2022 Honda Civic Si: Is this the best one yet? | Track test

J.G.
By J.G. Pasterjak
Nov 25, 2022 | Honda, Civic, FIRM, Honda Civic Si, Si, Florida International Rally and Motorsport Park, Track Test | Posted in Features | From the Aug. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by David S. Wallens and Chris Tropea

The Si badge on a Honda Civic has always meant something special. While never as radical as the limit-of-civility Type R-badged Hondas, the Si models had just enough of an edge to set themselves apart in performance, feel and presence from the standard fare.

And the newest, 11th-generation Civic Si is no exception to that trend–mostly. By all objective measures, the new Si is a step forward from its 10th-generation predecessor, but it seems to have lost a little of the subjective mojo that made previous iterations feel truly special. Which, in a weird way, is kind of special itself. You know what, let’s just get right into it.

[2022 Honda Civic Si review]

Slower Is Faster

Going by pure horsepower numbers, the 2022 Civic Si is actually down in power a bit. Its 200-horsepower, four-cylinder engine makes 5 less horsepower than the previous version. 

But what it’s lost in peak power is more than made up for in area under the curve, as it produces nearly all its peak 192 lb.-ft. of torque starting below 2000 rpm and continuing to the redline. The result is a 1.5-liter turbocharged-four with the midrange of a ’90s V6–but also the lackluster high-rpm laziness of a ’90s V6.  


Yeah, it pulls through and off of corners fantastically–the helical diff no doubt helps there as well–but the traditional high-rpm Honda Si wail, whether by VTEC, turbo or simply lots of valves breathing freely as the revs climb, is gone. 

And while the driver may miss that experience, the clock sure doesn’t. Comparing data overlays of the newest Civic Si and our former 2019 Civic Si Coupe long-term test car at the Florida International Rally & Motorsport Park test track shows the new model’s clear advantage: longer legs down long straights and a better pull out of medium- and high-speed corners. 

But man, it sure doesn’t feel like that’s how it’s making speed. It feels for all the world like it pulls very flatly from about 3000 rpm to redline, with no real swells or peaks anywhere. And because it’s a Honda Si product, you’re really expecting this late-rpm surge as the tach accelerates toward the redline and your hand readies to grab another gear.

Instead, it goes about its business more sedately, but–as the data shows–no less aggressively.

Honda’s latest turbo engines may lack that old VTEC scream, but they’ll deliver torque for days. Visit our YouTube channel for a deeper dive into the on-track data. 

That flat-as-the-tundra torque curve does come in handy in a couple spots, though. Second gear pops up against the rev limiter at less than 56 mph, meaning faster autocross courses–where this car is likely to see plenty of action–are going to require either a lot of rev limiter riding or shifts to third. Thanks to that stout, torquey engine, though, those low-rpm, third-gear pulls aren’t going to be the penalty they may have been in the previous cars.

Around the corners, however, the chassis shows no signs of blunting. Aided by that mechanical limited-slip diff, the Civic willingly enters corners on the brake, on the throttle or dead neutral, all with zero bad habits. 

It’s a front-wheel-drive performance sedan, so understeer is its natural tendency, but once you make peace with that, it’s easy to get the chassis to use all four wheels in anger. 

Our previous test of the 10th-generation Si was performed on Falken Azenis RT615K+ tires–possibly a slightly better alternative than the excellent-but-still-a-compromise summer-spec Michelins on our 11th-gen test car. But, interestingly, we didn’t see across-the-board better grip from the theoretically stickier Falkens. Yes, we saw better grip in some long corners, but in others we saw higher cornering speeds from the newer Civic. 

The best attribution for this we can come up with is increased confidence entering high-speed corners in the updated chassis. That’s certainly what it felt like on track: great turn-in for a front-drive car, with the whole chassis taking a nice set fairly quickly for a modern, tall sedan. The handling is far better than the layout and shape lead you to believe.

Less Is More

Off track and in the real world, the Civic Si definitely shines. The interior is less fussy and busy than in previous generations. Honda provides a nice combination of tactile switches and knobs for mission-critical functions while minimizing menu diving in the driver info center for all but the deepest options. 

While the interior does have some conscious design touches, like the hexagonal grid pattern that covers so many surfaces, it’s never overbearing and doesn’t seem like it will look uncomfortably dated in the near future. 

Better still is the view out and the seating position. This 11th-gen Civic may have the best seats and ergonomics of any Honda in recent memory, and certainly they’re a step up from the 10th-gen. 

The interior gives the latest Civic Si a more upmarket feel than its predecessors. 

Important controls are well placed, the seat fits a variety of driver shapes with only a few key adjustments, and sightlines are as good or better than you can expect from any modern car with fully integrated air bags in practically every visible surface. We may even say part of the increased performance we saw on track was due in part to driver comfort, as we had a more secure platform from which to do the work of driving fast.

And while the Civic gained a lot of livability for 2022, it didn’t gain a lot of weight. Option-for-option weights for the 11th-gen car appear to be within a few pounds of the 10th-gen cars, with fully loaded cars just nudging 3000 pounds.

Less Is Also Less

Unfortunately, the biggest factor working against the 2022 Civic Si is the current car buying climate. When we looked for local dealers with cars in stock, we found only one in our state of Florida in May of 2022. 

Hopefully availability will improve by the time you read this–and that you’re not reading this in a Mars colony in 3172–but at the moment, this is a great car that’s suffering from the scarcity, and the likely the dealer markups that come with it, affecting the entire new car market. 

With a sticker price around $28,000, though, the newest Si is a legit bargain, one that will satisfy on track and off.

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Comments
crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/8/22 10:01 a.m.

I love the more subtle sporty looks and $28k really nails this the price point for these I think. For a sporty car that would likely double as DD for most owners, I think this would also be the best DD out out a lot of its competitors too (MPG , space, and comfort wise) for those cross shopping for a car to do it all.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/9/22 12:16 p.m.

In reply to crankwalk (Forum Supporter) :

My wife's daily is a 2014 Civic Si sedan. The newest one is simply a quieter, updated version of that car. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/9/22 12:17 p.m.

We've had this Civic Si since new, too. In fact, it's been exactly eight years as it arrived while I was at Solo Nats.

Work needed to date: two batteries and a few sets of tires. 

It's now time for brakes. Other than that, gas and oil.

calteg
calteg SuperDork
9/9/22 1:42 p.m.

Color me surprised: Yesterday I was thinking "I'd like a little more luxury, but I like the current body style. I bet I can get a Touring, slap a tune on it and be out the door cheaper than an SI."  Turns out I was wrong. MSRP on a touring is $30,245. I was shocked to find the SI undercut it by that much

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/9/22 3:55 p.m.

In reply to calteg :

The Si is a deal, right? 

calteg
calteg SuperDork
9/9/22 6:19 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Certainly seems that way. And I'm always a sucker for an orange car.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/9/22 6:22 p.m.

In reply to calteg :

The orange looks sooo good in real life. 

calteg
calteg SuperDork
9/9/22 6:29 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

This might be the first brand new car I ever buy. Real world reports are MPGs in the low 40s...so basically it gets the same gas mileage as my Prius C, while having a real back seat, a real trunk, being infinitely more fun to drive, etc, etc

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
9/11/22 8:24 p.m.

Any of the gain due to improved driver performance?  How many laps of the track did the driver make between Civic 1 and 2?

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
9/14/22 2:14 p.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

Any of the gain due to improved driver performance?  How many laps of the track did the driver make between Civic 1 and 2?

When I copare the data traces, I see one spot—the high speed right hand kink Turn 4—that coule be faster because of my increased comfort and experience. But the two biggest gains are in 1) the esses, which is pretty much a bumpy straight and does a great job of measuring shock response and control, and 2) Anytime the cars use fourth gear, where the new car just pulls away from the old car. 

So, yeah, maybe a few tenths, but not the 1.5-ish seconds that the times showed. 

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