The 2018 Honda Civic Si is a sporty commuter car

The 2018 Honda Civic isn't as sporty as the Type R, but it's mature enough.

2018 Honda Civic Si Sedan
The 2018 Honda Civic Si features a sporty drivetrain and suspension. –Honda

The Honda Civic Si is a sportier version of the standard Honda Civic, and it’s available as a coupe or sedan. The coupe offers a heightened level of style, while the sedan brings easier access to the rear seats. Both are fun to drive without sacrificing the practicality of the compact cars on which they are based.

Despite having a cult following, the Civic Si is a rather sedate performance car, slotted between the mainstream Civic and the top-tier Civic Type R. Subjectively, the Type R looks absurd, with all its large vents and spoilers. By comparison, the Si is far more refined, and feels more mature.

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Beneath all the performance, the genius of the Si is that it’s still a Civic, which means an upscale, comfortable cabin with plenty of head and leg room in the front and rear seats. The downside? Driver controls are a mixed bag in all versions of the Civic.

The Civic Si has an attractive, spacious interior, but the stereo lacks basic controls like a volume knob. —Honda

Most notably, the Civic Si still suffers from the lackluster, confusing Honda infotainment system, which lacks a volume dial and tuning knob. This system gets a touchpad slider for the volume, but no matter how high-tech touch-screens get, we still aren’t too advanced to prefer simple dials. Honda has heard the criticism; other models like the Fit recently returned to a real volume knob. The Civic will have to wait until a refresh to add this key feature.

A 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine is the beating heart of the Civic Si, just like its non-Si brethren. But unlike those vehicles, it puts out 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. There is no automatic transmission option, and, frankly, that’s how this car should be. The shifter has a fantastic feel, precisely clicking into each gear. Unfortunately the clutch doesn’t provide much feedback. This is the clutch feel we’d expect out of the non-Si civic — the sporty Si needs something more engaging.

Boston.com Dealer Specials:
The spirited 1.5L engine of the 2018 Honda Civic Si. —Honda
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The little 1.5-liter engine provides plenty of acceleration. Running through the gears is very rewarding, and there is plenty of pickup on tap. Steering is well weighted and almost perfect, which is incredible for a front-wheel-drive car.

The Civic Si returns fuel economy of 28 miles per gallon in the city, 38 on the highway, and 32 combined. In our week of driving it in and out of the city, we experienced an average of 31.5 miles per gallon. Pressing the Sport button stiffens up the suspension and quickens the throttle response. It makes for great driving, but it also means worse fuel economy.

The Civic Si comes standard with front- and side-impact airbags, vehicle stability control, tire-pressure monitoring system, and LATCH child seat anchoring system.

Base MSRP for the 2018 Honda Civic Si is $24,100 for both coupe and sedan variants. Opting for summer tires adds $200 to the price. With $875 in destination charges, our test model had a sticker price of $24,975.

2018 Honda Civic Si Sedan is responsive enough to be exciting and spacious enough to be practical. —Honda

For those that want the most hardcore daily diving civic, there’s always the Type R, but the ride is harsh and its raucous “Boy Racer” styling may receive sideways looks in the parking lot. The Si is the perfect blend of restrained performance: It’s comfortable enough to endure the daily commute, but engaging enough to carve up any back road you can find.

Under the Hood

Engine: Turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Power: 205 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque
0-60 acceleration: 6.5 seconds
Top Speed: 137 miles per hour
Also Consider: Ford Fiesta ST, Subaru WRX, Volkswagen GTI

 

George Kennedy is a freelance automotive journalist and automotive expert. You can reach him at George.h.kennedy.iii@gmail.com and on Twitter @GKenns101.