There was once a car known as the RSX Type-S. With a powerful 2.0 liter motor that put out 200 horse power, and suspension that could compete with world class cars, the RSX was a import enthusiasts dream. However, while the RSX may no longer be in production, it’s spirit still lives on today, and it lives on in a Honda coupe that is known as the Civic Si.
Essentially, the Civic Si is the “Type R” Honda Civic that the United States never got. Although it may not be a true Type R vehicle, it does embody some of the same ideals. An incredibly high revving motor with lots of power, a short shift six speed manual transmission, and an interior that resembles a fighter plane cockpit all contribute to make the Si one interesting vehicle. Although this spiritual successor to the RSX may not be exactly as powerful, it does come very close, and the handling and style of the car are definitely designed to compete with vehicles costing much more than what the Si can be purchased for.
From the moment that one lays eyes on the Si, it becomes apparent that this is not an ordinary Civic. Although the awkward and strange looking “hatchback” version (think bubbly GTI) has since been dropped from the line, the new, more car like design is much better. The car is nicely angled, and although the front end may not have the aggressive appeal that everyone is looking for, the sharp headlights and interesting front design make sure that the Si looks impressive, while not overly intimidating. The back end also follows the same, smooth design, and although the rear spoiler definitely looks interesting, it really doesn’t add a whole lot to the car, and perhaps a smaller aftermarket spoiler would look a little better than the strange and curved factory one.
However, if the outside of the car is a mixed bag, there is really nothing not to like on the inside. In no other words, the inside of the Civic Si resembles a space shape. Never before has a car that cost under $20,000 made such an effort to create an interesting and appealing interior for the driver. From the very different steering wheel design, to the placement of the gearshift, and even to the style of the seats and the center console, there is nothing else like the Civic Si. The interior is new, it is different, and it is very stylish. Of course, it may not agree with everyone, but, for the most part, it would be hard not to like the space age styling of the Si, and the immense fun that comes with simply sitting inside the car.
However, while sitting inside of cars can be fun, perhaps actually driving them has the most fun. And, if the Civic Si is nothing else, it is definitely fun to drive. The car accelerates briskly, and, although it won’t throw you back in the seat, revving through the gears and hearing the VTEC kick in more than makes up for it. The short throw six speed manual transmission is a joy to drive, and it feels as if the gearshift is directly connected to the engine, which only makes sense after one has driven the Si. The car handles like a dream, and it seems like there is no corner that can shake the Civic. However, while the quality of the ride is a little rough, it can only be expected in a car with such a suspension and a very low center of gravity. At the same time, expect for engine noise to be loud, especially during highway driving, due to the very nature of the Si motor.
However, those few minor complaints aside, the Civic Si may very well be the best car available starting under $20,000. It looks good, is comfortable and very neat inside, and it drives like cars costing twice as much. No, the Si may not be the most professional car on the road; it is loud, it likes to rev, and it inspires fast cornering and hard driving; but for those who want some fun with their new car, and don’t want to spend a lot of money on it, the Civic Si really is the perfect choice.