- We've reached the halfway point in our yearlong test of the 2022 Honda Civic Si.
- The only thing that's gone wrong is that no one seems to be excited about it.
2022 Honda Civic Si 10K-Mile Update: Familiarity Breeds ... Meh
No drama, but not much excitement either
As we noted when our long-term 2022 Honda Civic Si joined the fleet, this yearlong test could hinge on the importance of progress. Does it matter that today's Civic Si is no faster than the one that debuted in 2006? Or had Honda already perfected the model's straight-line performance a year before Steve Jobs launched the original iPhone?
Perhaps you've surmised where we come down on that question after 10,000 miles in the saddle. In all that time, not a single staffer has logged a genuinely enthusiastic comment about the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is rated at 200 horsepower, 3 more hp than you got in 2006. One fellow praised, faintly, the "usable torque" that the turbo brings. But that was true of the previous-generation Civic Si's turbo mill, too, which incidentally was rated at a slightly superior 205 hp.
In the pre-turbo days, of course, the Civic Si was the life of the party, forever daring the driver to touch 8,000 rpm before the next shift. "Love the sound of this engine!" we raved in our test notes on a 2009 Civic Si sedan. Back then, the raw acceleration numbers, which already trailed those of the Volkswagen GTI, seemed less important because the car was just so much fun.
Trouble is, the advent of turbocharging has robbed today's Civic Si of its visceral thrills without adding any measurable speed. But there's an easy solution, right? Why not tweak the software and boost this engine to at least 220 hp, or how about 240 hp to match the latest GTI? That kind of turbocharged thrust would be bound to get us fired up.
Hey, as they used to say in Chicago, there's always next year.
By the numbers
"Wait a minute," you may have exclaimed, "the new Civic Si really isn't measurably faster than it was in the 2000s?!" Yes, really. We've got Edmunds track tests of the previous three Civic Si generations on file, and here's what they tell us.
2022 Honda Civic Si vs. History
|2022 Honda Civic Si Sedan||4/18/22||7.2 sec||15.1 sec|
@ 92.8 mph
|2017 Honda Civic Si Sedan||11/6/17||6.8 sec||15.0 sec|
@ 92.8 mph
|2012 Honda Civic Si Coupe||5/3/11||6.9 sec||15.1 sec|
@ 93.1 mph
|2009 Honda Civic Si Sedan||6/9/09||7.0 sec||15.3 sec|
@ 93.0 mph
Fine, but what about the rest of the car?
Fair question. The regular Civic, after all, is this year's Edmunds Top Rated Car, so there's obviously a lot of inherent goodness here. We like the Civic Si's sensible size, for example: You can easily fit a rear-facing child safety seat in the middle rear position, yet the car retains a nimble feel on city streets. Some of us are fans of the 12-speaker Bose stereo; others (your humble narrator included) are less impressed. One thing we can all agree on is that the Civic Si's handling is excellent for a front-driver, though again, that's nothing new for Honda's venerable sport compact. Road noise is unfortunately intrusive at most speeds, another consistent Civic Si trait through the years.
Halfway through our long-term test, it's hard to escape the conclusion that we're just not that into the new Civic Si. Objectively, it's got a lot of strengths, but a manual-only sport sedan with a spoiler on the back is supposed to stir the soul. There's a remedy, though. Turn the turbo up (and maybe turn the road noise down too?) and Honda could have a legitimate GTI alternative on its hands. Show us that progress and we'll be ready to show some love.