Editors I now call colleagues wrote about great sports coupes from the ‘80s and ‘90s — like the Honda CRX, Nissan 240SX, and Toyota MR2 — and a generation of young men, like myself, clung to every word. No one intended for us, now grown, to feel like we’d be happier with just-vintage sports coupes than, say, a 2014 Honda Civic Si — but that’s what happened.
Don’t buy a Craigslist Bimmer
Fellow young men: The 2014 Honda Civic Si is the car you should be driving. “But what about steering feel and wafer-thin A-pillars and throttle bodies attached to cables, not wires?” Don’t matter. Three years ago, my best friend test-drove a Civic Si before buying his 1986 BMW 325es. Today, he’s falling in love with his Civic Si while he waits for one of you to naively answer his Craigslist posting for the Bimmer.
Taking the Si to the track
To make my point, I’m taking a new Si coupe to an open track day at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. For 2014, the Si benefits from better suspension dampers, higher-rate coil springs, and a stiffer rear anti-roll bar. Its high-revving, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine gets four more hp and lb-ft of torque and is still bolted to a fantastic-feeling six-speed manual transmission. Performance tires are a $200 option, but our coupe came on stock, all-season rubber.
Turning lap after lap after lap
Coming up to a right-hander at the end of a long straight, I’m hard on the brakes and heel-and-toe shift from fourth to third to second gear. I touch the accelerator and balance the Si though the turn. Steering is precise but light, and body roll is noticeable but not stomach-churning. Coming out of the corner, the engine quickly spins to its 7000-rpm redline. I grab the leather-wrapped ball shift knob and fluidly change back into third gear. I turn lap after lap for twenty minutes and put down a best lap time of 2:02, very respectable for this track.
Fun on the road, fun on a road course
The Si is fantastic, on and off of the road course. My three-hour drive home from the track was comfortable and uneventful, which is what you want after a day of high-speed passes and close calls. And on my drive home, I never thought, “Will my car start back up when I stop for gas?” That would’ve bounced around my brain nonstop had I been driving one of those just-vintage sports coupes I’d yearned for as a youngster. And there’s no way I would’ve enjoyed racing one of them around Gingerman as much as I did a 2014 Honda Civic Si coupe.
2014 Honda Civic Si coupe
- Base price $23,580
- As-tested price $25,080
- Engine 2.4-liter I-4
- Power 205 hp
- Torque 174 lb-ft
- Transmission 6-speed manual
- Drive Front-wheel
- Fuel economy 22/31 mpg (city/highway)