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Is the base Honda Civic too slow? Is the Honda Civic Type R too rare and expensive? Honda built a middle ground, and it’s called the Civic Si. The Honda Civic Si is a performance variant of the iconic front-wheel-drive econobox and has been since the mid-80s, with a couple of brief sabbaticals. Now that the 2022 Honda Civic Si is here, does it hold a candle to its previous generations? Of course, it’s faster than previous generations, but does it capture what Honda spent all those decades building? Here are some specs to get started.

Honda Civic Si releases as part of the third generation

1986 Honda Civic CRX Si parked outside
1986 Honda Civic CRX Si | Honda

The third-generation Honda Civic introduced the Si in 1986 and was by no means a neanderthal. It used the third iteration of the EW engine, a 1.5-liter inline-four with direct injection and 90 horsepower. It preceded the infamous “D-Series” engine, which found its way into the next-generation Honda Civic.

Second-generation Honda Civic Si gets stiffer suspension

1989 Honda Civic CRX Si | Honda parked outside of a building
1989 Honda Civic CRX Si | Honda

The next-generation Honda Civic Si saw an increase in displacement and horsepower to just over 100, new exhaust, a five-speed manual transmission, stiffer a-arm suspension and sway bars, along with aluminum wheels and 185mm tires. 1989 was the first time the U.S. saw a Civic Si hatchback.

Third-generation Honda Civic Si adopts luxuries

1995 Honda Civic Si Hatchback parked near the water
1995 Honda Civic Si Hatchback | Honda

The Civic Si was barebones until Honda introduced the third generation. Not only did it get ABS, a moonroof, cruise control, and other amenities, it was the first time Honda unleashed VTEC upon the world. The engine made 125 horsepower while preserving fuel efficiency. It did, however, regain the steel wheels. 

The fourth-and-fifth-generations of Honda Civic Si get some upgrades

2000 Honda Civic Si parked on the road
2000 Honda Civic Si | Honda

The next leap in performance came in 1999 when the Si badge returned on the Honda Civic Coupe. It received stiffer suspension and bigger brakes. The engine had, for the first time in the U.S., dual overhead camshafts and 160 horsepower. Honda released a hatchback-only fifth-generation Civic Si for the 2002-2005 model years. It featured a bigger K-series engine with more torque. However, it had a lower redline and the same horsepower.

Sixth-generation Honda Civic Si gets two extra doors

2006 Honda Civic Si driving on track
2006 Honda Civic Si | Honda

The 2006 model year saw yet another redesign for the Honda Civic. The Si returned in coupe form, and it got a 2.0-liter engine with 197 horsepower and a limited-slip differential. A sedan version of the Honda Civic Si entered the U.S. market for the first time a year later.

More displacement for the seventh-generation Honda Civic Si

2013 Honda Civic SI engine on display in Toronto
2013 Honda Civic SI engine | Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Much more displacement to 2.4-liters interjected in the following generation in 2012, with minimal horsepower gains. By 2014 the Si wasn’t hitting its fan base well and saw few differences other than adopting a massive rear wing. 

The Honda Civic Si goes turbo

2018 Civic Si on display in Los Angeles
2018 Civic Si on display in Los Angeles | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

The tenth-generation Honda Civic brought us to the eighth-generation Si in 2017. It was the first Honda Civic Si with a turbocharged engine, making only slightly more horsepower at 205, and it didn’t have VTEC. However, the car handled better than ever and got all of its power earlier in the powerband. It received an adaptive damper system and a short-throw shifter. 

The current Honda Civic Si gets a few luxuries but not much else

2019 Honda Civic Si Sedan driving on the road
2019 Honda Civic Si Sedan | Honda

The Honda Civic Si from 2019 got a sport button matched to the same drivetrain. The 2020 model year was almost the same, except with Honda Sensing safety features and various amenities like Apple CarPlay and a premium 10-speaker audio system.

How the 2022 Honda Civic Si compares to previous generations

All of this brings us to the recent news that Honda finally released the 2022 Honda Civic Si earlier today, and customers can expect an (almost) all-new machine. Beneath its subdued styling, the Honda Civic Si gets less horsepower than previous generations, but also a new engine map that delivers peak torque between 1800-5000 RPM and redlines at 6500. It also brings new exhaust and stiffer steering. Otherwise, Honda retuned the suspension and improved the transmission with Type R rev-matching. 

The 2022 Honda Civic Si was worth the wait

A slightly lower horsepower rating is a bit disappointing, but drivers can use the horsepower more effectively. Honda kept everything that worked and made it better, including the transmission, which wasn’t getting a lot of love. Honda will release the price later, and hopefully, it will keep the same affordability. However, the chip shortage combined with the Honda Civic’s fan base could create another Chevrolet Corvette situation. Don’t be surprised if the Honda Civic Si becomes rare and more expensive than its original MSRP. 


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