While it seems like there are fewer and fewer coupes on the market today, Honda continues to offer a 2-door version of their Civic, which has been around for decades.
Honda completely redesigned the Civic for 2012 but had to give it an emergency makeover in 2013 due to some backlash from the decontenting of the then new vehicle. That was a really big deal for a car that they just released a year earlier.
Due to the Civic’s reputation for quality and long having being a top-rated car in the segment, consumers and auto critics were less forgiving when the 2012 model seemed to fall behind its fierce competition in areas such as ride comfort, driving fun, and noise vibration and harshness levels.
In response, Honda made an unprecedented number of improvements in just one year. Amazing, as car companies just don’t do that.
Fast forward to the 2015 Civic Si coupe and Honda has seems to have steered the ship back on course. Let’s take a deeper look.
New Styling for the Civic Si coupe
In a nutshell, the Si coupe is Honda’s sportiest Civic available. Therefore it has to feature more aggressive styling than its more pedestrian siblings to reflect its character.
Honda fanboys may lament the death of their beloved super high revving 2.0L 4-cylinder engine, however, the new 2.4L is a great powertrain and Honda has implemented their latest i-VTEC system to this mill.
Compared to previous versions of VTEC though, the VTEC switchover is much less aggressive and much smoother. This may be good or bad depending on your perspective.
Mated to the 4-banger is Honda’s latest iteration of their close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission. The shift lever feels nice in hand and the throws are quite short. Overall it is a high point and adds to the Si’s driving experience.
Transport Canada rates the Si coupe’s fuel consumption at 10.8L/100kms in the city and 9.4L/100kms on the highway. I observed 11.5L/100 kms in mostly city driving.
For 2014, Honda gave the coupe a larger rear stabilizer bar to quell earlier complaints about its handling. Honda also increased the spring rates to enhance steering response and roll feel. The result is a car with tighter suspension and more solid dynamics. It is genuinely fun-to-drive!
A helical limited-slip differential is fitted to all Si models as standard equipment to help minimize front wheel slippage when accelerating and cornering. However, I still found that there was torque steer upon hard acceleration, despite this bit of mechanical wizardry.
The electric steering system was also tuned to be sharper and it is as good as it has ever been despite the lack of a hydraulic rack. Adding to the fun factor is the small diameter steering wheel itself, which feels great in-hand with just the right amount of thickness.
The smaller diameter gives the Civic a bit more of that go-kart feel and it’s really a lot of fun to spin around in your hand.
Gone is the hard dashboard with oddly textured plastic. There are a lot of soft touch materials and the textures combine nicely with the colours.
Consumers will also appreciate the added attention to detail, such as the stitched moulding, giving the impression of a much more expensive leather stitched dash that you might find in a high end luxury car.
In the Si coupe, the seats are fitted with an exclusive seat fabric and decoration in black and red to further enhance the sporty look. They look and feel great, with ample support and adjustment to suit almost every driver.
Step up to the EX or SI trim level, and you get Honda’s new Display Audio touchscreen infotainment system. With one of the largest touchscreens in its class, Display Audio uses the familiar pinch, swipe, and tap functionality to access audio, phonebook, media, and vehicle information system and available navigation functions.
Display Audio also integrates Apple’s Siri Eyes Free mode into the Civic. This is Honda’s first attempt at a factory integration of the Siri Eyes Free mode in one of their vehicles and they seem to have done a good job.
iPhone 5, 5S, 6, 6 Plus users are able to operate Siri through familiar voice commands by pressing and holding the Talk button on the steering wheel when the iPhone is paired via Bluetooth.
My only major beef with Display Audio was the lack of a physical volume knob. While Honda advertises it as “quick-swipe adjustment”, the touch operation volume slider is just not as easy to get to or as accurate as an actual knob, making it a bit of a two-step procedure. Most of the time, I found myself using the satellite volume controls on the steering wheel instead.
Since many Civics are bought by parents for their kids, safety has to be high on the priority-list. Honda doesn’t disappoint with things such as a standard backup camera. That’s terrific at this price point!
The Civic’s safety technologies include the expected gamut of ABS, multi-threshold dual-stage airbags, Brake Assist, and Vehicle Stability Assist. The available and excellent LaneWatch blindspot system has also long been a favourite of mine and I’ve raved about it in all of my Honda reviews if so equipped.
Thanks to Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, the 2013 and newer Civic was also the first small car to come away with a “Good” rating in the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s tough new small overlap offset crash test.
The Civic Si coupe is in line with what I expected from a Honda, and in fact my first review of a Honda/Acura two-door. Reasonably priced, fun-to-drive, and another car I was sad to return at the end of my tenure with it.
Honda is not used to getting bad reviews so it was great to see them step up and waste no time in making significant changes to the Civic. Something that was undoubtedly not inexpensive for a mass market vehicle.
But I’m happy to report that the expense was worth it and that the Civic is definitely back on track for another 17 years of record sales.