I’ll start this off with a spicy take – I didn’t particularly like the outgoing Honda Civic. I took a 2020 Civic Si to Summit Point and hooned a Civic Type-R on New Jersey back roads. While the Type-R impressed, the old Si was a bit of a letdown – and both cars felt a bit big and “bathtubby.” Last fall, Honda threw me the keys to a 2022 Civic Touring for thirty minutes and I came away supremely impressed. Of course, first impressions can be misleading, so I requested a week in a new Civic to continue my evaluation. Given we cater to enthusiasts, I asked for the 2022 Honda Civic Si, and that’s what Honda delivered. In a color, no less!
The week with the new Civic Si confirmed my first impressions. This is a damn good car.
What Is It?
This is a 2022 Honda Civic Si. The Civic is all-new for the 2022 model year and of course, the performance-oriented Si is included as part of the lineup. Honda has stuck to the same formula as with past Civic Si models – hotter engine, manual transmission, slightly-upgraded hardware otherwise, still usable as a daily driver.
Every Civic Si is powered by the same 1.5 liter turbo four (dubbed “L15CA” for Honda nerds) producing 200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. Numbers queens – many of them my colleagues – have cried about the 2022 Si losing five horsepower compared to the prior gen, or “only” having 200 horsepower at all. Everyone is allowed an opinion, but I simply do not care. Honda tweaked the engine to bring torque in 300 rpm sooner, with a fairly flat curve from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm, and the power curve is also broader than before.
Alongside the engine tuning, Honda reduced the flywheel’s mass by 26 percent. That’s less weight for the engine to spin, meaning it’s easier to wind out. As with the tenth-gen Civic Si, a limited-slip differential is standard and the only transmission you can get is a six-speed manual. Honda’s revised the manual here, too, moving the shifter closer to the driver and reducing throws by ten percent. Automatic rev-matching is included, pulled from the outgoing Type-R.
Suspension and steering have been upgraded, too. Spring rates are up compared to a “regular” Civic sedan – eight percent higher up front and a whopping fifty-four percent out back – and paired to Si-specific dampers with reinforced mounts, bigger sway bars, and a variety of Type-R-sourced bits (compliance bushings and suspension arms) to help with more precise handling. A stiffer “torsion bar” connecting the steering shaft to the steering rack’s gearing supposedly improves steering feel.
Finally, brakes are upsized, with 12.3-inch front rotors and 11.1-inch rear rotors that are both larger than what you’ll find on a “plebian” Civic sedan.
Beyond all the driver-oriented bits, Honda’s built a nice interior, with Si-specific seats and otherwise-pleasing things to stare at and interact with. More on that in a bit.
MSRP of my 2022 Honda Civic Si HPT (with all-seasons due to weather where it was previously loaned) was $27,500.
Driving the 2022 Honda Civic Si
My immediate impression of that Civic Touring last fall was “wow, the steering,” and that impression carries through to the Civic Si. Steering offers great feel, is nicely weighted, and gives you good command over the front wheels. That sense of command and control is enhanced with a low dashboard and generally good visibility.
As you get moving, the clutch is – like the steering – nicely weighted. It’s easy in traffic and easy when you’re driving hard. The pedal travel is a bit long given where the engagement point sits, a higher clutch stop would make life a bit easier and work your leg a touch less. No matter, the clutch is linked to one of the best manual transmissions I’ve driven in a long time.
Many modern manuals are pretty uninspiring, with no feel to speak of and not much reward for doing things yourself. Honda has managed to retain that old-school, proper manual feel and it is a delight. The shifter is nicely weighted, shifts are crisp and throws are just the right length. Yes, there is still a bit of “rev hang” for emissions reasons, but it’s not so much to be annoying, as it was in the old car.
Now let’s talk about this engine, its power output, and why I don’t care what others think. Two hundred horsepower in 2022 sounds low, right? It is, to a point. But the 2022 Honda Civic Si is a car you can wind out and play with just about anywhere and have fun – without getting pulled over. Not enough people appreciate the “slow car fast” thing, but I do. And despite this L-series not doing insane cam-changeover like a Civic Si of two decades ago, it’s a good engine that is revvy and fun in a different kind of way.
Though Honda says peak torque comes in at 1,800 rpm, I found it to be most useable around 2,500 rpm. You have to keep your foot in it, and you’ll be downshifting to pass people on the highway – despite the turbo, it’s not a torque monster in sixth. But the shifter is so good that you’ll have fun with it and enjoy the whole process. It feels natural.
Downshifts! Let’s talk about Honda’s rev matching. It is a tool that works brilliantly on a racetrack if you are going for your best laps, but on the street, I preferred to turn it off and heel-toe myself. Honda has the pedals spaced perfectly for easy blipping, and when they’re set up so well… why let the car do the work?
As you downshift and lay in to the power, that limited-slip diff gets to work. Torque steer is nearly nonexistent and the car worked with me to put power down mid-corner every. single. time. The diff pairs to the suspension and steering to inspire gobs of confidence with a well-sorted chassis underneath you. And the whole car weighs under 3,000 pounds – a modern, four-door sport sedan under 3,000 is wild, to me anyway.
Tires were the only downfall – my test car came on the “non-HPT” Goodyear all-seasons, and they are bad in anything but perfect weather. Despite just 2,600 miles on the odometer, the front wanted to wash out on damp roads, drying out from rain the night before. I would recommend the HPT package to get grippier summer tires for a few hundred dollars extra, or budgeting for a tire of your choice.
“Oh, But It’s Missing Features”
Several people made comments about feature count while I had the Civic Si in my possession. Again, I didn’t care. Yes, it’s true that in Canada, Honda builds the Civic Si using a higher-trim Civic as its starting point. In the United States, they start with a more basic car and omit features like fog lights, a fully digital dash, heated seats, and so on. And it just doesn’t matter.
The core of the 2022 Honda Civic Si is good. It’s got great seats, a good-for-the-class Bose sound system, automatic climate control, and driver assistance tech paired to a manual… something the ’22 Subaru WRX doesn’t get, ope. In my week with the car, the only thing I really missed was heated seats, for the few early-morning minutes heading to Katies Cars & Coffee before the sun rose and produced a 93-degree day.
For those who desperately want a 2022 Honda Civic Si with heated leather seats and more stuff that doesn’t make the core driving experience better, Acura will sell you an Integra. In the meantime, Honda focused on keeping the price where they wanted it and the car is plenty well-equipped for a 2022 model year. You either appreciate the focus and simplicity or you don’t.
It took very little time to write this review, because I feel so passionately about this car. That’s not often the case. I drive plenty of cars that are good or great (or just fine) but it’s rare to drive a car and still feel some kinda way about it a month later. Honda has a home run on their hands – in my book – between the performance, price tag, and plain ol’ ability to have fun on the street.
But sure, it only has two hundred horsepower.