Since 1986, the Civic Si has waved Honda's flag brightly among affordable sport compact cars. Before Honda ever ventured upmarket with the Acura NSX or S2000 roadster, the Civic Si was its chief overture to gearheads, attracting disciples on the strength of its manic, high-revving engines, taut handling and telepathic manual gearboxes. A generation of enthusiasts -- including me -- were born and raised on a steady diet of Si models.
Honda rested on its small-car laurels for a while, though. And over the last decade, the entire Civic range grew frayed around its edges as new rivals stepped up with more power, improved technology and sharper handling. Thankfully, Honda finally roared back when it introduced a new 10th-generation Civic line for the 2016 model year.
As a whole-cloth redo, today's Civic is once again well executed from grille to taillights, with smart packaging, able handling, enviable efficiency and modern (if fussy) styling. And this year, the sportier Civic Si is back to battle models like the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport, Ford Focus ST, Mini Cooper S and Volkswagen's evergreen GTI.
The Good Strong ride and handling balance is aided by excellent brakes.
The Bad Less-peaky engine is also less fun, very limited cabin tech and safety options.
The Bottom Line Affordable and reasonably fun, the Si could benefit from a bit more performance, a bit more "edge," and a longer options list.
This is not your average auto show debut.
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The figure adjustments are so small, you probably won't even notice 'em.
A skilled crew of Honda factory workers from Alabama will build the SUV over three days at Barber Motorsports Park.
The never-ending Takata airbag recall continues to be a danger to motorists around the world.