2022 Honda Civic Si Sedan First Look Review: The Math Checks Out

It takes a lot of math to build a car, and even a math-challenged automotive journalist can recognize a formula that works: Add a bit more power, make it handle better, tighten up the transmission, and don’t charge too much more for it. It’s not meant to be the ultimate performance Civic; that’s the Type R. The 2022 Honda Civic Si sedan looks to be the latest result of that time-tested formula.

The 2022 Civic Si will only be available as a four-door sedan, though it does steal a couple bits from the Type R hatchback, though. Both affect the manual transmission, the only option on an Si. One is the Type R’s automatic rev-matching feature, which can thankfully be turned off as it can on the Type R. No one wants to drop a bad, possibly expensive, shift, but we learn by doing, not having the computer do it for us. Switching to Sport mode disables it, or you can disable it permanently by going into the Vehicle Settings menu.

The other is a Drive Mode switch with a customizable Individual mode where you can set the throttle response, steering weight, and instrument panel graphics. Selecting Sport mode takes care of the rev-match, weights up the steering, amps up the throttle response, and kills the automatic engine stop/start system.

The Mechanical Bits

Even without activating special modes, the engine response promises to be more exciting. While the Civic Si still rocks the same turbocharged 1.5-liter I-4 as before, it’s been fitted with a lighter single-mass flywheel while should help it rev more freely. A change in tuning knocks five horsepower off the peak, but Honda says the result is more torque at low rpm and more power at high rpm, both of which would address direct complaints we made about the old Si. The 2022 Civic Si makes an even 200 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and now won’t fall off as quickly between there and the 6,500 rpm redline. Its peak torque of 192 lb-ft now arrives 300 rpm earlier and hangs on from 1,800 rpm to 5,000 rpm.

Making the most of that power is a mildly revised six-speed manual with a standard helical limited-slip differential. Though it’s carried over from the previous car, along with the engine, Honda’s done a bit of tweaking to shorten the shift throws slightly and improve feel. Neither needed any improving as the Si already had one of the best shifters you can buy on a new car today, but we’re not complaining. As before, it’s front-wheel drive only.

Dynamic Differences

Powertrain sorted, Honda turned its attention to making the already well-handling Civic drive like an Si. An updated chassis that boasts an 8 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a 13 percent improvement in bending stiffness is a great start, plus there’s that longer wheelbase and wider track. From there, Honda increased the front spring rate by 8 percent and the rear by 54 percent. The anti-roll bars are stiffer, featuring a 27 mm hollow bar up front and an 18 mm solid bar in the rear. Stiffer suspension bushings and steering components round out the handling checklist.

Interestingly, Honda has done away with the old car’s two-mode shock absorbers after getting mixed feedback. Instead, the new Si has fixed-rate dampers the company claims offers a balance between the two previous modes.

Unlike the old car, Honda did mess with the brakes on this new Si. Now, the front rotors are 1.2 inches larger up front than a standard Civic and 0.9-inch larger in the rear. While the company hasn’t specified, it’s likely the pads have been swapped out for a higher-performance compound. This is another area where the Si didn’t really need improvement, but we welcome it regardless.

Making all the grip for the engine and brakes to work with are standard all-season tires and optional summer tires, 235/40 all around on exclusive matte-black 18-inch rims.

Interior Updates

Inside, the biggest update from the standard Civic are the Si seats. With any luck, the black-and-red chairs will retain the same excellent balance of comfort and support of the past generation. As before, the black-and-red theme permeates the cabin, from the contrast stitching to the door card inserts to the trim around the vents.

The 9-inch infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are connected to a 12-speaker Bose stereo system. The old Si’s screen was nothing special, and this one will greatly improve functionality and ease of use. The Si is nominally based off the Civic EX trim level, so the big screen, wireless functionality, and bangin’ stereo are big gets.

Elsewhere, Honda has updated the shift knob to a shape similar to the Type R’s, but still a leather and aluminum affair like the old Si. Engineers have also tweaked the engine noise enhancement software in the stereo to make it sound better.

Exterior Enhancements

On the outside, you’ll know the Si by its black trunk lid spoiler from a mile away. Other cues include dual exhaust tips, the aforementioned black wheels, and a blacked-out grille. Plus, you know, Si badges front and rear. The Blazing Orange Pearl paint shown here is also an Si exclusive.

Being based on the new Civic also means the Si picks up all the standard active and passive safety equipment it didn’t have previously. Included are things like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assistance with lane centering, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control.

The Price and the On-Sale Date

Honda isn’t talking price yet, but based on the previous Si, we expect it to be quite affordable. Previously, you could pick one up for as little as $26,130 out the door. With the extra features on this generation, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the price go up a bit, but it’ll likely still be a steal.

We have confirmed Honda will continue to sell only two specs, the standard Si with all-season tires and the Si HPT (High Performance Tires) with summer tires. Otherwise, options will be limited to things like paint color. We have also confirmed that with the death of the Civic Coupe body style. The Si will only be offered as a sedan and not a hatchback (that’s the Type R’s thing).

While Honda hasn’t provided an exact date for sales to being, we’re told the Si will be available by the end of this year.

Source: Read Full Article