2018 Honda Civic SI

words & photos by: Jimmy Mak

With the 10th generation Civic, Honda has done things a bit different. Rather than a high revving VTEC equipped engine, Honda has placed a small displacement turbocharged motor allowing for a very different driving experience.

From the outside, this Civic SI Coupe is a looker, especially in the red. Although I must admit I’m not the biggest fan of the rear 3/4 view of the coupe but after driving it for a week, it has grown on me, and I think it looks sleek.

I particularly love how the rear taillights and how they link together on the top of the rear trunk lid, it’s a rare sight as only the coupe is shaped this way. Just like the Sedan version of the SI, the Lamborghini inspired exhaust tip sits prominently in the centre of the rear bumper finishing off the rear end just right.

A cool fact, Canadian spec Civic SI has LED headlamps from the Touring trim while US spec has halogen units from the lower trim models.

Inside the SI it’s similar to the other Civics, other than a bit of faux carbon on the dash and leather stitched shifter and steering wheel it doesn’t necessarily stand out and why should it? The Civic is an enjoyable place to be, and the cabin still looks up-to-date albeit being a few years old now.

The infotainment system is same as the others with a 7″ touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto it works well but as before it lacks a physical volume knob. Climate control is fully automatic with dual zones and even heated seats; a must have for Canadian winters. Honda has also nicely added Qi wireless charging pad in the centre console allowing you to charge your latest mobile device with ease. For others, there are a few USB ports placed in the interior for cabled charging.

The cluster is clean and straightforward it’s legible in day or night, and it even shows the boost, fuel consumption and even throttle and brake pressure.

Front seats have plenty of support with the addition of lateral support which hugs the occupants. SI seats lack the split headrest to backrest design from the other Civic models. Personally, the functionality of a split design is better as it’s easier to find the optimal headrest placement.

The rear seats lack the pizazz of the front, plain and simple they don’t have any of the red stitching or logos found on the front seats. Worst yet thanks to the sloping roofline there’s little to no headroom for the rear passengers. With a bit of a slouch, it can be acceptable for shorter drives, but anyone closer to 6 feet would not want to be back here.

A quick press of the red starter button will commence the side of the Civic.

That little SI badge on this Civic means this car is actually a lot more fun than the rest of the lineup (maybe not the type-R). Under the hood is a 1.5L Turbocharged 4 Cylinder making 205hp and 192lb-ft of torque, mated to a slick shifting 6-speed transmission with an LSD. Which means power is going to both of the front wheels digging and clawing its way out of corners the SI can carve some fantastic lines. The turbocharged engine is small, but it packs a bunch anything above 2000rpm the SI pulls hard. Unlike high revving engines of the past, this Civic you won’t need to work as hard making it more fun around town. Not about the outright power the civic can pull away with ease. The smaller displacement engine is free-revving and eager to play. 

A quick tap of the “Sport” button and it stiffen up the suspension allowing the vehicle to drive like it’s on rails. In normal mode, the ride is a surprisingly compliant ride. While in Sport, the suspension does tighten up with less pitch dive and roll making the drive that much more fun. A light clutch and good pedal layout mean this Civic is very easy to drive even for first-timers. Particularly with the auto hold feature, it can also hold the brakes on steeper hills allowing the driver to set off with minimal rollback.

While the SI Coupe doesn’t offer the same practicality as the Sedan, great it is about 11KG lighter although it may not be much, for the enthusiast where every pound matters the coupe may be a better base for the ultimate track or autocross vehicle. Best yet even driving the SI a bit harder it still returns excellent fuel economy averaging around 9L/100km in the city.

Overall the Civic SI is a solid sports compact coupe, and with the smooth clutch and brake hold it’s a great vehicle to get into when you’re first learning manual. Excellent driving manners make the Civic just a heck of a lot of fun to drive and enjoy.

Thank you to Honda Canada for providing the vehicle.