we want a speedy Civic Si to look. Another big plus of the Civic Si is the price. The car starts at $23,900. It’s a whole lot of car for a little bit of dough. If you’re a fan of sporty, well-equipped cars for the casual enthusiast you can’t do much better for the money.

For the hardcore enthusiast, the Si probably doesn’t cut it. It’s most likely too soft and easy for those folks. Anyone who really wants more power and sharper handling will opt for the Focus RS or the Volkswagen Golf R, but both of those cars are substantially more expensive. Or you can simply wait for the Civic Type R, the 306-hp top-ender that will arrive later this year. It'll mark the first time the Type R gets imported to our shores.

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