2020 Honda Civic Si review: A top pick for budget performance

Residing to some degree in the shadow of the razor-sharp Honda Civic Sort R and competing straight with the fantastic Volkswagen GTI, the humble Honda Civic Si has sort of flown underneath the radar due to the fact its debut in 2017. But in truth, the Civic Si is an extremely well-balanced and engaging activity compact — a person of my favorites in this course. On top rated of that, it truly is also a great funds general performance decide on.


  • Turbo engine matches very good midrange torque with higher-rev thrills
  • Handling is precise and engaging
  • The 2020 design is a lot easier to are living with thanks to new driver-assist and cabin tech

Never Like

  • No onboard navigation option
  • Honda LaneWatch is no substitute for correct blind-spot checking

This yr, the 2020 Si receives the ol’ midcycle refresh with revisions to the exterior and inside style and design, enhancements to its suite of conventional driver guidance options and a few general performance tweaks.

The tiny turbo that could

Peek underneath the hood and you can obtain the Si is powered by a 1.5-liter, turbocharged and immediate-injected four-cylinder engine developing 205 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Now, 1.5 liters may sound a little bit smaller, but the peppy tiny engine boasts pretty healthy midrange torque — with peak twisting drive coming on as small as 2,100 rpm — and a delightful willingness to happily swing the tachometer up to its six,five hundred-rpm limiter time and time yet again. Certain, it truly is at a energy and torque drawback as opposed with its fiercest foe, the VW GTI, but the Si is no significantly less interesting once the revs start developing.

The thrill of the engine is increased by a person of the most fulfilling 6-pace manual transmissions on the highway now. The gearbox is precise with a shifter that nearly magnetically slides into put with each individual limited throw. Gear improvements are accompanied by a mild clutch — great for small-tiredness commuting and quit-and-go creeping — with fantastic pedal placement for uncomplicated heel-and-toe blips.

The 2020 Civic Si’s transmission options revised gearing with a shorter last-generate ratio than final yr. The result is improved acceleration and superior throttle responsiveness, but that comes at the value of slightly greater revs — and a hair extra drone — when freeway cruising. Total, the new gearing feels like a superior match for the 1.5T and the Si’s general performance plans.

The manual transmission is the only gearbox readily available to Si prospective buyers there is no automatic or twin-clutch option. I am correctly satisfied with that — the Si’s 6-pace is about as fantastic as I could ask for — but this will understandably appear as terrible news to individuals who are unable to or will not want to generate a manual.

Precision handling

A restricted-slip differential is conventional on the Si, helping to control traction concerning the get hold of patches at the front wheels. The Si rides on a established of 18-inch wheels shod in 235-millimeter vast all-year tires, though you can also choose for summertime tires. A $673 include-on, summertime tires are a should-get for Si prospective buyers, as they enhance the general performance substantially and are a superb value for the money. (Take note: In accordance to Honda’s purchaser web-site, the summertime tire price tag has gone up to $673 from the primary $200, which is what it value at the time I filmed the movie assessment. Even so, it truly is nevertheless a pretty very good offer.)

The last piece of the general performance puzzle is the suspension, which consists of a MacPherson strut front and multilink rear mix with adaptive dampers at all four corners. The dampers are able to go from firm to hella firm at the touch of a Sport button near the shifter turret.

The Si’s trip is a rigid a person, but in no way harsh. The steering has a very good fat to it and an engaging really feel that makes the activity compact appear alive in your arms. Like the powertrain, the chassis tuning is precise, offering me great manage and feed-back via each individual phase of a turn — from the braking to nailing the apex to transitioning again into acceleration.


Summer time tires are a $673 upcharge. Get them.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

As I mentioned, the Si is down on energy relative to the GTI, but the way it tackles corners feels so significantly extra precise and engaging that, on the road — wherever the pleasure of each individual corner and crest is considerably extra vital than specs — I actually will not care. I really feel emboldened to carry extra pace via a turn with the Honda, which appears to be lighter on its toes, and this makes up for any absence of torque. On the observe, it’d in all probability be a distinct tale, but time attacks and lap battles are extra the Sort R’s domain, anyway.

What else is new for 2020?

The rest of the updates to the Si are new options and tweaks shared with the rest of the 10th-era Honda Civic family members.

There are new conventional driver-guidance options starting up with forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. On the freeway, adaptive cruise manage makes very long cruises extra enjoyable by preserving a established following length powering a lead automobile although lane-retaining steering guide assists maintain the compact concerning painted lane markers and warns you if you drift out of your lane or more than the edge of the highway.

My favourite safety addition is the new established of LED headlamps with automatic higher beams that activate on darkish roads and automatically dip to protect against dazzling oncoming site visitors. My minimum favourite continuance is Honda’s LaneWatch program — a passenger-side digital camera that activates at the push of a button or when the turn sign is activated. I might significantly somewhat have an true blind-spot checking program looking at the two sides of the automobile, but I suppose LaneWatch is superior than very little.


The seven-inch Display Audio program is the exact same. The volume knob, however, is new.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Entrance and middle in the dashboard is an up-to-date, seven-inch version of Honda’s Display Audio infotainment program. Make certain to deliver your mobile phone alongside for the trip to acquire benefit of the conventional Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, mainly because there’s no OEM navigation option readily available for the Si. As I prefer Android Auto more than nearly each individual onboard infotainment at this price, I will not intellect this set up, but nevertheless, it bears mentioning.

Smaller sized tweaks that you may overlook are the new volume knob — which replaces the old and awkward capacitive slider — alongside with extra actual physical buttons and shortcuts for infotainment and local climate manage functions. On top rated of that, the new Civic has improved Bluetooth pairing and smoother all round program general performance. The steering-wheel thumb controls have also been revised, the seats have been up-to-date and the rest of the cabin receives a smaller visible refresh for this new fifty percent-era. Oh, and the cupholders are larger now, also.

Pricing and competition

The 2020 Honda Civic Si is readily available in coupe and sedan configurations. Individually, I prefer the seem and utility of the sedan rear doorways can be pretty helpful. With the exact same wheelbase and significantly less than twenty lbs of curb fat variance, general performance is absolutely equivalent possibly way you go. Pricing is also equivalent, starting up at $26,195 (like a $995 vacation spot demand) whether you decide on two doorways or four.

The price is the exact same whether you select two doorways or four.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

There usually are not a lot of choices on the table for the well-outfitted Si, but I might advocate forking more than the more 673 bucks for summertime tires, bringing you to a proposed price of $26,868. Which is about on par with what you would assume to spend for the softer-all-around-the-middle Jetta GLI. A significantly less refined but hell-of-a-large amount-extra-enjoyable option is the new Hyundai Veloster N, which starts off just underneath $29,000.

On the other hand, it truly is no shock that the Civic Si’s fiercest rival is also its oldest: the Volkswagen GTI. The VW is extra of a top quality automobile with nicer cabin supplies, an readily available twin-clutch automatic transmission, a larger sized eight-inch display screen with onboard navigation, a electronic instrument cluster and other options. Plus, it truly is a hatchback, which I love. On the other hand, the Honda starts off at about $2,000 significantly less than the GTI — which can nearly price itself suitable out of this course, if you’re not watchful.

The Honda Civic Si — a activity compact legend in its possess suitable — proceeds to glow as an fantastic performer and an fantastic general performance value, and the 2020 design yr receives even superior.