MotoringFile Review: Honda Civic Si
I’ve thought long and hard about how to present this review. Long drawn-out prose? Two paragraphs and performance data? None of it really seemed appropriate.Ã‚Â Heck, I only had the car for 20 minutes.Ã‚Â Granted, those twenty minutes included a couple of fantastic roads that definitely put me on the limit of the chassis, the engine, and the drive train. But 20 minutes does not allow for what I would call a proper review. With this in mind, I decided to do the entire review using bullet points.
Tossable: The Civic Si is a toss-able package that feels nimble and eager, which is a huge improvement over the previous US spec Si.Ã‚Â A good deal of this is made possible by the 2877lbs curb weight that is surprisingly close to the weight of the MCS.
Good brakes yet little feedback: Yes brakes that stop you quick area great.Ã‚Â But without good feedback and feel there is little satisfaction gained.Ã‚Â Worse, without proper feedback you don’t have the confidence needed in demanding driving.
Quick: 197 @ 7800 (8000 rpm redline).Ã‚Â Numbers that make other 4 cylinders drool.Ã‚Â However, unlike other screaming Honda 4-bangers, this one has a great soundtrack.Ã‚Â The only real downside to the engine is its lack of low-end grunt.Ã‚Â But then again many would consider that magical 8000 number a nice trade-off.
Rev-happy: Oh and 8000 comes up quick.Ã‚Â Because of this, the Si is a car that just screams for the manual option.
Numb Steering: Yet with all that this car has going for it, it’s let down by relatively numb steering.Ã‚Â For most people that drive it, ‘numb’Ã‚Â probably wouldn’t be the first word that comes to mind.Ã‚Â However, for a MINI owner, there’s no question that there is some real feedback missing from the Si.Ã‚Â That coupled with some substandard all-season tires (215/45/17) made for some epic understeer on my test route.Ã‚Â Now don’t get me wrong, my MCS (shod with equally poor all-seasons for the winter) also had gobs of understeer.Ã‚Â With the MCS you knew exactly where the car was, what it was doing, and were it would most likely end up.Ã‚Â With the Civic, you just had a little less of an idea.
Seats are terrible:Ã‚Â Somehow my 6′ 2″ frame did not work with the Civic’s sport seats.Ã‚Â Now I’m not here to say that the US Spec sport seats in the MINI are the be all and end-all,Ã‚Â but there’s a subtle difference between satisfactory seating and terrible back pain. Of course your results may vary.
Is that a dash board or an aircraft carrier: The civic dash-board is the AMC Pacer of automotive interior design. It’s one of those ideas that probably seemed great on paper and from one engineer explaining it to another. But as a functional piece of information design it’s just…. weird. It’s part Star Wars, part late 80′s Buick Park Avenue.
Interior looks cheap and feels cheap:Ã‚Â Let me start by saying that a good portion of the interior is simple and well designed.Ã‚Â The climate controls just makes sense as soon as you look at them.Ã‚Â The center console is a no-brainer.Ã‚Â But the quality of the components betrays the design.Ã‚Â To put it another way, you never forget that you’re in a Civic.
Good looks:All this aside the exterior design is an absolute triumph. This is the best looking Civic coupe since the early 90′s in my book, and maybe the best ever. The proportions work with the purpose and character very well. And Honda designers really got the details right as well. I still can’t figure out which angle is the best. And to think, this is a Civic I’m talking about… who would have thought?
So there you have it.Ã‚Â The new Civic Si is a huge step up from the previous generation, and, in some respects, it can almost hold its own against the MINI.Ã‚Â In fact, for most of the American public looking for a small coupe, it probably represents a great answer to most of the concessions people tend to make.Ã‚Â It’ll probably run forever with little drama, the trunk can hold two bodies, it can be had for a relatively low price, and it can be serviced at loads more dealers than the MINI.Ã‚Â
But all that aside, for most enthusiasts who currently look to the MINI as the ultimate small car excitement, the Civic Si is a worthy competitor “just probably more so for the VW GTI.
You can compare the MINI and the Civic for yourself at Honda’s own website. Perhaps unsurprisingly to most of us, the five year old MINI does quite well for itself.
Big thanks to Dave for helping with this review.
Written By: Gabe
Sort by MINI model
- Faces of MINI Takes The States
- YoungDrive! Program Lets UK Kids Learn to Drive MINIs
- Q&A with MINI USA Product Manager Chris Potgieter
- Video: Watch Tony Hawk Kick Off MTTS 2014
- Worldwide MINI Sales See Best July Ever in 2014
- MINIs of Munich: Touring the City and MINI Showroom
- MTTS 2014: The Final Day (w/Gallery)
- MF Exclusive: Early Look at the F56 JCW Engine Kit & Exhaust (w/Video)
- MotorTrend’s Top 16 Hottest New Coupes: MINI Cooper S Coupe
- Official: Mid-Season Recap for International MINI Racing
MotoringFile on Instagram
- BMWNA Delivers First i8s To a Wide Range of Well Known Buyers
- Chris Harris Drives the BMW M3
- BMW NA Announces Changes to 2015 Models & Maintenance
- Quick Take: Head to Head with the BMW M4 vs 1M
- BMW M4 Safety Car, M235i Racing and DTM M4 Sound-Off
- Burton Racing BMW 128i Takes Street Tuner Victory at Road America
- Jeremy Clarkson Reviews the BMW i8
- Worldwide BMW Motorrad Sales up +8.5%. Best July Sales Ever.
- BMW USA Launches the i8 and X6 Online Configurators
- Test Notes from a Weekend with the BMW M4
- First Ride: Vespa 946
- Video: The Vespa 946 Bellissima
- World Debut: The Vespa 946 Bellissima
- Corazzo Introduces Matching Leather Mens Jacket and Gloves
- Motorcycle USA Reviews the Suzuki Burgman 200
- Spoofing the Jean Claude Van Damme Truck Splits on Scooters
- Breaking: Genuine Recalling Stella 125 Automatics for Faulty ECUs
- Hands-on with the 2015 Vespa Sprint
- Scooter Cannonball Run: Day 10 & Wrap Up
- Scooter Cannonball Run: Days 8 & 9
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range