The 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder produces 205hp and a modest 174lb-ft torque which is mated to a slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox. Around town the Si feels smooth and the gearbox isn’t a pain to live with. Take it on the highway and you’ll want to keep those revs high because that’s where most of the momentum happens. This is mainly due to the small amount of available torque and it is only kicks at 4,000rpm which means you’ll either keep the revs high to keep things moving quickly or you’ll run out of steam.
The Civic Si doesn’t feel as sharp to drive as the Volkswagen GTI. The chassis often feels flustered quickly if you want to drive spiritedly. The steering has decent feel and feedback but it isn’t great neither encouraging when you do want to push it through corners and bends. At least the manual gearbox shifts are crisp and smooth. Wind won’t be much of a problem but there will be some road noise from the larger alloys and depending on which tires you option for.
In the cabin you’ll be greeted by the same two dashboard design which some will love and others will loath. The futuristic design isn’t for everyone. At least the seven-inch display and touch screen infotainment system has a simplex design and is somewhat user friendly. There are controls for climate control too which aren’t fiddly to operate and clearly labeled. Front seats are comfortable and the rear seats are somewhat comfortable. There’s plenty of legroom but taller drivers may struggle to get comfortable because headroom is a bit cramped. Boot space is pretty good too but the trunk hinges eats into cargo space.
Bluetooth, rearview camera, USB audio interface and push button ignition system are all standard on the Si. There’s even a 7-inch touch screen infotainment system and Sequential Rev-limit indicator. You’ll have to pay extra for the navigation system.
The Si is overall cheaper than the GTI, but we’d pick the GTI because it’s much more fun to drive than the Si and the turbo engine gives more torque at low revs while you’ll be forced to keep the revs high in the Si. Running costs with the Si will be low and of course you can’t forget about Honda legendary reliability record which is much more appealing than Volkswagen. There plenty of safety aids to help you avoid a collision and if you do get in one Honda track record with safety is spot on good.
Overall: It’s a pocket rocket that’s cheap to buy and has low running costs. Not to mention excellent quality. If only it had more torque and better driving experience to match its keen rival the GTI.
Likes: The engine sweet spot is when the torque kicks in. Honda build quality and pocket rocket pace at an affordable price.
Dislikes: There’s virtually no torque unless you keep revs in 4,000rpm. The driving experience isn’t even close to that of a GTI and its rivals.