Years ago a group called The Tubes had a song called, “What Do You Want From Life?” I thought about that song as I was driving the 2017 Honda Civic Si. There are faster cars. And prettier cars. And bigger cars. But if you want life to give you a sporty coupe that delivers plenty of fun, just enough room and catches people’s attention, the Honda Civic Si might just be the answer.
First, let’s give a little history. The latest version of the Civic is the tenth generation since Honda first introduced it to the US back in 1972. The initial Si model appeared in 1985 with a 1.5 liter engine that pumped out a whopping 91 horsepower. While it sounds pretty anemic today, remember that we were just coming out of the era of darkness when performance was an afterthought. This was a start.
That start leads us to 2017 and the current Civic Si. Honda didn’t go crazy on horsepower. The Si has 205 ponies that come from a 1.5 liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Honda is quick to point out that while this generation engine has the same horsepower as the previous non-turbo motor, it comes on at a lower RPM and lasts over a broader range. What does that mean? It actually makes the six-speed manual transmission a little more civilized in city traffic. You don’t have to shift as much to keep it in the right RPM range. Of course, you can if you want to, but you won’t find it bogging down between traffic lights.
Mileage is 38 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city. Considering that’s just a single mpg short of what the standard coupe does on the highway, and equal in the city, those are pretty good numbers.
Of course getting that power to the ground is critical. The Si has a sport tuned suspension to accomplish that task. Compared to the standard civic, it has stiffer springs and stabilizer bars that are a little more rigid, but not enough to make for an uncomfortable ride. It even shares some tweaks with the Civic Type R. That’s the highest performance Civic. But before you think that’s what you need, remember the question: “What do you want from life?”
The Si is a Civic, but it also has some distinctive features. While the standard Civic has an aluminum colored bar stretching across the grill, the Si goes for the black-out style up front. The Si also has larger lower air intakes that sit just below. The result is an aggressive looking car. Throw in some 18 inch low profile tires with 5-spoke alloy wheels and the Si looks like it means business. Oh, and don’t forget that big wing on the back. More than a few people commented on the car’s looks during my test week.
The great looks carry over to the interior as well. The seats have a racy look and there’s a red stitching that accents very nicely. It’s a two-door coupe, but you don’t feel cramped. The back seat isn’t very big, but then that’s not really why you’re buying the Si is it?
The display interface has some fun performance options. The 7-inch display can show throttle and brake input along with lap time and g-force. In other words, you can actually figure out where the limit really is in the Si. Just do it safely, all right?
Bottom line is that the 2017 Honda Si delivers plenty of performance and style with a price tag that starts at $24,100. Throw in the $875 destination and handling fee and the final price for my test car was $24,975. While that’s $5,000 more than the base coupe, you definitely feel like you’re driving something special.
Is it worth it? Just ask yourself that all important question: What do you want from life?