New for the 2017 model year; this generation of Civic Si is a significant departure from the high revving, naturally aspirated Si’s that came before it. Now powered by a version of the 1.5l turbocharged inline four that is optional on less sporty Civic trim levels and found in several other honda vehicles, the Si has lost the high revving character that defined earlier versions of the car. The trade off is greatly increased fuel economy when cruising and an abundance of low RPM torque which makes normal driving much easier. In addition to the upgraded engine the Civic Si comes standard with wider tires, 2 mode adjustable dampers, and a limited slip differential. A six speed manual is the only transmission available.
2017 Honda Civic Si Driving Impressions
The Si benefits greatly from the improvements to the 10th generation Civic platform. The seating position is very low and feels extremely sporty compared to competitors like the Volkswagen GTI and Ford Focus ST. The shifter is perfectly placed and lives up to Honda’s reputation for amazing shifting feel but the clutch pedal is on the lighter side. Acceleration is solid and feels appropriate for the class of car. Where the Si really impresses is it’s balance of handling and ride quality. Even in the firmer of the two suspension settings the ride is forgiving and fantastic on long trips. The chassis stays extremely flat through corners and is very communicative if you come into a corner too hot. LIke with basically all front drive cars the default response to carrying too much speed into a corner is safe understeer. Steering feel is a little numb but the initial turn in quick ratio feels great. There is virtually no detectable torque steer and you can really feel the limited slip differential working to put the power down if you get on the gas early in a corner.
The only performance option to speak of is a set of summer tires. Our tester had the all seasons which affected lateral G’s and braking distance somewhat. However, the lower grip of these tires allowed for some fun chassis rotation at lower speed thresholds when driving hard. The increased grip of the summer tires may not lead to increased fun in that regard.
2017 Honda Civic Si Design
The 10th gen Civic got wider, longer, lower, and more aggressive looking compared to the unloved 9th generation. The Si does not do much to set itself apart from the more pedestrian civics in the range. A unique rear bumper and center exhaust, a low profile spoiler (slightly raised on the coupe), and the front bumper shared with the Civic hatchback are the key differences. Very large (fake) air intakes on the front and rear dominate the design. The overall profile is sleek and attractive however.
Inside, the Si get’s sport seats with a fixed headrest. These are well bolstered but comfortable on long trips. The dashboard is dressed up slightly with a fake carbon fiber looking trim piece and minor additions of red stitching here and there. The red instrument cluster does a nice job of telling you that you are in something sportier than the normal civic though. Front and rear seat space is excellent and all of the controls are well laid out. This has been said, but the lack of a physical volume knob and fan speed controls continues to be a huge misstep on an otherwise well executed cabin. This has been addressed for the 2020 model year.
The 2017 Civic Si is truly a joy to drive. The superb balance of efficiency, performance, handling, and comfort is difficult to find at any price point. The chassis tuning, steering, and shifting feel are really what sets this car apart from other Civics and the competition. A roomy cabin and impressive list of standard features make this a great daily driver even if you are not hitting the canyons on your day off.
The huge fake vents, especially on the rear bumper, are not aesthetically pleasing. Civic Si’s of previous generations were subtly set apart from the “normal” Civic of the time but did so while remaining classy and understated. The more extreme design elements of the 10th gen could be off-putting to some. Another problem that I have not mentioned yet is rev hang. This is really common on modern manual transmission cars in this price range but it truly does detract from the experience and make the car harder to drive smoothly. When accelerating and lifting off the throttle the RPMs stay where they are for half a second instead of dropping immediately like you would expect. I would also say that although the 1.5 liter is an impressive engine, it’s sporting character is a downgrade from the 2.4 liter in the previous generation Si. It does make the car more efficient and easier to drive but revving the engine out when driving aggressively is part of what made previous Si’s feel special. This is a better engine for daily driving but not a more satisfying one for when the roads get twisty.
2017 Honda Civic Si Value
At under $25,000 the Civic Si is truly one of the best automotive bargains currently for sale. Standard features include heated seats, sunroof, side view camera, automatic headlights, and a touch screen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Plus a fantastic six speed manual, adjustable suspension, mechanical limited slip differential, and over 200 horsepower in a 3000 pound car. I personally don’t believe there is a better all around value daily driver for someone who wants something that is truly fun to drive as well. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone as long as they are willing to drive a manual transmission.
The 2017 Civic Si is a massive improvement over the car that preceded it. The balance of impressive performance, efficiency, and comfort is hard to find at any price point; to say nothing of the fact that it can be had for under $25,000. While it may lack some of the characteristics that have made the Civic Si a sport compact staple throughout the 90’s and 2000’s; it is just as much fun as it ever was and perhaps an even better value. This is a fantastic car for anyone who values driving enjoyment at an excellent price.