I've spent four nights jumping between the Volkswagen GTI and this Civic Si, cars that, arguably, cater to the same demographic and that cost about the same. After all this back and forth, I think I'd take my $22,000 to the VW dealer.
That's not to say the Honda isn't enjoyable. After the S2000's demise last year, the Si is the most enthusiast-oriented model left in Honda's portfolio. The 8000-rpm redline is insane, and the little four-banger transforms from Jekyll to Hyde around the 6000-rpm mark.
It can be fun, especially if I'm mashing the go pedal -- but I'm not always driving with my right foot glued to the floor. But while the GTI just as involving as the Honda when racing over back roads, it feels much more mature. As fun as it is to rev Honda's four-banger, the GTI's turbo engine is amazingly smooth and doesn't need to be thrashed within an inch of its life to get to the meat of the torque band. And personally, I also find the GTI's cabin a little more sophisticated and accommodating to my husky 5'10" frame, but part of that sensation lies with the powertrain itself.
The Civic Si will certainly appease the boy racer within, but for those who also look for comfort and refinement along with their performance, the GTI gets the nod.
- Evan McCausland, Web Producer