i-VTEC just kicked in, yo!
For daily driving, few cars beat the fun factor of the Civic Si.
Last August, I spent a week with the 2012 Civic Si Coupé equipped with the HFP package. It was a phenomenal week, and I discovered what I would later name my favourite car under $30,000 for calendar year 2012. I wasn’t quite sure as to whether it was the HFP package or the Si’s overall personality that led me to like it so much, so when I was offered a week with the 2013 Honda Civic Si, I gladly obliged.
The numbers on the Civic Si aren’t all that impressive; the little two-door is equipped with the same 2.4L 4-cylinder and 6-speed manual combination as last year’s car. This year, the Si puts out 201 horsepower and 170 foot-pounds of torque. With newbies such as the Ford Focus ST and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ right in line, the Civic Si struggles to keep up. The Toyobaru twins’ rear-wheel-drive setups put them ahead in terms of a purist driving experience.
Since I have made it no secret that I absolutely adore both the Scion FR-S as well as the Civic Si, I was questioned numerous times over my test week which car I would prefer. The answer to this isn’t as clear as one would think; if I were doing a lot of tracking or autocross, the FR-S would be my pick. However, for daily driving, few cars beat the fun factor of the Si. While the FR-S and BRZ focus on making everything perfect in terms of the driving experience, the Si has enough creature comforts to make every commute to work pleasant.
See, here’s the argument. I consider myself a purist and an enthusiast. Therefore ideally, I would have a sporty yet comfortable daily driver (preferably with rear or all-wheel-drive) and then a dedicated weekend toy. The Civic Si is the perfect (yes, I used that word) car for someone on a budget who can only have the one car. Time and time again I see these newer Si Coupés on the autocross circuit or at track days. The front-wheel-drive setup doesn’t really seem to hold the cars back; they’re absolutely wonderful to throw around. The shifter is absolutely beautiful (from a Honda, I’ve now started to take this for granted) and the clutch is the perfect level of light.
Priced at a very reasonable $25,245, the 2013 Civic Si comes with literally everything I would want. A navigation system, satellite radio, heated seats, and a slightly gimmicky set of lights that indicates i-VTEC. In fact, this “older” navigation system is much easier to use and a bit more intuitive than the one in the Accord. I’m a huge fan. Unlike virtually anything else in its class, the Civic Si comes only equipped one way and comes with everything you would want. For an extra couple thousand bucks, the HFP package is available with some more goodies; but really, the Si is nearly perfect as it is.
Nearly. I guess nobody’s perfect, and I have yet to drive a car that is. Some have come pretty darn close though. The Honda Civic Si’s front-wheel-drive holds it back from being a truly incredible handler like the FR-S, but it’s still pretty sweet in the corners. Its biggest flaw in my eyes is that it’s a Civic, and it doesn’t hide that fact. The Si isn’t a sports car; it’s a sporty version of an economy car. I’ve done a lot of reading over the years because I’ve personally come pretty close to buying an Si a few times. People have suggested implementation of things such as all-wheel-drive or forced induction. I disagree completely; all-wheel-drive would make the Civic far too heavy, and a turbocharger would eliminate the fun-factor of i-VTEC. Every car has its flaws, but at least this one has a personality I’ll never forget.
Every few months I go through a phase where I scour the Internet trying to find a mint-condition, low mileage Honda S2000. I used to wish that Honda would bring back a car with those driving dynamics, that screamer of an engine, and the automotive equivalent of a supermodel. Unfortunately, it also still has the “cost of ownership” that a supermodel has. The 2013 Honda Civic Si is the girl with the looks of a supermodel, and the personality that you want to take home to meet your parents. It’s the keeper; the one you want to give your all to. I promise, this sporty Civic is the girl that is worth every ounce of effort you give it, because it will keep you happy every single minute you spend with it.
2013 Honda Civic Si Gallery