2022 Honda Civic Si PVOTY Review: Authentic, Approachable, Attainable

2022 Honda Civic Si PVOTY Review: Authentic, Approachable, Attainable

Pros Six-speed manual is pure joy Light, tactile handling Incredible value proposition   Cons Brakes

Pros

  • Six-speed manual is pure joy
  • Light, tactile handling
  • Incredible value proposition

 

Cons

  • Brakes need more staying power
  • High and vague clutch engagement point
  • Revs can hang

For the as-tested price of the Lamborghini Huracán STO, you could buy 15-and-a-half Si-badged Honda Civics, the lowest-priced, least powerful, and third-lightest contender vying for our PVOTY calipers. Did a humble, sub-$30K, front-wheel-drive economy sedan making only 200 horsepower have a chance against all the Black Series/Wings, M’s, V’s, GTs and GT3s?

In fact, many of the supposed shortcomings of the 2022 Honda Civic Si made it stand out in our field of monstrously powered beasts. Subtracting brute force and head-snapping thrust—and much of the associated sound and fury—sharpened our judges’ perception of other attributes. “There’s something really tactile and raw about the Civic Si that gets me going,” director of editorial operations Mike Floyd said. “Its four-cylinder at full chat just sounds so lean and mean.”

The Civic Si makes a strong value and fuel economy statement, and the Si’s mini-Accord styling adds maturity missing from the previous-generation Civic. Engineering excellence is everywhere you look and touch; every judge called out the light, communicative steering and the “delightful” feel and “super-precise” throws of the Si’s six-speed manual transmission, as they extracted all 192 lb-ft from the 1.5-liter turbo inline-four.

“More low-end torque and a longer horsepower peak are exactly what this engine needed,” features editor Scott Evans said. “The torque makes it nicer to drive at every speed, and the power no longer falls off at the top end.”

To be clear, at nearly 15 pounds per horsepower (more than double the load of some other competitors), the Si is slow, but “Who cares?” was the prevailing sentiment. “It’s just so stable and confident in a corner,” Evans said. “You just want to drive it faster and faster because it’s so rewarding. It’s still a momentum car, and that’s great because it really makes you work on your driving to get the most out of it.”

Amid the pages of notes on all our competitors, the adjectives “authentic,” “approachable,” and “attainable” were reserved for the Si. It was the performance vehicle everyone could quietly appreciate. “There is something appealing about seeing myself in an Si that makes me like it even more in this competition, which is loaded with vehicles I could never hope to actually own in my lifetime,” deputy editor Alex Stoklosa said.

So why wasn’t it even a finalist? For one thing, the only other front-driver in the mix, the Hyundai Veloster N, delivered an even more intriguing and irresistible combination of turbo-boosted fun. And there were some blemishes on the Civic Si’s otherwise smooth ‘n’ sporty driving experience. Squishy at first dab, the Si’s brakes faded for some judges by the end of the handling course. Although that’s a non-factor on the street, it did not bode well for the at-the-limit track sessions the finalists would encounter. Judges also called out the clutch’s light pedal and its high and vague engagement point. The engine’s tendency to hang onto revs also drew criticism.

For some, the Si just wasn’t a big enough step up from the already sublime 11th-generation Civic. Other judges were tantalized but left thirsty for the sharper edge and much-needed power boost promised by the coming Civic Type R. So we shall wait for next year.

2022 Honda Civic Si Specifications
Base Price/As tested $28,315/$28,515
Power (SAE net) 200 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 192 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 7.1 sec
Quarter-mile 15.3 sec @ 92.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 110 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.93 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 26.3 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 27/37/31 mpg
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
Engine, Transmission 1.5L Turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4, 6-speed manual
Curb Weight (F/R DIST) 2,981 lb (59/41%)
Wheelbase 107.7 in
Length x Width x Height 184.0 x 70.9 x 55.7 in
On Sale Now