2017 Honda Civic Si: A quick take from Road America racetrack

2017 Honda Civic Si (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

Last week at the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally, we were able to get a sneak peak at the all-new Honda Civic Si Coupe. While we were able to shoot photos and do some live shots from Road America racetrack, we couldn’t tell you what we actually thought about the Si until today.

So, here it goes: First impressions are largely favorable.

With the 2017 model year, the Civic Si enters its eighth iteration and is based on the 10th-generation Civic platform. It comes equipped with a 1.5-liter direct-injected and turbocharged I-4 engine – the first turbo ever to grace an Si model. It delivers 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque.

The only transmission available: A short-throw 6-speed manual.

My time with the Civic Si lasted about a half hour, when I was able to take a couple quick turns on the racetrack – both as a passenger and a driver. This vehicle is a smooth operator from the perspective of both seats.

One of the things that impressed me the most as a passenger is I didn’t get jerked all over the seat during aggressive driving. Usually when I sit in the jump seat on a track, I feel like I’m getting tossed about in a clothes dryer, but this was not the case in the Si. I was firmly rooted in my seat and actually took time to enjoy the ride.

As a driver, I loved the smooth shifts and speedy acceleration.

Road America is the perfect track to run the Civic Si through its paces with long straightaways, hairpin corners, elevation changes and a long, sweeping curve. My actual drive time may have been less than 10 minutes, but I was able to test pretty much every driving situation – including a little bit of wet pavement. The Si held its own every step of the way.

The interior is both comfortable and intuitive. The only negative thing I noticed during my brief stint: The Si interior is modeled after the regular Civic, which means no volume knob. Instead, the Si has that dreaded volume slider on the touch screen. Thank goodness for redundant steering wheel controls.

What I find truly impressive, however, is that you get a vehicle chockfull of fun with a base price of $24,775. And that’s the base price for both the sedan and the coupe. Premium features you’ll find on the Si include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, premium sound system, a 7-inch infotainment screen, heated front seats, automatic climate control and walk away auto lock.

The Civic Si is a bit of a WYSIWYG, and it doesn’t have a lot of options. In fact, other than some interior or exterior accessories, the only major options for the Si include high-performance summer tires ($200) and 18-inch machine-cut alloy wheels ($1,700). Honda doesn’t even charge extra for the crazy cool paint colors like Energy Green or Aegean Blue. What a novel concept.

Sure, my time with this all-new vehicle was incredibly brief, but I had enough time in the front seat to say: I can’t wait to spend more time with the 2017 Honda Civic Si.

The Si went on sale during the second week of May and is in dealers now.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off