2022 Honda Civic SI is a proof that a car can be fun without having thousand horsepower.
In a place where fun cars get more expensive and harder to afford, we are lucky to have the Civic SI for the last two decades. But if you think that it’s for someone that can’t afford the Type-R, you are seriously wrong.
The “SI” trim, also called “Sports Injected” has always been the top Civic trim where Honda added more power, stiffer chassis and traditionally a stick shift for extra fun factor. You still get the same treatment here, but in a much refined way compared to previous generation SI.
First of all, Honda decided to offer the SI only in sedan body type so there is no hatchback option available, as Type-R is exclusively hatchback. Unfortunately, there is no longer Coupe SI version, as sales numbers aren’t as good.
Exterior and Interior
Like the older SI models, 2022 Honda Civic SI does not pretend to be a sports car, but it has always been an enthusiast’s car that offers a lot of fun for the price, and Honda wanted to keep it the same way with modern touches.
The exterior design looks much like regular Civic models, with few differences only car guys or enthusiasts would see the difference. The biggest difference is the 18″ matte black rims that’s unique for the SI, but the rest of the car look very much like the Sport trim except the SI badge and front grille.
The front end of the Civic shows the intention of Honda, as it looks much more mature and upscale compared to the previous generation. It looks much like the new Honda models, especially the Accord. That also means, Honda doesn’t want Civic to be considered as an economy car.
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the rear design when I first saw the pictures before it’s released, but in person it looks much better. I still think that taillight design and proportion is too big for the rear end, it should have been smaller design. Compared to a regular Civic, SI trim comes with real dual sided exhaust tips.
The dashboard and center stack is very much like regular Civics with minor differences, such as the red accents and red stitching on the steering wheel and shifter knob. The infotainment system is placed in the middle and on top, making it easier to use while driving.
The most significant change compared to the regular Civic is the bucket seats with integrated headrest and SI badges placed in the middle. The sporty seat design actually shows the purpose of this vehicle, as it is targeted for the enthusiasts. Seats can be adjusted manually and as expected, they have limited adjustment options.
Like the other trims, 2022 Honda Civic SI comes with class leading rear legroom space, which almost feels like you are in an Accord. This is what makes the SI and other hothatches very attractive to the enthusiasts, you can have fun while still can use it as a daily driver and family hauler.
11th gen Civic SI comes with 409 L (14 cu-ft) of cargo space, which is exactly the same with the Jetta GLI. Jetta has deeper trunk space, but Civic offers wider opening which is better if you carry wide items. You can fold down the rear seats for extra cargo space.
Engine and Drivetrain
Like the previous generation, 2022 Honda Civic SI comes with the 1.5L turbocharged engine that produces 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. This engine is also used in other Honda models, but there are few changes that makes it more suitable for a car designed for enthusiasts.
The biggest change is bigger turbocharger. I just wish it was revving a little bit more, as it redlines around 6500 rpm. Compared to previous gen SI, it offers more torque at low rpm and more power at high rpm, and peak torque arrives 300 rpm earlier and stays flatter.
As expected, it is front wheel drive, and it comes with 6-Speed manual transmission that’s matched with helical limited slip differential. Since the 8th generation SI, Honda offers all SI models with those important features I think it’s a must for any sporty front wheel drive car. This generation inherited the rev-matching feature from the previous gen Type-R.
Driving Impressions and Features
As soon as you start driving the new SI, you feel how good the manual transmission feels. There is a difference between a manual transmission and a good manual transmission, Honda is always known for building one of the best stick shift feelings, and this one feels very solid.
This is also applicable for the helical front slip differential and suspension feeling. It is definitely firm, and if you ride over broken pavement or bumps, you may think it’s borderline acceptable for a family ride. But that’s what enthusiasts want, and perfectly fine for an SI.
Having stiff suspension tuning also means the body roll is much controllable. It’s still there, but it’s so much performance oriented than the Jetta GLI. The helical limited slip differential works flawlessly and pulls the car into the corner, but it just can’t beat the physics if you enter the corner too fast.
For some people, 200 horsepower is a little bit of disappointment considering the fact that Civic SI has the same power output for the last 20 years, but it’s more than just horsepower figures. 1.5 turbo engine offers a lot of torque in the midrange, and with the help of short gear ratios, it is quite peppy.
Of course, if you are coming from high revving K20 engine from the 8th gen Civic, it would feel completely different as 1.5 turbo engine has totally different character. But Honda has kept the fundamental features that makes the SI the enthusiast’s choice.
One of the best features of having an SI is, there is little to no compromise when it comes to driving the SI as a daily driver, so it can be a great commuter if you drive every day to work. You can just drive it like a normal Civic with a stick shift.
Like the rest of the drivetrain, Honda also revised the brakes on this new SI. Now, the front rotors are 1.2 inches larger in the front, and 0.9 inch larger in the rear. The initial bite feels great and gives you a lot of confidence. However, it still utilizes a single piston and full-floating caliper, which is not optimal for track use.
Unlike the States, Canadian-spec SI comes with more features, such as the heated front seats, steering wheel and few other features. Despite having the enthusiast’s choice, you still get all safety and comfort features you find in other Civic models including the Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering feature.
There are some features inherited from the Accord, being the digital gauge cluster. It’s not as customizable as the Jetta GLI, but still great to see it in compact segment. It also comes with the latest Honda infotainment system which works great, except you just have to be patient when you start up the engine.
Pricing and the Verdict
After driving the Civic SI for a week, I’m glad to see it’s not pretending to be a sports car, but rather it wants to be the every day affordable sporty sedan that’s engaging to drive more than pure speed and horsepower figures. That’s something we don’t see often.
There is only one price for the 2022 Honda Civic SI, and that’s $33,750 CAD. It definitely offers great bang for the buck, if you want to “save the manuals” and have decent amount of power, good driving dynamics and daily drivability.
For more details – please visit www.honda.ca