Sure, the Si is based on the workaday Civic, but the engine does a number on the coupe's personality. As hard as I tried, I couldn't leave a traffic light without letting the engine rev up to 5000 rpm. The sound is THAT good. And you really don't want to stay off the accelerator until at least 6800 rpm, when the sonorous VTEC sounds kick in. Then, suddenly, you want to stay on the throttle like there's no tomorrow. Inching closer to redline, it doesn't beg for an upshift, instead it wants more, more, more!
The interior is a dichotomy of comfort and utter infuriation. The seats are wonderfully bolstered, and the steering wheel's grip is perfect. But that nav system is stupidly slow. The same unit was fitted to Automobile Magazine's Four Seasons Honda Fit, and, sure, it wasn't the fastest on the market, but it did its job. This particular unit seemed to take days to respond to simple commands. To safely tune the radio, I had to pull over. Don't bother with iPod music unless you've uploaded all the music you want to hear to one playlist (the smart choice) or have a fortnight to plow through menus and yell at the car (the not-as-smart choice).
I don't think I would choose the Si as my daily driver, though, given that the GTI is within $3000 of the aging Civic's price. The Civic Si may have the pulse of a teenager, but it's no longer the sharpest dresser in homeroom.
- Jeffrey Jablansky, Associate Web Editor