The Si returns to fill the void between the Civic Touring and the Civic Type R

The Honda Civic has always been a go-to for tuners everywhere, but more recently, the Civic hasn’t exactly been praised for its looks or design. All of that changed with the introduction of the 10th-generation model, and now we’ll be blessed not only with a new, track-ready Civic Type R, but a Civic Si in coupe and sedan form as well. Slated to launch in 2017 as a 2018 model, the Civic Si was unveiled to the world in a near-production-ready form at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, which means it gives us a very good idea of what to expect when the road-going model officially debuts. As a production model, the new Civic Si will spot a 1.5-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged four-banger that utilizes dual variable valve timing and mates to a six-speed manual transmission. Performance figures are unknown at this point, but Honda says the standard engine is both “high-performance and high-torque” Furthermore, it will come with active damper and steering systems, limited-slip differential, and 19-inch wheels wrapped in high-performance tires. A factory performance aero kit that has front and rear splitters will help tie together the package that is the Civic Si.

The best part about the new Civic Si is that it maintains its own unique design compared to the standard road-going Civics and the Type R hatchback that broke the internet when it debuted. When it came to an Si model, we all kind of expected to see a lot of Type R styling in a coupe or sedan body form, but Honda did things right and gave the Si its own identity. If you like good performance and awesome looks without having to go hatchback, the Civic Si Coupe or Sedan will definitely be for you.

With that said, let’s talk about the upcoming model and what we can predict about it based on the prototype that Honda brought to the Los Angeles Auto Show.


2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Exterior
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You can find a lot of the standard Civic’s DNA in the Civic Si, but there’s a lot of fresh DNA as well. For instance, the headlight units from the base model carry over, as does the hood and overall side body profile. The front grille is unique to the SI and, with the gloss black finish, gives a floating appearance to the Honda emblem up front. The front fascia is similar but is more extreme with larger corner air intakes that are accentuated by the wing-like curvature of the fascia’s lower edge. The air dam looks like it might be just a little bigger, and shares its honeycomb-link mesh with the corner air channels. At the very bottom, you’ll find a front splitter that should provide a little bit of additional downforce in the front while amplifying the overall sporty look of the Si.

The Civic Si should prove to be excessively sporty in nature on the outside and features just the right amount of unique design cues to separate it from the standard model without going as extreme as the Civic Type R hatchback.

The side profile has remained largely unchanged compared to the base civic, even featuring the same side skirts that have that excessive gap around the bottom of the door. The prototype features 19-inch, 10-spoke, HFP aluminum alloy wheels that are wrapped in 235/35-series high-performance rubbers. The look similar to the standard aluminum wheels on the upper trim levels of the Civic, but feature more of a twisted design that makes them look sharp even with that dark finish.

The backend of the base Civic already screams “exotic” with is bold design and sharp styling cues. The Civic Si builds on that a bit without going as overboard as the overall design we see in the rear of the Civic Type R. The spoiler on the new Si sits a little higher than that of the standard Civic, which somehow gives the car a much better look – sometimes it’s the little things, right? The rear fascia is identical to that of the standard model but features a new insert in the middle that mimics the honeycomb nature of the air inlets in the front fascia. Down below, however, is where things get wildly different. A rear splitter element, finished in gloss black, has been added to the bottom to go along with a large center exhaust outlet that, oddly enough, looks like a massive micro-USB port.

All told, the Civic Si should prove to be excessively sporty in nature on the outside and features just the right amount of unique design cues to separate it from the standard model without going as extreme as the Civic Type R hatchback.

The Competition

2015 Ford Focus ST
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2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Exterior
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Because the Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan body styles, it doesn’t really have too much direct competition as far as looks go. Typically, the Civic Si is compared against the likes of the Focus ST (top left) and Golf GTI (top right)– both of which are hatchbacks. While it’s really hard for a coupe or sedan to compete against the looks of a hot hatch like the Focus ST or Golf GTI, the 2018 Civic Si (bottom) should have no problem competing in the looks department. While all three offer extra aggressiveness over their standard counterparts, the Civic Si is by far the most aggressive of the three, despite not having a rear hatch.

The Focus ST features large corner air inlets, a wide air dam and a large grille – all of which are on par with the Si. But, the Si’s unique grille design gives it the upper hand as far as sporty looks go. The Golf GTI is pretty sporty up front as well but features a large air dam, almost non-existent grille, and tiny corner air inlets with horizontal louvers that likely add just a hint of front end downforce. The Civic Si is the only one of the three that has an actual front splitter. As far as wheels go, the Focus ST gets a set of 18-inch Rado Gray wheels while the Golf GTI gets a set of 18-inch, black and silver, five spoke wheels. Clearly, if you’re into bigger wheels, the Si will win its way into your heart in the regard.

2015 Ford Focus ST
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2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Exterior
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In the rear, the Civic Si finds a little bit of competition in the Focus ST. While a lot of design cues carry over from the standard Focus hatchback, the St gets a sportier rear fascia that features a wide, black insert that has several horizontal ridges. Down below, the ST features a center exhaust outlet in the shape of a hollowed-out, sideways “8.” Meanwhile, the VW Golf GTI carries on largely unchanged from the lower trim levels but features dual exhaust outlets (one pipe in each corner) and a mild diffuser-like insert in the middle. The Golf GTI and Focus ST both feature an overhand on the rear hatch that is comparable to the taller spoiler on the Civic Si’s rear deck. All told, the Civic Si really wins in the looks department compared to the Focus ST and Golf GTi and is clearly more aggressive. If you want something more toned down your best bet is the Golf GTi. The Focus ST falls right in the middle, and wouldn’t be a bad choice if you wanted a mildly aggressive hatchback. But, if you want lots of aggressiveness and can see past the fact that the Civic Si isn’t a hatchback, it’s definitely the one you want to wake up and see in the driveway every morning.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Ford Focus ST Honda Civic Coupe Honda Civic Sedan
Wheelbase (Inches) 103.6 104.3 106.3 106.3
Length (Inches) 168 171.7 182.3 182.3
Width (Inches) 70.8 71.8 70.8 70.8
Height (Inches) 56.8 57.9 55.7 55.7


2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Interior
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Little is known about the specifics of the Civic Si as far as interior information goes. The Prototype featured Si-exclusive front seats that got red stitching and stitched SI logos. For those of you who don’t know, the Civic Si has always carried the presence of red for its emblems and interior accents, so there’s a lot of that going on here. The doors, steering wheel, and leather shift boot all get the red stitching treatment as well. There is an aluminum shift knob, aluminum sport pedals and Dry Metal Carbon trim on the face of the dash. The instrument cluster features bright red backlights as do most of the controls and the infotainment display in the center stack. It should be noted that the center of the instrument cluster is digital. There are also red floor mats that really set off the interior accenting and gray perforated stripes that run along the bolsters in the front seats. We don’t know how much of this will carry over to the production model, but Honda claims that it “closely previews the production model” so I wouldn’t expect much to change.

The Civic Si has always carried the presence of red for its emblems and interior accents, so there’s a lot of that going on here. The doors, steering wheel, and leather shift boot all get the red stitching treatment as well.

The production model should feature the same interior dimensions as the base Civic models. Considering the Si should reside above the current range-topping Touring trim, it should also feature the 450-watt audio system with 10 speakers and a subwoofer and will get the seven-inch display that has custom red backlighting because Si. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Honda Link, and Pandora capability should all be standard, as will Sirius XM and HD Radio. The Touring trim level is the only one that gets Honda’s Satellite-link Navigation with voice recognition, so expect that to be standard on the production Si as well.

The Competition

2015 Ford Focus ST
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2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI
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2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Interior
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When looking at the competition, the Focus ST and VW Golf GTI feature the same general look. All three have the infotainment display built into the center stack, and all three feature some kind of digitalization to the instrument cluster. Out of the three, the Focus ST has the most supporting seats, but they are void of any real design cues that set them off aside from massive bolsters on each side. The Golf GTI and Civic Si have less supportive seats, but they have their own unique design, and the Si features special Si logo stitching. You’ll also notice that the shifter in the Golf GTI sits just a little farther back in the center console than that of the Focus and the Civic, making the Golf that much more comfortable to drive. The Focus ST gets the smallest infotainment display of all three, while the Civic Si is the only one that gets real color contrast, with the red backlighting and red floor mats really sticking out.

All three get similar interior appointments for technology, but when it comes to quality of the sound system, it’s really hit and miss. The Focus ST comes standard with an AM/FM CD player that is Mp3 capable and six speakers. If you want Ford’s Sync3 infotainment system with the eight-inch display and voice recognition, you’ll need to mark off an option box. A Sony-branded sound system with 10 speakers is optional as is HD radio and Sirius XM. Moving over to the Golf GTI, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, VW Car-Net App Connect, heated front seats and ambient door trim accent lighting is all standard equipment.

Volkswagen Golf GTI Ford Focus ST Honda Civic Coupe Honda Civic Sedan
Headroom (front/rear) 38.4/38.1 38.3/38 38.2/34.6 39.3/37.1
Legroom (front/rear) 41.2/35.6 43.1/33.2 42.3/35.9 42.3/37.4
Shoulder Room (front/rear) 55.9/53.9 55.6/52.6 56.9/52.6 57.0/55.0


Honda has yet to confirm official performance numbers for the new Civic Si, but we do know that it will be powered by a 1.5-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged, four-cylinder that is mated to a short-shifting, six-speed manual transmission. The engine is of the dual-overhead-cam type and utilizes dual variable cam timing. This is the same engine available in the EX trim levels as well as the Touring trim levels. In those models, it delivers 174 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. In EX-L and Touring Trim levels, the maximum horsepower comes in at 6,000 rpm, while maximum torque is available between 1,700 and 5,500 rpm. It’s likely that this is the same engine that will end up in the Si, but it’s highly likely that Honda will massage it to deliver quite a bit more power. It has also been said that the Si will come with a new active damper system, active steering system, limited-slip differential, and high-performance tires.

2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Drivetrain AutoShow
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It will be powered by a 1.5-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged, four-cylinder that is mated to a short-shifting, six-speed manual transmission.

Unfortunately, we have no idea of how much Honda will massage that 1.5-liter, but an output of 235 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque isn’t out of the question. When you consider that the Civic Type R delivers 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet, even 250 ponies isn’t out of the question But, we’ll learn more about that closer to the Si’s official launch so, for now, we’ll just have to hope and wish. Expect 60 mph to come in around 5.9 seconds (Type R does it in 5.7 seconds) and a top speed of around 150 mph or so.

The Competition

The Civic Si has some pretty stiff competition as far as performance goes. The Focus ST pumps out an impressive 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque from a 2.0-liter EcoBoost. It comes standard with a six-speed manual and can hit the 60-mph sprint in 5.9 seconds. The ST hits a top speed of 154 mph and it tips the scales at 3,224 pounds. Moving over to the Golf GTI will net you a 2.0-liter four-banger that can pump out 210 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Moving up to Sport, SE, or Autobahn versions of the Golf GTi will get you an extra 10 horsepower, raising total output to 220 ponies and 258 pound-feet. The Golf GTI tips the scales at 3,031 pounds. Meanwhile, the Civic Coupe weights between 2,739 and 2,900 pounds, depending on how it is equipped. The sedan weighs in at 2,742 to 2,923 pounds. Expect the Si models to carry the same curb weight ranges, which should make either sedan or coupe just a tad bit lighter than the Golf GTI or the Focus ST

Volkswagen Golf GTI Ford Focus ST Honda Civic SI
Engine 2.0L inline four cylinder, 16V, turbocharged 2.0L Ti-VCT EcoBoost® I-4 1.5-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged, four-cylinder
Horsepower 210 HP @ 4,500 RPM 252 HP @ 5,500 RPM 235 HP (est).
Torque 258 LB-FT @ 1,500 RPM 270 Lb-FT @ 2,500 RPM 200 LB-FT
Curb weight 3,031 Lbs 3,223 Lbs TBA
EPA city/highway/combined 24/34/28 22/30/25 TBA
0 to 60 mph 5.8 seconds 6.3 seconds TBA
Top Speed 124 MPH 150 mph TBA


With the production Civic Si hitting the market sometime next year as a 2018 model, it should come as no surprise that there is no pricing data currently available. Considering the fact that the Touring trim commands $26,225 in coupe form or $26,600 in sedan form, and the Civic Type R is expected to suck in as much as $32,000, the Civic Si is likely to approach 29,000 in both trims, with the sedan variant commanding a few hundred more.

The Competition

When it comes to comparative pricing, things are kind of all over the place. The Focus ST is offered in just one form and starts out at $24,775. Start adding on various options and niceties and it can easily climb to as much as $30,000. Then you have the GolF GTI that is available in four different trims. The entry-level GTI goes by the nomenclature “S,” has just 210 horsepower and commands $25,595. Move up to the Sort trim, and you’ll get those 10 extra ponies but will be asked to pay at least $27,995. The SE trim, which includes a power panoramic roof and other high-end features commands $30,890, while the range-topping Autobahn trim gets things like dynamic chassis control and bi-xenon HID headlamps at a cost of $34,095.

Obviously, the Golf GTI comes in at a higher price that the ST and the Civic Si, but it’s also a VW, and it has a long history of offering pleasurable, spirited driving. The ST is the cheaper of the bunch and may fit better with your budget, but it’s nowhere near as sporty and nice as that others. It does, however, offer a good 30 ponies more than the Golf in its top trim, so if it’s all about horsepower for you, the ST maybe be the way to go depending on how much power the production Si pumps out.

Volkswagen Golf GTI $25,595
Ford Focus ST $23,900
Honda Civic SI $29,000 (est)


Ford Focus ST

2015 Ford Focus ST
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The Focus ST was introduced to Europe back in 2005 when Ford decided to dip its toes into the hot-hatch pool. It didn’t make it to the U.S. until 2013. By the time 2015 came around, the ST was up for a revision, and the result was the model you see here. Featuring a stylish exterior with all the right dimensions, the ST doesn’t disappoint in the looks department, and it has a fair 252 ponies waiting to be unleashed from the 2.0-liter EcoBoost stashed under the good. The Civic Si may be limited to Coupe and Sedan forms, but with the potential for 250 horsepower and a 5.9-second sprint to 60 mph, these two are still able to compete as far as overall performance goes. The question is whether you want a coupe, sedan, or a hatchback. Pricing for the Focus ST starts out close to $25,000 but can climb to more than $30,000 if you go wild with options. It should also be noted that the ST is highly tunable, with plenty of aftermarket tuning options available.

Read more about the Ford Ford Focus ST here.

Volkswagen Golf GTI

2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI High Resolution Exterior
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Like the Civic, the Golf has a long history and has been available in various body styles that include five- and three-door hatchbacks, two-door convertibles, and there was even a Golf wagon. The GTI has always been the go-to for German tuners who have an undying love for hatchbacks, and it has just the right amount of performance to make it a prime competitor for the Civic Si. Of course, the Golf GTI is a hatchback, so there is a difference in body style, but with up to 220 horsepower on tap, and a 5.7-second sprint to 60 mph, it’s right in line with the performance we’re expecting out of the Civic Si. Pricing starts out around $25,595 for the entry-level GTI and climbs to as much as $34,095 for the Autobahn trim level.

Find out more about the Volkswagen Golf GTI here.

Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86

2014 - 2015 Subaru BRZ High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Toyota 86
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I’m throwing in a bonus card here and bringing up the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins. Developed in a joint collaboration between Subaru and Toyota, the BRZ and 86 twins have one thing that none of the cars we’ve discussed here have – rear-wheel drive. As a small sports coupe, the BRZ/86 offers up 200 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque, but when equipped with a manual transmission, the car offers up 205 horsepower. As far as performance goes, it really doesn’t stack up that well with the other models discussed here. With that 200 ponies from its 2.0-liter, the BRZ can hit the 60 mph sprint in 6.7 seconds and tops out at 143 mph. The Civic Si, as well as the Focus St and the Golf GTI, walk all over the BRZ and 86 on the track, but they do offer some rather aggressive styling and could be highly tunable with the right motivation. Pricing starts out at $25,495 for the 2.0 Premium trim and climbs to as much as $29,565 for the 2.0 Limited with an automatic transmission. There’s also a 2.0 Series.Yellow that commands as much as $30,515. If you’re interested in performance, you’ll want to go with anything but the BRZ or 86, but as far as looks go, the BRZ and 86 are winners in my book.

Read our full review on the Subaru BRZ here and the Toyota 86 here.


Unfortunately, we still have another year to wait before the production Si model rolls into dealerships, but we’re already marking the days on the calendar. The Civic Si stands for uncompromised performance and aggressive character while not being as overboard as the track-ready Civic Type R. It is muscular in all the right ways and carries a fair price compared to the competition. If you’re into small coupes and tuning, there is no substitute for the Civic Si Coupe. If you want the same handling and power, but occasionally have a little one in tow, the Civic Si Sedan will definitely float the bill. It’s not quite as stylish as the coupe – the downfall of having four doors – but it’s certainly not without its merits. Either way, the Civic Si is definitely a car worth waiting for, and with the reliability and tunability Hondas have been known for is a definite must have.

  • Leave it
    • Most competition comes in hatchback form
    • The 2.0-liter from the Type R, but tuned down, would be better than the 1.5-liter
Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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Press Release

The Honda Civic Si Prototype made its global debut today, giving Honda enthusiasts a good look at the design and performance direction for the 2017 Civic Si Coupe and Si Sedan, both launching next year. The Civic Si Prototype will be on display at the 2016 Los Angeles International Auto Show where it will be joined by its Civic Sedan, Coupe and Hatchback siblings, plus the radical Civic Type-R Prototype, providing the first public opportunity to see all five Civic variants. This will also be the first time the Type-R interior will be shown.

The shimmering Rallye Red Pearl Civic Si Prototype features a full Factory Performance (HFP) aero kit, including front and rear splitters and rear spoiler, plus a center-mounted polygonal exhaust finisher and 19-inch 235/35Y high-performance tires mounted on HFP 19 x 8J 10-spoke forged aluminum alloy wheels.

2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Exterior
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The 2017 Civic Si Coupe and Si Sedan will be powered by a high-performance, high-torque 1.5-liter, directed-injected and turbocharged DOHC in-line 4-cylinder engine with dual variable cam timing (dual VTC) mated to a short-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. Additional performance upgrades for the Si variants will include a new active damper system, active steering system, limited-slip differential and available high-performance tires.

"With the new Honda Civic Si, we’re injecting even more sporty goodness into our 10th-generation Civic lineup," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Honda. "This will be, hands down, the fastest, best-handling Si we’ve ever offered to our customers."

2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Exterior
- image 695748

The Civic Si Prototype interior closely previews the production model and features Si-exclusive front sport seats with red stitching, including stitched Si logos. The red sport stitching carries through to the doors, steering wheel and leather shift boot with aluminum shift knob. The Si Prototype interior also features a red driver’s TFT meter and audio system illumination, aluminum sport pedals and Dry Metal Carbon instrument panel trim.

The Civic Si Coupe and Si Sedan will launch next year as the latest additions to the 10th-generation Honda Civic lineup, joining the Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe and just-launched Civic Hatchback. The rollout of the 10th-gen Civic lineup will be completed with the launch of the new track-ready Civic Type-R next year.

2017 Honda Civic SI High Resolution Interior
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The 2016 Civic Sedan was named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in January. Civic is the best-selling car with individual American car buyers in 2016 and is on track to post the highest U.S. sales in its 44-year history, with sales up 11.7 percent to 310,142 units through the end of October. The previous U.S. sales record for Civic of 339,289 units was set in 2008.

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