Every single time I drive an automatic Honda Civic, it reminds me of just how good its manual sibling drives. I’ve driven countless Si models over the years, and it seems like each one is better than the last. Earlier this summer, the 2013 Civic Si Coupe was in my garage for a week, and it was one great week. The one thing I kept hearing was that my Sunburst Orange tester looked like something a 16-year old would drive. As soon as this gorgeous black 2013 Honda Civic Si HFP arrived on the Canadian media fleet, I knew I had to drive it.
It’s one of those cars that just doesn’t get old for me. It’s not much different than last year’s. The HFP package brings a bunch of little things like 18” alloys, a limited-slip differential, an HFP suspension package, nostalgic red HFP floor mats, and a few other toys. The Si HFP also comes with everything that the regular Si comes with, including a reverse camera, navigation system, and sport seats. The Civic sedan has been overhauled heavily for 2013, but the Coupé has only minor changes. For instance, the thing I noticed most is the reverse camera on this model. On a car so small, it’s not needed, but it’s a bonus that you wouldn’t get on most hot hatches/coupés.
The 2.4L 4-cylinder with i-VTEC is the same as last year’s model, and is the same as in the standard-issue Civic Si and the Acura ILX Dynamic. With 201 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque, it’s a wonderful motor and an absolute screamer. I like forced induction; there’s something extremely satisfying about hearing a turbocharger spool right up as you stomp on the throttle. Despite this, I can’t help but fall in love with the Civic Si’s naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder wail as you push it right into the redline. There are these gimmicky but cool i-VTEC lights on the instrument cluster that make you feel sixteen all over again while you’re rowing through the gears.
I’ve said this in every single Honda or Acura review I’ve ever written, but I’ll say it again. The clutch and shifter of the 6-speed manual transmission are the strongest point of this car. The silky smooth clutch operation and the buttery-perfect Honda shifter are what make the Civic Si the easiest of its competitors to deal with on a daily basis. Even with its front-wheel-drive handicap, the Si HFP would be my choice over competitors like the Scion FR-S or the Hyundai Genesis Coupé.
I had the opportunity to test last year’s Civic HFP models on an autocross-type course on an airport runway. It really opened up my eyes to the capabilities of this car. The 18” HFP-unique alloy wheels are wrapped with Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, which are well-known in the enthusiast world as being some of the best performance tires. They grip incredibly well on dry pavement and make the Civic Si one of the best-handling front-wheel-drive cars on the market. Coming from the former owner of a Mini Cooper (also on Michelin Pilot Super Sports), that’s quite a bold statement. The HFP definitely pays homage to its deceased cousin, the Integra Type-R.
What really sells me on the Civic Si (and to some degree, the HFP) is the value for your dollar. The regular Si Coupé, at just over $26,000, comes standard with alloy wheels, a sunroof, heated seats, a backup camera, and a navigation system. Things like USB connectivity, Bluetooth, and a full body skirt package are also standard. Optioning out a 3-door Volkswagen GTI with similar options puts you over $35,000.
One question that people kept asking me about this car is whether or not the HFP package is really worth the price of admission. It’s a pretty unique car sold in very limited numbers, so for the exclusivity alone, I’d say yes. As a car guy, I always appreciate a unique vehicle that isn’t just like every other cookie-cutter car on the road. That being said, the HFP doesn’t look all that different from the regular Si, and doesn’t perform that differently either. Its gorgeous wheels and unique skirts make it inarguably the best-looking Civic sold on these shores, but it’s still a Civic Si underneath.
The Honda Civic Si is a car that I’m absolutely in love with. I can drive the snot out of it all day long and still get less than 8.5L/100km. It puts a smile on my face every single time I drive it, and best of all, it’s comfortable enough for everyday use. Personally, I’d take the cash I would save buying a regular Si over the HFP model and invest it into some good rust protection for years to come. I’d use some of it on some clear film protection from stone chips and some detailing products to make sure I have a perfect, gorgeous car even when it’s getting up there in age. It’s one car that has won a place in my heart, and that’s not an easy feat these days.
2013 Honda Civic Si HFP Gallery