SEATTLE, WA — If there’s one thing we know about Honda Civic lovers, it’s that they’re loyal customers and many like to make performance tweaks. While Honda stopped making the Prelude, long ago, you can rekindle some of that magic in its 2020 Civic Coupe SI. This sports model of the Civic has some added features that help give it a far more sporty feel to it than the other models in the line-up.
Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about this Civic is its rather polarizing styling. While the current generation Civic looks somewhat similar, the SI model ratchets things up a bit. You’ll notice the blacked-out wheels and the rear spoiler right off the bat and if you look closer, you’ll see its mono-exhaust tip in the middle of the back of the car.
Under the hood, we find a turbocharged 1.5L engine that’s good for 205 horsepower. Armed with the six-speed manual gearbox, you’ll find it moves the car from zero to sixty in just over six seconds. Not a record-breaker by any stretch but still rather zippy. One of the reasons the car is zippy is due to its relative light curb-weight at a mere 2,889 pounds. The EPA gives an economy rating of 26 miles per gallon around town and up to 36 on the highway. However, bear in mind, that because it has a rather small fuel tank, you’ll still be filling up the tank more often than you may want to.
The sportiness of this SI model extends into the interior as well. From the great-looking stripe patterns on the seats to the way most of the surfaces feel. Sure, there’s some plastic used, however, the overall impression comes across as rather well-appointed.
Front seat comfort is on-point and is rather good for a car in this price range, however, the rear lacks any real legroom for anyone older than 12.
Our biggest disappointment is with the sound-quality – or lack thereof- with the infotainment system. We’d like to think that for a premium model of the Civic family, Honda would have pulled out all the stops. Sure, there’s support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – as well as Bluetooth audio, AM/FM/XM/CD, etc. But the audio quality was far below what we were hoping for. Honda would do well to talk with the folks at JBL or Harman/Kardon.
Driver aids include blind-spot alerts, front-collision warning and braking, parking sensors, pedestrian sensors, land departure warning, passenger-side view with a side-mount camera for easy lane changes, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.
You’ll find that the handling of this car is very nimble. It has a slightly stiffer suspension than other Civic models, as well as adaptive dampers, and loves to be driven hard on windy roads. Sure, it’s not the fastest thing out there, but it’s not supposed to be. That’s what the Civic R-Type is for. The steering wheel has a very nice weightiness to it and provides a great sense of tactical feedback to the driver.
For its price point of around $26k, it’s one of the most fun cars going. Nevermind the exhaust note that could sound a lot better or its styling (if you’re not digging it) – the Civic SI is a helluva a lot of fun to drive for the money and is rather economical to boot.