I’ve had an interesting relationship with the Honda Civic Si. When I got out of college I was driving a new 1999 Civic EX. It was Clover Green Pearl with the larger factory spoiler, upgraded 15-inch wheels, and a manual transmission. It was a practical change from the 1996 Camaro I was driving before heading off to the real world. That same year the new Si came out for the Civic’s sixth generation, and I desperately wanted one. After a test drive I decided it wasn’t in the cards. I would eventually end up with an Electron Blue manual Prelude a few years later, but I always wanted that Si. Oddly enough, I’m not sure I have even driven an Si since that test drive. Until now! Honda dropped off the latest gen Si with the optional high-performance tires painted in Blazing Orange Pearl to check out for a whole week.
Jeff drove it as well had some thoughts, so check out his video first, and then find out of the latest Si lives up to my expectations from 20+ years ago .
2022 Civic Si Overview
The latest Civic Si is available in two trim levels, the base Si (starting at $27,500) and the Si HPT ($27,700). Now, HPT stands for “high performance tires” and the extra $200 will get you a set of 235/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2 rubber. Other than that, you get the same bits you get on the base Si. Here’s a quick rundown of all the standard stuff you’ll get on a 2022 Civic Si. Like a lot of Si models over the years, the manual transmission is the only option. #savethemanuals
Our test car gets the aforementioned Blazing Orange Pearl paint ($395), black and red cloth seats (as the only option), and…that’s it. Honda will sell you a different set of black wheels ($1,708), you can see them below (right), but honestly I think the standard wheels look better and will save you some cash.
Option packages are pretty straightforward, the HPD Package ($1,112), not included in our tester, adds:
- HPD Emblem
- HPD Front Underbody Spoiler
- HPD Side Underbody Spoiler
- HPD Rear Underbody Spoiler
Beyond that there are a few “protection packages” with things like splash guards, floor mats, etc. All in you’re looking at $29,190 including destination & handling fees for an Si just like our loaner…assuming there is no adjusted dealer markup (ADM). I’ve had some personal experience shopping for new Si’s and I’ve seen markups of at least $10,000 in early 2022. Hopefully that has cooled down, but I can’t promise anything.
2022 Civic Si Inside & Out
The exterior of the Si starts in a solid place since the new Civic is a good looking thing. In my opinion the eleventh generation Civic is much better looking than the previous generation. As you can see from my tweet below, two Civic Sport models separated by a model year look quite different. The latest Civic is subjectively better looking, and may be one of the best looking Civics in the last couple of decades.
While the Si isn’t exactly the Type R, it’s definitely more aggressive looking than the standard Civic. While some may think the new Civic looks a little anonymous, I think it looks chiseled and purposeful. Hopefully the new Type R emulates the restraint compared to the last model. On the Si, gone are all the odd lines, fake ducts, and the like from the last gen, the Si looks the business while not embarrassing you at the valet stand. It’s a great mix of aggression and sophistication, perhaps I could get a few more clichés in there, but it’s time to move on to the interior.
So, the exterior has come a long way, but the interior is also a massive improvement. Early images of the new Civic out of Japan showed a really cool metallic panel with a litany of hexagons strewn across it and I recall thinking “that’s cool, but likely some concept stuff”. I’m here to say its real and looks fantastic in person. Instead of fake carbon fiber or some other shouty material, that long stretch of dash looks great with its geometric overlay. Sure, there are some red accents around it, as well as accompanying red stitching here and there around the interior, but it looks great in person.
Not everyone will love the red upholstery, and if you are in that camp, sorry. It’s the only option. I can’t say that the red really goes well with the bright orange exterior, it would have been nice to have a more complementary option. The sport seats are fantastic though, the fabric upholstery and upgraded bolsters hug you when things get a bit curvy.
From a technology perspective, the Civic Si delivers a more than adequate setup for the price. You’ll get a nine-inch touchscreen, wireless connectivity for your Apple CarPlay and/or Android Auto devices, and a decent sounding 12-speaker Bose sound system. It’s the little things though that made me fall in love with the interior; the configurable driver’s screen allows you to cycle through a series of visuals that take over the center of the tachometer. I used it to see what song was playing since the CarPlay screen was primarily showing my Waze route. Simple, yet effective.
In the back, you get 37.4 inches of legroom, identical to the last generation Civic Si. Most other dimensions like front headroom (37.6 in), front leg room (42.3 in.), front shoulder room (57.0 in.), rear head room (37.1 in.), and rear shoulder room (56.0 in.) are equal to, or best the old Civic Si. Only cargo space is down ever so slightly compared to the old car (14.4 cu. ft. vs. 14.7 cu. ft.).
Overall those looking to use the Civic Si as a daily driver will have very few issues from a space perspective. Now let’s see how it drives.
2022 Civic Si On The Road
If you didn’t care about how it drives, you wouldn’t be reading this review. You can just go buy a regular ole Civic that’ll be just fine. Actually wait, hold that thought, I’ll cover that at the end. You hoons want to know how the new Si drives. The short answer is excellent. The suspension is so sharp that it’s near impossible to upset it without conducting some sort of boneheaded maneuver. During normal driving, it’s quite comfortable but will still stick through any corner you point it at, helped by those sticky summer tires.
The shifter is great, dare I say perfect. OK, it’s likely not literally perfect, but it’s incredibly good. It allows you to easily get into (and stay in) the power band, but it’s a pussycat around town. The slick shifts paired with an easy to modulate clutch and a forgiving power curve (torque comes in low) mean you can coast down (almost) to a stop in 1st gear without issue.
Overall I felt like the Si was a bit too quiet, but having available power in just about every gear helps you forget about that part. You’ll get 200 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 192 ft-lbs. @ 1,800 rpm. That’s technically down 5 horsepower from last year, while torque numbers are identical (but available at a lower rpm). Regardless of numbers, at full song the turbocharged 1.5L sounds better than a normal four-cylinder, though it can sound a little rough at high rpm. I’d love to hear it with a nicely tuned exhaust.
The steering wheel has a great shape, not too big, not too small. It allows the driver to dial in just the right steering angle and I even like that you can put your hand through the bottom. That gives you an extra spot to rest your arm during longer trips, so many recent cars I’ve tested have a block of plastic wedged in there. Overall I noted how easy the Si can transform into a pleasant road trip vehicle.
So, anyone looking at a Civic Si as a daily driver, it’ll do the job.
So, for the average enthusiast looking for a super fun, reliable, reasonably efficient (27 city/ 37 highway/ 31 combined mpg) daily driver, that you can also take out for an autocross or track day, it’s in a class with only a handful of vehicles. It holds its own against cross-town rivals like the Volkswagen GTI (which starts around $30K), and the Hyundai Elantra N (which kicks off around $32K). I even found it as nearly as entertaining as the GR 86 for less money and with four doors.
The big question for non-enthusiast buyers is whether or not the premium of the Si would be worth it over the regular Civic? You can spec a Civic Sport sedan to look almost identical to the Si. Opt for a cool (and no-cost) blue paint color, the HPD Package, and basically the same wheels for a few grand cheaper. Here, look!
The rub is that you can’t get that 180 horsepower Sport sedan with a manual, only with the CVT tranny. To get a manual Civic you have to opt for the Civic Sport hatchback, which sounds great in theory, but power drops to 158 horsepower for the Sport trim. You can go for the more expensive EX-L (starts at $27,250 and is CVT only) or Sport Touring (starting at $30,050) to get said 180 horsepower engine but only the Sport Touring has a manual. Get all that?
In reality though, the majority of people who come in to a Honda dealer looking for a Civic aren’t going to opt for the Si anyway. They won’t care about the horsepower difference, or the option to have it with a manual. That’s better left for us hoons anyway, and the Civic Si is very hoonworthy. It’s one of the best driver’s cars for the price on the market. Perhaps the best. It’s a very good follow-up to that 1999 Si I was lusting over back in the day.
Of course those looking to spend a bit more for an upscale experience (like heated seats) might be considering the 2023 Acura Integra. The pics below were taken in front of my house just as I scheduled this article. So those considering the Integra vs. the Civic Si should stay tuned to the Hooniverse!