Buyers shopping for a sporty ‘warm’ small car in Australia are limited to a pair of Hyundai and Kia twins. But in the US, there’s another option from Honda.
Is a standard 2022 Honda Civic is not enough, but a Type R a step too far? North America’s 2022 Honda Civic Si might be for you – but don’t expect to see it in Australia any time soon.
While the Civic Si badge hasn’t been seen in Australia for a decade, in the US it’s the nameplate Honda has applied to the sporty version of the Civic for 40 years – as a substitute for the Type R, which wasn’t sold in the US until 2017.
Once offered with the same power output as the Type R sold elsewhere, today’s US-market Civic Si has been repositioned as a rival for our Hyundai i30 N Line and Kia Cerato GT (sold in the US under different names).
But despite its rivals selling well in Australia, the Civic Si is only offered as a sedan, and built exclusively in left-hand-drive in the US – ruling it out for Australia, where the Civic line-up consists of a few Japanese-built, right-hook hatchback variants.
Powering the Civic Si is a retuned version of the standard Civic’s 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, developing 149kW and 260Nm – up 15kW/20Nm on the regular Civic.
While those outputs are par for the ‘warm’ sedan class, they’re 1kW/5Nm less than the Korean twins, 4kW down on the old Civic Si with the same engine, and only 2kW (and, albeit, 72Nm) more than a 100kg-lighter eighth-generation Civic Si sold 15 years ago.
Despite being down on power, Honda says the new engine produces peak power for longer – and develops peak torque 300rpm lower in the rev range – towards a 6500rpm redline.
Drive is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual only – no automatic is available – with a helical limited-slip differential and a lighter single-mass flywheel (compared to the old Si’s dual-mass unit).
Honda doesn’t quote a claimed 0-100km/h time, however independent testing in the US and Canada suggests a figure of just under seven seconds.
The six-speed manual features a Type R-style electronic rev-matching system and a 10 per cent shorter throw than the old Si, while a dual-coil silencer exhaust system claims to increase exhaust flow by 27 per cent over a standard Civic.
Over the standard Civic sedan, the Si gains sports suspension with stiffer springs (eight per cent front, 54 per cent rear) and new dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, stiffer bushings and suspension arms, and a stiffer steering components for improved feel.
The brakes measure 312mm up front and 282mm at the rear – 31mm and 23mm larger respectively than the standard Civic, or 7mm and 20mm larger than a manual i30 N Line – while 18-inch wheels wrapped in 235/40 tyres fill the arches.
The Si sedan differentiates itself visually through the hatchback’s sportier front bumper (with a honeycomb upper grille), plus a unique lower rear bumper, dual exhaust tips, a gloss black rear spoiler, and gloss black mirror caps and window surrounds.
The sports model can also be specified in a unique Blazing Orange Pearl colour, joining red, blue, white, silver, black and other carry-over finishes.
Inside, upgrades include single-piece front sports seats trimmed in red and black fabric, red contrast stitching, red dashboard trim and door card inserts, and alloy sports pedals.
The drive mode selector in the centre console unlocks an Si-specific Individual mode, allowing for customisation of the engine, steering, instrument cluster and rev matching.
While the US-market Civic Si gets a 7.0-inch instrument cluster, Canadian models gain a full 10.25-inch digital dashboard, alongside heated front and outboard rear seats, parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, fog lights, and wireless phone charging.
The Canadian Si sedan is better aligned with Australia’s single Civic hatchback model grade (until the hybrid and Type R arrive), the highly-specified, automatic-only VTi LX.
Using the VTi LX’s $47,200 drive-away local price – and the six per cent difference between an equivalent hatch and an Si in Canada – expect a Civic Si to cost the equivalent of $45,000 drive-away if it was sold in Australia.
That’s about $3000 more than an auto-only Hyundai i30 Sedan N Line Premium, or a more significant $7000 more than the auto Kia Cerato GT sedan – though it’s $4000 cheaper than a ‘base’ Hyundai i30 N hatch or all-wheel-drive Subaru WRX sedan.
An ‘entry-level’ Volkswagen Golf GTI now costs beyond $60,000 on the road – and while pricing has yet to be confirmed, the next Civic Type R hatch is likely to cost $65,000 or $70,000 drive-away in Australia.
However, that’s all little more than speculation, as there are no plans to sell the 2022 Honda Civic Si in Australia.
Should Honda Australia bring the Civic Si to local shores? Would you buy one over an i30 N Line, at $45,000?
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.