The 2020 Honda Civic Si coupe isn’t much different than the last Civic Si coupe I drove three years ago. Except perhaps a slight facelift and some subtle interior updates, the car is essentially the same. Why am I driving it then? Because Honda recently announced it’s killing off the Civic coupe by the end of this year. This also means the Civic Si coupe will leave the lineup. And that makes me sad, because I’m about to lose one of my all-time favorite sport compact cars.
What A Legacy
It’s weird that the 2020 Honda Civic Si coupe is both the final model-year, but also the year it gets a facelift. Don’t worry, the Civic Si sedan will remain in the lineup, and Honda should definitely offer this in hatchback form for the next generation.Still, loosing the Civic coupe is a big deal as it has one hell of a legacy behind it. The Civic coupe was arguably the sportiest-looking of the lineup and the most modified throughout its long history, especially after everyone saw three of them being driven by the bad guys in the first Fast and the Furious movie. My personal favorite Civic of all time remains the SiR (Civic Si in the U.S.) coupe of the late nineties. It was lightweight, fun and had VTEC, looked rad.For 2020, the basic Civic Si formula remains relatively unchanged, albeit some updated exterior and interior changes, revised transmission gearing and new standard driver assist features. I’m personally not finding this current-generation Civic is ageing well, but I do find the coupe to remain the prettiest one of the lineup. Not sure about the HDMI-looking rear exhaust though. The most notable exterior changes this year come from new front and rear bumpers as well as standard LED headlights and new matte-black 18-inch wheels. That huge wing also remains there, but it actually fits well on the coupe.Inside, the Si gets more red accents as well as a digitally amplified exhaust sound when the car is set to Sport mode. I personally hate that last one, which I’ll get back to in a bit.Power from the 1.5-liter turbocharged four remains identical as last year. It’s rated at 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. The only available gearbox, a six-speed manual, now gets a quicker final-drive ratio for improved acceleration. Front-wheel-drive is still the only way to go for the Si, with a claimed 0-100 km/h time of about 6.2 seconds.Pricing for the Si remains value-packed, and the base MSRP only went up about $1,000 since the last time I drove it. At $31,060 the Si comes full loaded as a unique package. The only available options are the $300 paint colors like this Platinum White Pearl and an $1,183 body kit. It’s honestly a great value.
Still So Sweet To Drive
I gotta say, even though this current Civic Si is an entirely different car than its predecessors, it still hits the spot for good old sport injected Honda fun. Remember, the Si’s role in the lineup was never to be a track monster. That space is left for the top-flight Civic Type R. Instead, the Si offers the daily driveability of a standard Civic with just the right amount of extra performance.An Si not only gets more power over a Civic Sport, it also gets adaptive dampers, a helical limited-slip front differential, a revised suspension and slightly beefier brakes.Unlike past VTEC models though, the 2020 Honda Civic Si delivers its power in a decidedly more mature manner. Gone are the days where you need to rev the crap out of the engine to obtain performance. This turbocharged Civic now offers a good dose of low-end torque, which prevents you from downshifting all the time. It’s a great engine, but I do miss the high-pitch yelp of the old cars.I’m also not a fan of its synthesized exhaust sound when you put the thing in Sport mode. Honda, why don’t you just do like the Hyundai Veloster N? That thing sounds nuts. At least, Sport mode actually does things, as it firms up the car’s adaptive dampers and sets this Civic up for ultimate cornering attack. It’s a fantastic little car to flog into a corner, and it provides the right amount of power to have good old fashion fun with it.Perhaps its best feature is how light everything feels. While the current Honda Civic is a very big car compared to its predecessors – weighing in at a lofty 2,889 pounds – it feels rather nimble and light on its feet when you’re pushing it hard.Steering is very vague though, with no actual sign of feedback, but there’s also no torque steer which is great. The clutch feels as light as the car itself, makes this Si very easy to daily drive. And don’t get me started on that manual shifter. It’s arguably the best one of any car, ever. It’s slick, precise, fun to row and looks cool as hell too.Inside, the 2020 Honda Civic Si remains a pleasant place to be. While the current Civic’s styling may be questioned by many, it nailed cabin ergonomics and design four years ago and remains fresh today. What I particularly like is how well-laid out everything is. Seating position is spot on, the center console is a giant cave in which you can dump virtually everything and the car’s instrument cluster is a large, clear digital display on which it’s super easy to find all the information you need.That said, the Civic’s infotainment system remains a disaster. Honda tried to fix it by adding a volume knob and a few physical buttons, but the touch-heavy controls associated with the unintuitive layout of the menus lead to a system that’s more distracting than useful. The good news is that it connects easy to Android Auto (which is what I use), and makes good use of it, so there’s that.At the end of the day though, the 2020 Honda Civic Si retains all the charm of the standard Civic and infuses it with just the right amount of sportiness to make any automotive enthusiast smile. It’s a formula that has ensured the Civic Si to remain among the best sport compact cars currently on sale for over three decades, a direct rival, if you will, the the Volkswagen Golf GTI. This is why losing the coupe variant makes me sad.While definitely not the most practical one of the Civic family, the Civic coupe has long been the wild child, the rebel, if you will, of the entire Civic lineup. Seeing it go is like seeing a large chunk of my youth die. Buy one and lock it up in a barn until it’s worth twice its original price.
Review of the 2020 Honda Civic Si Coupe by William Clavey
Sport Compact Cars
- Quick, fun and precise
- A great value
- Class-leading interior ergonomics
- Infuriating infotainment system
- Synthesized exhaust sound
- Limited practicality
8.5 / 10
Clavey’s Corner is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Prices and trim levels discussed in this article reflect the Canadian car market.
Special thanks: Honda Canada
Photography: Guillaume Fournier
Contact the author: [email protected]