I envy the lucky kids who are fortunate enough to own one of these cars, and not just because they're several decades younger than this old codger. In terms of safe and enjoyable speed, there is no finer ride than a Honda with a capital S somewhere in its name. You get a wild engine that revs to the stars, a shifter/clutch combo that's a joy to exercise, and a stylish yet functional interior and exterior. Consumption of precious natural resources and environmental impact are both modest in every version of the Honda Civic. The only detail I'd change is a location swap between the speedometer and the tachometer to give the rev counter the top billing it deserves. The $25,000 price for a new Si is a bit steep for my budget, but overall this is the perfect reward for model children of any age.
This gearbox is an absolute blast! Sure, it's not quite as visceral as the one in the S2000 CR that we recently enjoyed, but this most muscular Civic is a more practical, economical choice that's still quite fun to drive. The Si is a great second fiddle to that aspirational S2000 roadster, and since the venerable Dodge Neon SRT4 is dead, I think I'd choose the Si over its sport-compact competitors from Chevy, Mazda, and Dodge.
Honda calls the Civic Si the "hot rod" of the Honda lineup. While I wouldn't go that far, I will say that, with its high-revving in line four-cylinder and slick six-speed manual transmission, the Civic Si is entertaining to drive, as it's always eager to dive into corners and sprint away from a stop. Inside, the seats are firmly bolstered for when you take that corner a little too quickly, and the cockpit is well designed, both with regards to ergonomics and with the quality and fit of the materials. And to top it all off, the Si is practical, with 60/40-split folding rear seats that help provide extra cargo. Of course, you have to pay a pretty hefty premium over a base Civic, but the enjoyment factor should account for something when you're toting up the return on your investment.
It takes a special mindset to really turn on the fun in the Civic Si. Running the engine to the 8000-rpm redline is hardly a natural action. Sure, the 2.0-liter is smooth and quick to rev, but you certainly feel like you're calling a lot of attention to yourself (especially in a bright red car) with your foot planted for so long as the howling engine announces your juvenile maturity to anyone within a half-mile.
2009 Honda Civic Si Coupe