Review: 2022 Honda Civic Si

Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: July 21, 2022


The Honda Civic Si has straddled that fine line between performance and value for years, offering a sporty car that appeases driving enthusiasts without breaking the bank. That formula continues to be upheld with the eleventh-generation Civic. For $33,750, the new 2022 Civic Si is equipped with a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, 200 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque, front-wheel drive, a standard six-speed manual gearbox, a limited-slip differential, 18-inch wheels, and the same interior as the standard Civic, so your spouse or passengers wouldn’t even know the difference.



No, it doesn’t harbour the kind of output to challenge a BMW M3 but when it comes to driver involvement and satisfaction, the Si is a vehicle that consistently delivers. That, and the Civic Si costs less than the comparative Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai Veloster N, the latter two both straddling over the $40,000 mark. But it doesn’t feel any less inferior, even with its budget-minded approach.



The shifter alone is worth the entrance fee. It’s the first item you touch when you enter this manual-only car: fiddle around with the shifter and make sure it’s in neutral, before you clutch in and hit the start button. It has been ages since I’ve experienced such a perfect, precise, and positively engaging shifter. It’s not notchy like a Mazda MX-5, nor is the travel very long like in the similarly priced Toyota GR86. The throws are short, there is a decisive top-heavy weight to the way it shoves itself into the gate, with little wiggle or vagueness. It’s either in gear or it’s not, there’s no in-between, and there is zero play. We think it’s better than the manual in the current batch of Porsche 992s.


Plus, there is automatic rev-matching, perfect for newcomers to the sport, and there are even race-car-like shift lights that illuminate inwards when approaching the redline. How cool is that? When I was a kid I used to sit in my dad’s car and wrestle around the shifter pretending I was driving. Now with this Si shifter, I still do the same just to get that same satisfying feeling, even when parked. Can’t or won’t drive stick? Acura sells an Si with an automatic, called the Integra.



The petite 1.5-litre turbo-four is not our favourite mode of propulsion. It’s not as linear as the non-turbo engine in the Toyota GR86, nor is it as free-revving. Handicapped by lag, there is a general lack of torque everywhere except for the meaty 4,000 - 5,000 rpm range. Because elsewhere, the throttle map is flat, uninspiring, and is matched with tall gearing that forces you to constantly shift to keep the needle hanging in that sweet spot.


But once all hands are on deck, the Si delivers a solid amount of thrust, feeling exactly like the 192 lb-ft of torque it claims - no less, no more. It runs out of breath rather quickly, tapping out before its limiter, which does have us yearning for the higher-strung VTEC engines of Honda’s past, but it’s enough in this application and gives enough breathing room for the Type R without causing any performance overlap.



No matter how much power or technology you add, there are always limits to a front-wheel-drive platform, and the Si shows it every time you take a corner with too much speed or floor the gas before the front wheels have settled. Release the clutch in first with too much throttle, and the wheels will light up while laying elevens on the tarmac below. It’s entertaining, but also frustrating when you want a good launch.


The steering is nicely weighted and somewhat elasticized with heavy rotational resistance like old Hondas, but you can feel just how much grip is available under your fingertips, and while we were disappointed that Honda axed adaptive damping for the Si, the ride is surprisingly well-damped - supple yet taut and agile when picking up speed.



Be that as it may, if you’re transitioning from a RWD car into this Si, you will need to readjust how you drive. The Si might feel sluggish and unwilling to turn at first, piling on the understeer if you’re driving it like a BRZ. Being mindful of the car’s weight balance is key, and loading up the front tires with proper trail-braking will make the most of its mechanical grip. Without it, understeering is inevitable, albeit much safer for beginners. With that mindset and technique, you can easily extract the most out of the Si, but if you’re the type of driver that prefers trimming your line with the gas pedal instead of the brakes, then the RWD Toyota GR86 or Subaru BRZ will offer a ten-fold increase in the fun factor (and risk) when the going gets sideways. To each their own.



One of the biggest improvements of the Si is the exhaust noise. It sounds much gnarlier than before. We’re not sure if most of it is just piped-in cabin noise, but there’s finally grit and depth to the voice. Its timbre carries a deeper tone than the GR86, more baritone than the MX-5, but it’s not as highly strung in volume. We know it’s difficult to make a turbo-four sound good, but unlike the outgoing Si, this one actually breathes and sings like it’s a performance car, and not just a muted, base model Civic.


We love the understated looks too. The new Si is a great-looking piece of kit - more reserved than the last Si, and boxier and mature in design. We personally think it’s a success with the Si-specific front bumper, dual exhaust outlets, and integrated black spoiler, and this Blazing Orange paint brings out its broad shoulders and chiseled lines.



Inside is a similar affair to the regular Civic. That’s a good thing. Material quality is sublime for the price point, fit and finish are excellent, and we enjoy the honeycomb finish that runs along the dash, conveniently hiding the fan vents. The buttons offer a premium-feeling click, the switchgear is similarly upscale though wrapped in convincing plastics, and the Si-specific sport seats are supportive and comfortable, though a bit plushier than we would have liked. Six-foot adults will have no issue slotting into the rear seats either. It’s not as cramped as the Mazda3 with its somewhat high dashboard and shoulder lines, and the Civic’s outward visibility is impressive with the thin A-pillars and a recessed and lower windshield.


The Civic Si continues its proven formula of combining accessible performance and unbeatable value. The shifter alone brings back fond memories of the S2000, the turbo-four has finally found a captivating exhaust voice, and it loses none of the practicality and ergonomics bred from the standard Civic. It may not make the hairs on your back stand with its FWD platform and relatively meager power outputs, but the engagement and involvement it provides are bar none at this price.


Photo Gallery:









Model: 2022 Honda Civic Si Sedan

Paint Type: Blazing Orange Pearl
Base Price: $33,750

Price as Tested: $33,750
Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder
Horsepower: 200 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 192 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, FWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 9.2

Tires: Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 2; 235/40R18





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