It may be missing a key ingredient or two, but the 2022 Honda Civic Si remains a fun, flavorful choice.
The Honda Civic Si isn't your average poster car, but a 2000 model in Electron Blue Pearl was definitely on my bedroom wall as a young'un. Eventually, I ended up owning a 2008 Civic Si. What I'm getting at is that I carry some… lofty expectations for one of Honda's stalwart performance models. Thankfully, the redesigned 2022 Honda Civic Si holds true to its original promise of being a fun, affordable car with a sporty twist.
As with previous models, the 2022 Honda Civic Si isn't the shoutiest sedan on the block. The Blazing Orange Pearl hue that adorns my tester looks absolutely lovely in the sunshine, and it's well worth the $395 upcharge. Otherwise, the bits that separate this car from the normal Civic -- black window trim, matte-black 18-inch alloy wheels, larger exhaust tips and a small rear spoiler -- come standard with every Si. It's a car that's always been good at blending into the crowd.
The Si's interior helps it stand apart, too, but not in only good ways. I enjoyed the Si-specific trim's texture and the grippy cloth adorning the sport seats with integrated headrests. The red accents across the dashboard, door panel and infotainment system are also fun. But you know what isn't fun? Being cold. And because Honda decided (in its infinite wisdom) to remove the heated seats for 2022, buyers in most parts of the country will have to get used to being a little frostier than they would in the competition.
Because the competition offers heated seats. Because that's basically the bare minimum.
One thing I liked about my 2008 Si was its ability to hold all manner of my junk, and the 2022 Si's daily usability remains high in that regard. The cup holders are sufficiently large, and there's plenty of space for random detritus in the door panels, the tray under the climate control and in the armrest cubby. With 14.1 cubic feet of space on offer, the Civic Si packs nearly the same cargo capacity as the Hyundai Elantra N-Line sedan, although it obviously lags behind the 19.9-cubic-foot Volkswagen GTI hatchback.
I found the powertrain in the previous Civic Si a little underwhelming, but Honda took steps to alleviate that without glopping more power on top. In fact, its 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4 gas engine actually produces less power than before: 200 horsepower versus the outgoing model's 205. But you'll never notice it because that haircut comes with a host of other tweaks. Its peak torque of 192 pound-feet now arrives 300 rpm earlier, providing more around-town responsiveness that previously peaky Si models lacked. It's a fun engine to wring out and it feels slightly better at the top end, though, where power stays for just a bit longer. I wish the 6,500-rpm redline were higher, but that's probably me just pining for the days of naturally aspirated four-pot screamers knocking on the door of 8,000 rpm. This is a very good engine, and it's earned its spot in this car.
The Si comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission, and it rocks. The shifter has never felt better, with shorter throws and an increased spring load making it one of the best sticks in the entire automotive industry. The standard rev-matching system does a better job than my heel and toe ever will, and I'm glad Honda brought it from the Type R to the Si for 2022. However, I wish a little more work would've been done to the clutch pedal, as the bite point provides no feedback through the pedal whatsoever. Things can get a little sloppy driving by feel alone, especially when the radio or inclement weather drown out the engine.
I also have to discuss the specter of rev hang. While the 2022 Si packs a new single-mass flywheel that's some 26% lighter than the previous one, the engine will sit at a given spot on the tachometer for far longer than preferred after my left foot depresses the clutch. Upshifts need to be slower and more deliberate, as any early or late throttle application will leave the car feeling and sounding like the driver has forgotten how to drive stick. Given that it's an intentional addition in part to reduce emissions, you'll have to reach into the aftermarket for a solution, and there are plenty of forums already offering ways to make this happen.
But even without the ability to shift like a Fast and Furious movie extra, the 2022 Civic Si remains a delight to drive hard. Even though Honda removed the two-mode adaptive dampers, I think the new static setup offers a great blend of stiffness and compliance where it matters. Aggressive driving feels flat and fun, thanks in part to a more rigid body and a few suspension contributions from the Type R, but it's soft and composed enough on bad roads to make daily driving feel wholly normal. Summer tires are a $200 upgrade, which is a bargain for grippy rubber, but the standard 235/40/18 Goodyear Eagle Sport all-season tires offer plenty of sidewall for a good blend of performance and usability.
Even though the two-mode adaptive dampers are gone, there's still a Sport mode accessed by a toggle near the shifter. Sport mode boosts the steering weight and throttle response, in addition to piping a little extra fake noise into the cabin that I don't find too obtrusive, which is good because it can't be disabled. Given the extra throttle response doesn't always play well with the need for slow, paced upshifts, I'm fine leaving the car in Normal, and I imagine most drivers will be, too. An Individual mode lets you mix and match, in the event you like heavy steering and a lighter throttle, or vice versa.
Despite being a performance car, the Civic Si's 1.5-liter engine is seriously efficient. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates this front-drive sedan will return 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, numbers I am able to trounce with little issue. Keep a light touch on the throttle and 40 mpg isn't just wishful thinking: It's a given.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Civic Si packs all the same great safety systems as its more pedestrian siblings. Every Si comes standard with Honda Sensing, a suite of active and passive safety aids that includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic monitoring. Paired with a backup camera that offers decent resolution, it shouldn't be too hard to keep all that sheetmetal nice and ding-free.
There's plenty of other good tech in the 2022 Honda Civic Si, too. A 9-inch touchscreen is standard; while Honda's infotainment system isn't my favorite, it gets better with every iteration. It still takes a little while to boot with each start, but once it's running, the telematics are responsive and easy to move through with little distraction. Two USB-A ports are standard in front, but I wish Honda would throw a USB-C into the mix for zippier charging. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as well, which is always nice. The Bose sound system isn't too shabby, either.
The 2022 Honda Civic Si is a performance bargain at $28,315, including $1,015 in destination charges. Throw in my tester's paint job and the window sticker remains an affordable $28,710. A base VW GTI can't be had below $30,000 anymore, but then again, even the bare-bones S version includes heated seats and a heated steering wheel. The 201-hp Hyundai Elantra N-Line is way wackier to look at, but its infotainment system is top of the pops and it offers heated seats, even with a starting price of $25,395. If you're willing to move up closer to $32,000, you can swap in the 286-hp Elantra N, which offers performance that's hard to beat until you reach the $40,000-and-up range occupied by the Golf R and Civic Type R.
Unless you must absolutely have the warmest tuchus in the tristate area, the 2022 Honda Civic Si offers quite a tough package to top. It's a hoot to throw around, but a basic urban commute to the office isn't a bouncy, uncomfortable affair. Its engine can be as exciting or as sedate as your right foot demands, and it excels at both. And it has a price tag that's very hard to beat. Sure, all the horsepower-heads out there might be pining for a Type R badge, but anyone with an eye toward value should put the Civic Si high on their list.