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2022 Honda Civic Si : What's It Like To Live With?

Under heavy fire from Hyundai and others, the Civic Si tries to hold its ground

Honda Civic 2022
Miles DrivenAverage MPG

Latest Highlights (updated 05/18/22)

  • The long-term 2022 Civic Si just joined our fleet
  • The Civic Si launches a new generation for 2022 against stiffer competition than ever before
  • Stay tuned for ongoing real-world comments from our staffers

What We Bought And Why

by Josh Sadlier, Director of Content Strategy

Our test vehicle: 2022 Honda Civic Si
Base MSRP: $27,300
MSRP as tested: $27,895

A new Honda Civic Si generation is always a big deal, but our long-term 2022 Civic Si's reputation precedes it. Specifically, the latest Civic Si iteration — available only as a sedan — has taken some lumps for not being notably faster than its predecessor.

We should note that the same criticism has dogged the Civic Si ever since the new-for-2012 model failed to outpace the previous one, which debuted in 2006. This car has been doing zero to 60 mph in about 7 seconds since George W. Bush was in office. But after 16 years, there should be some improvement, right? Honda easily could have turned up the wick on the 2022 Civic Si's turbocharged four-cylinder engine, yet it's oddly down 5 horses from last year to an even 200. That's just 3 hp ahead of the 2006 model's high-revving naturally aspirated four.

The competition, meanwhile, has been steadily upping the ante. The Volkswagen GTI did 0-60 in around 6.5 seconds back in 2006, with a trap speed (speed at the quarter-mile mark) of 95 mph. These days it's more like 6 seconds flat to 60 and 100 mph in the quarter, thanks to a jump from 200 hp in those days to 241 hp now. The 276-hp Hyundai Elantra N wasn't even a figment of anyone's imagination back then, but today it's quicker than the venerable GTI. In fact, it's the lesser Elantra N Line (201 hp) that does direct battle with the 200-hp Civic Si, putting up a 7.0-second run to 60 and a 93.6-mph trap speed in Edmunds' testing. Our long-term Civic Si was actually a bit slower than the N Line at our test track, clocking in at 7.2 seconds and 92.8 mph, respectively, despite costing three or four grand more.

Oh yeah, and that Civic Si from the Dubya years? Digging deep into the Edmunds archives, we found a 2009 Si sedan that laid down a 7.0-second dash to 60 and a 93.0-mph trap speed. That's quicker and faster than our new 2022 long-termer. Go figure.

Now, one could argue that the Civic Si has never been a "numbers car." It's about the sporty feel, the snick-snick manual gearbox, the grippy seats and playful character. It's also about the inherent strengths of the Civic itself, here including a stylish yet ergonomic dashboard layout, excellent outward visibility and a remarkably spacious back seat for its size. Combine all of that with Honda's strong resale value and, hey, who really cares about a half-second here or a few mph there?

Well, we do, of course. But we're also ready to be persuaded that the new Civic Si is good enough to transcend the data. Is this Honda just such a delight in the real world that it doesn't need more speed? In the name of science, we're going to spend a year and 20,000 miles finding out.

What Did We Get?

In keeping with Civic Si tradition, the 2022 Honda Civic Si pretty much comes in a single front-wheel-drive spec, take it or leave it. Sticky summer tires are a no-brainer $200 upgrade in our gentle SoCal climate, and our car also came decked out in Blazing Orange Pearl paint ($395). That tacked on a total of $595 to the Si's $27,300 entry price.

So what comes standard? A lot. Under the hood, the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine (200 horsepower, 192 lb-ft of torque) is little changed from the previous generation's 1.5-liter turbo, which helps explain those underwhelming track numbers. But the mandatory six-speed manual shifter (yes, the Civic Si is still manual-only in this automatic age) feels great in the hand and so smooth through the gates, evoking the best transmissions from Hondas of yore. You're also treated to a limited-slip differential, a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, LED headlights, a sunroof and 18-inch matte-black wheels.

Inside, sport front seats with aggressive bolstering continue to be a Civic Si hallmark, complemented by red accent stitching, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, a 9-inch central display screen and unique honeycomb dashboard inserts. The 2022 Civic Si also comes with a slew of advanced safety features, among them forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

Why Did We Get It?

As noted, we're curious to see how much we end up caring about the latest Civic Si's unimproved acceleration. But more than that, the Civic Si is such a star that every new generation is a major event, and we want to see firsthand if this one has what it takes. The regular 2022 Civic already won our Edmunds Top Rated Sedan award, but can the Si variant edge out faster rivals in a segment where speed really counts? There's nothing like a full year in the saddle for gaining the clarity we seek.

Honda loaned this vehicle to Edmunds for the purpose of evaluation.

2022 Honda Civic Si: Real-World Fuel Economy

We're still getting to know our Civic Si, which came to us from Honda with about 3,000 miles already on the odometer. But thanks to Editor Romans, our man in Fresno, the Civic Si now has some highway miles under its belt. Have we hit the EPA's 37 mpg highway estimate yet? Not even close, but the current record wasn't a pure highway run by any means. Stay tuned as we probe the real-world limits and see if 37 mpg is legitimately achievable on a long trip.

Average lifetime mpg: 26.1
EPA mpg rating: 31 combined ( 27 city / 37 highway )
Best fill mpg: 31.0
Best range (miles): 215.7
Current odometer: 3,906

2022 Honda Civic Si: Performance

This is arguably the most important category for our Civic Si, and our findings so far have been mixed. The manual transmission generally feels great, but "rev hang" -- a Civic Si bugaboo since the 2000s -- makes it hard to upshift smoothly during spirited driving. Grip from the summer tires is prodigious, but as noted above, straight-line acceleration is merely OK by the numbers. Is this Civic Si a bargain because of its excellent handling, or is it overpriced because of its middling power? We're just starting to grapple with such questions as our test gets underway.

How's the manual transmission?

"I love the Civic Si's shifter. It's near perfection. It feels nice in my hand with its metal ball top and leather wrapping, and it moves lightly but solidly from gear to gear. It's genuinely enjoyable to row around. Also, the clutch pedal is easy to work and has a forgiving engagement point for connecting the front wheels and engine. This is an ideal combo for somebody learning how to drive stick, and yet it's also a pleasure for manual-shift veterans." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content

"The Si is equipped with Honda's Rev Match Control System. In other words, the car will blip the throttle to match engine rpm when downshifting so the driver doesn't have to. Initially it feels unnatural to just dump the clutch on that 4-3 or 3-2 shift. But once you get used to the idea, it's a hoot. I find myself downshifting way more than I normally would just to hear the perfect shift." — Mike Schmidt, senior manager, vehicle testing operations

"Allow me to complain about something that greatly sours the Civic Si experience for me: the pronounced delay in engine rpm drop after pushing in the clutch and lifting off the gas to upshift. (This delay can also be known as "rev hang.") This issue has nothing to do with the shifter itself — see my other comment on how much I like it — but rather the clutch/flywheel's mechanical innards, or maybe the way Honda tuned the engine's electronic throttle. Whatever the cause, it's annoying.

"This tardy drop in rpm is not an issue for normal driving. In fact, I find it quite satisfying to upshift our Si at low rpm, like at around 2,000-2,500 rpm. The engine makes enough low-end torque to do this, and I can quickly work my way up through the gears with moderate throttle input. But, oh my, go for the gusto in our Civic Si, revving up to 5,000 rpm or more in the lower gears, and the engine's rpm does not drop nearly soon enough to smoothly engage the clutch for the next gear. The tachometer needle just hangs out and lingers at the rpm I pushed in the clutch, similar to how my mother-in-law wants to chat with all the other churchgoers after mass is over. ("Oh, hey, 6,000 rpm, how are you? Lovely 91 octane gas out there today, isn't it?")

"So I'm left with two options, and both suck: a) keep the clutch pedal pressed and wait for the engine rpm to eventually drop (~2 seconds!) to the correct point for a smooth clutch engagement for the higher gear, which is anathema for wanting to go fast; or b) just let out the clutch immediately, rpm be damned, and suffer through the lurchy, newbie upshift as the car's wheel speed forces the engine down to the equalizing rpm." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content

How does the Civic Si handle?

"Here's an anecdote that I think neatly sums up the appeal of the Civic Si. I pulled out onto a two-lane city street in our Si and, in the rearview mirror, I noticed a new BMW 4 Series moving at a quick pace. (The sole upside of BMW's buck-toothed grille is that it stands out.) It quickly flew by me, and I saw from its badge that it was the sport-oriented M440i version. I wouldn’t have otherwise given this event any further thought, but about 1 minute later I ended up right behind the M440i because it had gotten held up in traffic. And now we were both turning to take the same two-lane circular highway entrance ramp. Clearly, I had to uphold Honda's reputation here.

"The M440i was in the left-hand lane of the ramp, so I picked the right. Around we went. The Civic Si turned in eagerly and made it easy for me to get a feel for its balance and utilize its substantial grip. I quickly caught up to the M440i and then further pulled a car length ahead as we finished circling the ramp. At that point, BMW guy realized what just happened and, once we were pointed straight, used all of his 382 hp to fix the perceived embarrassment that had just occurred. Which was fine; have a nice day, friend. What I like about our Civic Si is that it gets you engaged and having fun at speeds that won't get you in trouble, and it does it at a price that won't blow your budget." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content

2022 Honda Civic Si: Comfort

Comfort used to be an afterthought in hopped-up compacts like the Civic Si, but these days a sport compact sedan has to do everything pretty well. Has Honda hit the mark in this area? We're not saying "no," but we've found a couple of concrete instances where the new Civic Si is actually less comfortable than its predecessor.

Does the Civic Si have the comfort features you'd expect?

"Well, this is odd, but the new Civic Si is missing what I'd consider two significant features: heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control. It's like Honda made a taco but forgot to put on the cheese and lettuce. Now, personally, dual-zone climate is a 'meh' feature. But no heated seats? How am I supposed to keep my buns toasty on those chilly 40-degree California mornings?

"The Civic Si isn't exactly a stripped-down base model, either; it's a $28,000 car. Furthermore: 1) The previous-generation 2020 Civic Si had heated seats and dual-zone auto climate standard, so clearly something went wrong for 2022; and 2) You can get these features easily from rivals. For example, a base 2022 VW Golf S has standard heated seats, and a 2022 Hyundai Elantra N Line has standard dual-zone climate, with an option for heated seats." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content

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2022 Honda Civic Si: Miscellaneous

Not everything about a car is going to fall neatly into established categories, and that's especially true of a fun-oriented car like the Civic Si. What are the X factors here, the wildcard aspects that nudge it ahead or hold it back? We're taking notes.

What's the consensus on that orange paint job?

"I've been driving our Civic Si for about a week straight and already I've received three impromptu favorable comments from bystanders on the car's Blazing Orange Pearl paint. The most memorable encounter was at my neighboorhood's multi-house mailbox thing, where I had pulled up to grab my mail. A thoroughly nice 60-ish-year-old woman with big black sunglasses was walking by and commented how she liked the color. She then segued into a 5-minute near-monologue on: (1) how it reminded her of all the colorful cars she saw in Europe, (2) how her son used to live in Germany, (3) how concerned she is with the events going on over there, and (4) the outrageous price of gas these days. I think my contributions to the conversation were, "Oh, thanks!" "Oh, really?" and then finally, "OK, I've got to go, but nice meeting you." Anyway, Civic Si in Blazing Orange: ace conversation starter." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content