2020 Honda Civic Si 4dr HPT Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Best in its class, and better than ever
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Inside the cabin, Honda has done a worthy job of providing driver and front seat passenger with high retention heated bucket seats, nicely tailored in grey and black corduroy, trimmed with red beading, and set off with Si logo headrests. Thanks to the 106 inch wheelbase of our test 4-door model, there's plenty of legroom for 6 foot occupants up front and in back at the same time. Since this "HPT" (Honda Performance Touring) model utilizes a real trunk, you can stow 13 cubic feet of goods in the unexpectedly space. We were not, however, enamored of the operation of the infotainment system. For example, in order to select one of the 220+ channels on offer from SiriusXM radio, you need to scroll through the entire catalog without the aid of a dial. Honda finally was badgered into adding a tiny volume dial to this system last year. Now they need to add a station tuning dial to the faceplate as well. You know, back to the future.
By any dimensional index, the sedan version of the Si is a genuine family hauler, with a spacious interior, a one-touch power moonroof, and a standard suite of Honda Sensing safety measures (adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation). Because the Si is so adroitly configured for precision driving, we never once utilized any of these safety enhancements. But it's nice to know they're on board, should you ever need them. Another significant selling point for this Civic is its 5 Star Safety rating from the government. The 2020 Civic scored a clean sweep of 5 Stars in all 5 tests (frontal crash, driver/passenger; side crash, front/rear seat and rollover).
In normal driving mode, the Si is an absolute back road terror, with moves worthy of much more expensive two seat sports cars. But if you desire even better feedback and grip from the Si, it's there for the asking with a "Sport" button on the transmission tunnel that recalibrates steering stiffness, shock resilience and throttle sensitivity. In beast mode, this comparatively understated looking family transport will stay with the best handling sports cars you can name when pushed hard on twisty back roads. We particularly enjoyed the unflustered manner with which the Si sedan tackles these challenges. It doesn't make a lot of noise, its ride never becomes objectionable (even in sport mode), and it devours great chunks of challenging pavement with nary a squeal from those race bred Goodyears.
The Si is available in two versions. In addition to our four door sedan, a slightly lighter two door coupe completes the lineup. If you absolutely can't get by with just 205hp, you can opt for the 305hp Civic R which will boost $26,130 bottom line by nearly $10,000 dollars. Not only that, but you'll be saddled with ostentatiously flamboyant race based styling. For the money, there's little else in the market that comes close to the package of goodies the Si offers the enthusiast on a budget. I myself bought the first Si when it was introduced back in 1986 as a hatchback. That $12,000 car was a blast to drive in its day, and the current offspring of this distinguished line is better than ever.
2020 HONDA CIVIC SI 4DR HPT
ENGINE: 1.5 liter inline 4, intercooled and turbocharged, 16 valves, DOHC
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 26MPG City/36MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $26,130
HYPES: Arcade Game Fun to Drive
GRIPES: Channel Knob Please
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10