2018 Honda Civic Si Coupe
The Civic Si is ready to help you get groceries in a hurryby Robert Moore, on LISTEN 22:02
The Honda Civic has been around for the last 45 years, and boy has it been a rollercoaster ride. Some of the more recent generations are considered flops, while others are regarded as much more. For 2016, Honda introduced the tenth-generation Civic, a model designed around Honda’s new compact global platform, featuring a fastback design and some serious improvement to the interior over previous models. Best of all, the Civic Type R hatchback is finally coming to the U.S., but so is a new Si. The new Si comes with a turbocharged engine for the first time ever, displacing 1.5-liter and delivering 205 horsepower. It’s a few ponies short of what everyone hoped for, but not all is lost. It also gets its own styling cues to set it apart, not only from the standard Civic but, from the Type R as well, making it a well-rounded model even if it doesn’t balance well between the standard Civic and Range-topping Type R.
Long story short, the new Si is the torquiest Si ever made. It weighs a bit less and includes more upscale features like active shock absorbers. There’s even a limited-slip differential turning the front wheels. Unfortunately, Honda isn’t offering it with all-wheel drive, but it does get a short-throw, six-speed manual transmission to help even things out a bit. Some exclusive features inside will keep it fresh in your mind that you sprung for something better than the Civic EX-L or the Civic Touring. But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves – the Civic Si is finally here in production form, so let’s take a closer look at it.
2018 Honda Civic Si Coupe
Let’s not beat around the bush; the new Civic Si Coupe features about 96.3-percent (or so) of the DNA found in the lesser Civic coupes. So, we’re not going to talk about everything that you’ve already seen and probably forgotten about. First, let’s talk about the use of gloss black. See, where the standard Civic has chrome and grayish black trim, the Si gets glossy black goodness. This includes the inserts around the fake corner vents, the mesh for the air dam, the upper and lower fins of the radiator grille, and the eyelids above the headlights. Around back, you’ll find more gloss black outlining the inner edges of the taillights, on the arms for the rear spoiler. And on the rear fascia’s insert. It’s an attractive compliment when the Civic Si is finished in the red color that you see here. But, the Si isn’t without at least a pinch of chrome, as you’ll find that on the exhaust tip and along the top edge of the door glass and rear quarter glass.
The new Civic Si Coupe features about 96.3-percent (or so) of the DNA found in the lesser Civic coupes.
In the design department, the lower air dam up front gets a honeycomb mesh that matches the outlines of the plastic that blocks what would be some massive corner intakes. Those fake corner intakes do support a pair of circular fog lights, and if you look close, the right imposter actually has a small hole (nine honeycombs in size, to be exact) that serves as a cool air intake for the engine. The lower air dam is mostly open, but the upper edge is blocked off and purely aesthetic. Some additional cooling for the engine bay could have been implemented easily while providing a more menacing look up front, but Honda decided to go with the same hood found on the lesser models.
Looking at the side profile, you might think those wheels look familiar, and you’d be right. But, things aren’t always as they seem at first glance, and where the entry-level Civic gets 16-inch units, and the Civic Touring gets 17-inch units, the Si stands out with 18-inch wheels that are wrapped in 235/40-series tires. These are standard all-season tires, but you can opt for high-performance tires if you’re willing to pony up a little extra cheddar. The two-tone finish on the wheels is exclusive to the Si, so you won’t find that on any other Civic model. You’ll also find 12.3-inch brake rotors hidden behind these beauties to help tame that extra 31 horsepower.
The Si has just enough of its own look to stand out against the standard models while not stepping on the toes of the Type R.
Around back, there’s not really a whole lot that separates the Si from the standard coupe, but you’ll find a few subtleties. To start off, the Si gets a slightly taller spoiler to add to its aggressive nature, while the taillights have a slight tint to them in comparison to the standard model. The light bar that runs the full width of the rear deck also gets a tinted outline. It’s a nice touch, really. Down below, you’ll notice that the rear fascia has the same funky insert that mocks the fake inlets and air dam up front, but the bottom half has been altered to make the Si stand out a bit from the rear. Where the standard Civic just gets a bland, skid-plate looking lower lip, the Civic Si gets this layered rectangular opening with an exhaust outlet that looks like a massive mini-USB port. (Warning: hot exhaust is expelled from here, so please refrain from trying to plug anything in here, it’s not a charging port.)
All told, the Si has just enough of its own look to stand out against the standard models while not stepping on the toes of the Type R, which is an even bigger deal since it’s finally coming to U.S. shores. But, it’s not all about exterior appearances, so let’s take a look at the inside of the new Si.
A Competitive Look
There aren’t too many authentic performance coupes that really sit in the compact segment, but there are a few. The Civic Si Coupe sits in this weird little niche, and as such, it competes with models like the Toyota 86 (above.) The Toyota 86 is fairly new, being introduced back in 2012. Here in the U.S., it was originally known as the Scion FR-S, but the Scion brand is now all but forgotten, and the FR-S lived on as the 86 here in the States. It’s a pretty little coupe and isn’t quite as gaudy as the new Civic Si.
The 86 gets a massive and low-sitting radiator grille that is flanked by a pair of plastic inserts where corner vents could very well have been placed. But, that’s kind of what makes the 86 cool, as it doesn’t need those big fake vents to look cool (just ignore the fact that half of the radiator grille is blocked off from behind.) It features a long and fairly smooth hood to go with a curvy nose with a few mild body lines here and there. The front fenders sit tall and prominent above the front wheels and feature a sporty little vent just behind the flare. The side skirts and rear quarters bubble out a bit to create a look of width while a very mild body line follows the contour of the rear wheel arch to the rear. Around back, the conservative look continues with no rear spoiler and a relatively uneventful rear fascia. The rear diffuser is a nice touch and serves as home for the dual exhaust outlets. The taillights take a euro approach with clear lenses. All told, it’s not a bad option.
On the other hand, you could also opt for something like the Kia Forte Koup. It’s not anywhere near as sporty as models like the Civic Si and the Toyota 86, but since neither Toyota or Honda know how to up things in the power department for these models, the Forte Koup fits right in. It does have this weird, tall stance to it that makes it look a little awkward, and the slanted beltline doesn’t help much either.
Up front, you’ll find a tiny grille that I like to think of as nostrils, which also link to two LED running lights together. The headlights themselves are big and outdated, as is the lower grille that’s pretty much a tall rectangle flanked by a pair of circular foglights. The side profile is uneventful as well, with a very light body line between the belt line and the door handle. The side skirts protrude a bit from the rest of the body but are far from sporty. The standard wheels do have a five-leaf look to them, which is nice. Around back, the rear decklid has a stamped lip while the rear taillights have a red tint to them. Down below there is a diffuser-like element with integrated exhaust outlets.
All told, the Civic Si, Toyota 86, and Forte Koup serve as three progressive levels of aesthetics. If you’re all about flying below the radar, you’ll want to snap up a Forte Koup. The Toyota 86 falls right in the middle as far as aggression goes while the Civic Si sits at the top with its prominent front end, big fake intakes and bold body lines. Which poison do you prefer?
|Toyota 86||Kia Forte Koup||Honda Civic Si Coupe|
|Overall Length (Inches)||166.7||178.3||176.9|
|Overall Width (Inches)||69.9||70.1||70.8|
|Overall Height (Inches)||50.6||55.5||54.9|
|Tread Width (Front/Rear) (Inches)||59.8/60.6||61.2/61.7||60.9/61.5|
|Ground Clearance (Inches)||4.9||5.5||TBA|
You’ll notice the interior is predominantly black while the steering wheel, seats, door trim panels, and the shifter boot all get red contrast stitching to offer up the perfect amount of contrast in a small cabin.
The interior of the of the new Civic coupe was quite a revolution and very motivation to potential buyers when it was finally revealed in late 2015. The two-tiered dash and multiple screens are gone and in place comes more elegant lines and an overall clean and modern look. The instrument cluster sits in front of the steering wheel as it was meant to and the infotainment display is elegantly positioned in the center stack. When it comes to the Si, however, there are a few interior appointments that really make the car stand out. First, you’ll notice the interior is predominantly black while the steering wheel, seats, door trim panels, and the shifter boot all get red contrast stitching to offer up the perfect amount of contrast in a small cabin. Honda avoided going with a flat-bottom steering wheel for the Si, but the instrument cluster and infotainment display have red backlighting that signifies this is a true Si model.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that the door pull handles, steering wheel spokes, audio controls, and the trim around the gear shifter all get that silver or aluminum look, just like the standard model. The trim on the dash, however, gets a carbon fiber look, which isn’t much but goes nicely with the accenting of the seats and those aluminum pedals down below.
The infotainment display is a seven-inch unit, just like that of the standard model, but it does come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity.
The infotainment display is a seven-inch unit, just like that of the standard model, but it does come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity. It also provides for app-based navigation, audio streaming, voice-controlled search, and access to a number of phone apps. Sound from the audio system is routed through a 450-Watt, 10-speaker system – not a bad way to hear your tunes while tearing up those back roads, huh? In the safety department, the Si comes standard with ABS, EBD, vehicle stability assist, and traction control. Honda claims that the Civic is aiming for a five-star NCAP score, so we’ll be watching for that verdict in the near future.
Additional standard features include an electronic parking brake – sorry guys, no real e-braking here – dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, and rain-sensing wipers. Finally, it also features walk away door locking, so you’ll never have to worry about someone sticking their nose, or any other appendage in your bubble when you’re not with your new whip.
The Toyota 86 (above) has a fairly sporty interior, especially for a Toyota model that could have wound up on the chopping block when Scion bit the bullet. Inside, you get a wavy dash that is linked directly to the center console. Circular HVAC vents in the corners with a pair of stylish vents above the center stack. When properly equipped, you can get the insert on the face of the dash wrapped in Alcantara. Infotainment is handled by a seven-inch system with navigation, Aha radio, and iPod connectivity. Sound is sent to six speakers placed strategically throughout the cabin.
As far as seating goes, you’ll get a pair of very support sports seats that can be had in various upholstery options. The seats are held together by silver-like stitching which also provides a perforated look for the center inserts of the seats. Unfortunately, this baby doesn’t have a digital instrument cluster, but that doesn’t mean it’s not attractive. The center RPM gauge features a gray face while the other gauges get a black face. The needles light up bright red as does the odometer screen and the digital speedometer that’s integrated into the cluster. A pair of aluminum pedals are among the finishing touches.
Note: Forte sedan interior shown here.
When it comes to the Kia Forte Koupe, it’s really all about conservativeness on the inside. Th dash gets a rather unique design that even has a couple of ribs on the passenger side. The HVAC vents are built into the dash while the center console just kind of disappears into the bottom of the dash. Needless to say from the shots of the interior you see above, this thing is far from modern and really due for an update, but if you like just the basics, this might be for you. Sitting atop the dash is s digital clock, while the center console has what has to be the smallest infotainment display available on a car in this market. The center console is as simple as it gets with just a gear shifter and a pair of cup holders. The seats are upholstered in a mix of leather and fabric but are nowhere near as supportive as the sports seats in the 86 or the Civic Si. The instrument cluster is pretty basic as well with two analog gauges and a TFT display in the center. Chrome door handles, aluminum pedals, and a unique steering wheel round off the interior package.
Personally, I prefer the cabin of the Si or 86, but if you’re a naturalist or someone who prefers to keep things simple, you’ll really want to consider the Forte Koup. Otherwise, if you like a more aggressive and sporty approach, take a look at the Si or the 86 – you won’t be disappointed in either.
|Toyota 86||Kia Forte Koup||Honda Civic Si Coupe|
|Headroom Front/Rear (Inches)||37.1/35.0||38.2/36.4||38.2/34.6|
|Legroom Front/Rear (Inches)||41.9/29.9||42.2/35.9||42.3/35.9|
|Shoulder Room Front/Rear (Inches)||54.5/51.7||55.9/53.0||56.9/52.6|
|Hip Room Front/Rear (Inches)||53.1/45.3||53.8/53.5||54.1/48.1|
|EPA Passenger Volume (cu ft)||76.5||91.0|
|Cargo space (cu ft)||13.3||12.1|
Where the LX model Civics get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, the EX and touring trim levels get a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that’s turbocharged. In the standard Civic, this engine produces 174 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. It’s not much, but it’s enough to get the job done, and on time too. But, that’s not enough for something that’s wearing an Si badge.
It’s important to remember, however, that even though horsepower remained the same, the turbocharged nature of this 1.5-liter means maximum horsepower and torque comes much lower in the powerband – ultimately making for a better driving experience. On top of that, it’s also a bit lighter, which ultimately translates to it being a bit quicker off the line. Shifting duties are handled by a six-speed, short-throw, manual transmission with power being routed to the front wheels full time. Unfortunately, Honda didn’t see fit to give the Si all-wheel drive, but if you can look past that, you’ll find the new steering system, sport-tuned suspension, and adaptive dampers make up for it.
The Si gets the same 1.5-liter, but it’s tuned to deliver 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. That’s 31 ponies and 38 pound-feet more than the Civic Touring, and up 18 pound-feet from the last-gen Civic Si.
It might not be as in-depth as offerings you might find from some of the competition, but the Si does have a drive mode selection. At this time, there’s only two modes – Normal and Sport. You’ll find that natural mode is perfect for your daily commute through traffic or a casual drive in which you just want to relax and unwind before coming home to deal with the wife and kids. Switch the Si into sport mode, however, and you’re ready to get a little more spirited with stiffer damper characteristics and a sharper response from the throttle and steering. It’s definitely the mode you want to use if you’re going to be hitting curves hard or pretending you’re in the next installment of the Fast and Furious franchise.
All told, it’s a pretty sweet setup, and probably highly tunable. There’s no telling what that 1.5-liter can really pump out without sacrificing reliability, but I’m willing to bet that with some know-how, a few aftermarket parts, and custom tuning, you’ll find yourself much closer to Type R territory without spending a ton of cheddar to make it happen. Of course, we’ll learn more about that once the Si finally hits the streets, so we’ll see what happens in that department a little farther down the road.
This is where things really get interesting because, as far as power goes, the Civic Si, Toyota 86, and Forte Koup all circle the same playground. The Toyota 86 comes with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that delivers 200 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. If you opt for the 86 with a six-speed manual, and you really should, man, you’ll get 205 ponies and 156 pound-feet. This engine runs a 12.5:1 compression ratio, requires premium unleaded, and sends power to the rear wheels regardless of what transmission you choose. Sport tuned suspension is standard as is the Torsen limited-slip differential. The manual transmission is a short-throw, close-ratio unit while the six-speed automatic features dynamic rev management and paddle shifters. A sprint to 60 mph takes about 6.4 seconds while top speed sits around 136 mph. We’re still waiting for a 300-horsepower, V-6 model, but for now, this is as good as it gets for the 86.
Moving over to the Forte Koupe, you might think that it’s toned down and outdated look would put it out of the running, but that isn’t the case – at least as far as power output goes, anyway. You’ll need to go with the SX trim level to compete, but that will give you 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque from a turbocharged, 1.6-liter, four-cylinder. It runs a low compression ratio of 9.5:1 and comes standard with a six-speed manual. Curb weight sits right around 3,000 pounds while sport-tuned suspension keeps things under control during more impressive maneuvers. No performance figures make themselves readily available, but some private testing shows 60 mph coming in around seven seconds with top speed somewhere in the 130-mph range. Keep in mind that Kia just recently updated the Forte, but hasn’t updated the Koup quite yet, so these power figures could change when the brand brings an updated model to the market.
|Toyota 86||Kia Forte Koup|
|Engine||2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, boxer||1.6L I-4, Turbo-charged Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)|
|Horsepower||200 HP @ 7,000 RPM||201 HP @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque||156 LB-FT @ 6,400 RPM||195 LB-FT @ 1,750-4,500 RPM|
|Transmission||6-Speed manual; 6-Speed automatic||6-speed manual; 6-Speed automatic|
|Fuel economy City/Highway/Combined||6-Speed M/T: 21/28/24
6-Speed A/T: 24/32/27
|6-Speed M/T: 22/29/25 |
6-Speed A/T: 22/30/25
|Curb weight||M/T: 2,774 lbs.
A/T: 2,815 lbs.
|M/T: 3,007 lbs. |
A/T: 3,064 lbs.
|0 to 60 mph||6.4 seconds||7 seconds|
|Top Speed||136 mph||130 mph|
Honda has gone into specifics about pricing just yet, but don’t expect to pay much more than you would to step into the Civic Touring before options, taxes, and destination charges. Honda says the New Si will be priced in the mid-$20,000 range, so a ballpark estimate would be somewhere around $27,000. To put that into perspective, the Civic Touring starts out at $26,225, so if you’re considering that model, you might as well wait and get yourself an Si, right?
|Trim||MSRP||EPA MPG Rating4 (city/highway/combined)|
|Civic Si Coupe (6MT)||$23,900||28/38/32|
|Civic Si Coupe (6MT) w/ summer tires||$24,100||28/38/32|
As far as pricing goes, You can get the Toyota 86 for as little as $26,255 if you opt for the six-speed manual transmission. Going with the six-speed automatic, however, will set you back a bit more at $26,975. The Forte Koup, on the other hand, offers quite a bit of value since it’s not as current as the new Forte Sedan. You can get into a 2016 coupe, as of the time of this writing, for $20,690.
In all honesty, this Miata is a much better competitor to the Civic Si than the Kia Forte Koup, for example, but it isn’t available as a coupe just yet. But, it’s roadster styling is sexy and includes well-pronounced front genders to go with sleek exterior light units and an overall smooth silhouette. It’s arguably the best-looking Miata to date and is certainly worth your consideration.
Inside, you’ll find a rather spartan interior with a high-sitting center console, a floating infotainment display, and just the right amount of strategic lines here and there. The seats are supportive and comfortable, and the spaciousness of the cabin is enough to make you forget you’re driving a two-seater – unless you have a third person to drag along with you, that is. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0-liter four-pot that delivers 155 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can hit 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 14.5 seconds. Not too bad for a car with just 155 ponies on tap, huh? Pricing for the Miata starts out at $24,915 for the Sport trim, $28,600 for the Club trim, and $30,065 for the range-topping Grand Touring trim.
Learn more about the Mazda MX-5 Miata here.
Needless to say, the Civic Si is here to wreak havoc on the compact sports car niche, but it’s really one of those models that you either love or hate. Some love the overly aggressive and tall-hatchback styling, while other think it looks like hell warmed over. In the end, it’s the best Civic Si that we’ve seen in a few generations and thanks to its lighter presence it can get up to speed faster without any extra power of the last-gen model. Its turbocharged engine delivers power much earlier in the powerband, and you’ll experience improved performance throughout. It’s not exactly what we were hoping for, but it’s not exactly bad either. Plus, that interior is freaking awesome. But, what do you think? Would you rather have one of the other models we’ve discussed here? Let us know in the comments section below.