I Drove the New 2017 Civic Si: the Perfect Daily Driver to Compliment Your S2K

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The turbocharged 2017 Civic Si may just be the best daily driver ever.

I was very fortunate to be invited by Honda to drive the all-new 2017 Civic Si. After a nearly two year absence, the Si name is back, and Honda is coming out swinging. The previous, ninth generation Civic, and it’s Si variant left with more of a whimper than a bang, offering little in the way of innovation. This new car has high expectations placed upon it. With the upcoming Civic Type R sharing the same platform, the Si represents the affordable version of the halo car that most people will actually end up buying.

[Check out the full review on our sister site, Honda-tech.com]

S2KI.com Honda-tech.com 2017 Honda civic si review

The tenth gen Civic is a great platform, that Honda has truly made to be class leading. The perfect bones with which the Si could be built upon. Paired with the new chassis is a new engine. Yes, this is the first Si to feature turbocharging. In the stead of the old cars 2.4L K24Z7, this new Si has a 1.5L, turbocharged inline four cylinder. Dubbed L15B7, it is similar to the 1.5t engines found the in the Civic EX-T, Sport and the CR-V. However, In the Si, the L15 receives sodium-filled valves, a more rigid block, and a slightly modified version of the TD03 turbocharger found in the other cars. All of this works out to 205 horsepower, and 192 lb-ft of torque. Don’t let the numbers on paper fool you, this engine was definitely rated very conservatively by Honda.

This lastest Si can move. It would leave my K20Z-powered 8th gen Si in the dust. As per Honda, this engine is making peak torque from 2100-5100RPM, before hitting peak power at 5700RPM. Redline is 6500RPM, and the new Si gladly takes in those extra revs. Although it softens a bit over 6000, it feels like it could go to 7000 and make decent power. It has decent grunt down low, really coming on hard around 2500RPM, but rewards those who chase the red line.

Let’s talk sound: the L15B7 is a non-VTEC engine. Yes, there is no VTEC with the latest Si, in its place is VTC with full control over ignition and cam timing on both the intake and exhaust side. With the turbocharger thrown into the mix, it doesn’t have the same hard-edged metallic sound of hot Hondas before. Instead, it’s a snarl as the boost comes on and whooshes you forward.

Here is a quick snippet of my 2017 Civic Si review. Check out the full video on the front page of Honda-tech.com! Link in my bio. @honda @hondatechcom #work #theoffice #office #honda #hondacivic #civicsi #civic #hondatech #carsofinstagram #car #JDM #instagram #internet #internetbrands

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There’s no denying it’s a bit quieter than a K-powered Si, but not by much. Also, we looked at the exhaust setup, and it would be super easy for enterprising owners to delete the two rear mufflers for some awesome turbo straight pipe action.

[Check out the full review on our sister site, Honda-tech.com]

S2KI.com Honda-tech.com 2017 Honda civic si review

That turbocharged four banger is paired exclusively to a 6-speed manual transmission, with a helical limited-slip differential. Having driven a 6-speed Civic Sport with the 1.5t engine, this alone covers the price premium. The gearing is similar to the Sport, but from there, it’s nothing but improvements.

A heavier duty clutch is paired with a lighter, single mass flywheel versus the other cars dual mass unit. The Si clutch is still super light, but a definite improvement in heft and feel over the Sport. The lightened flywheel helps combat the “rev hang” issue prevalent in the tenth gen Civic. The revs still linger when you clutch in, but not nearly as much as with the Sport. This is generally a friction point with me and the way modern Hondas drive. In the Sport, I found it unacceptable. In the Si, it’s fine. If it’s like past Hondas, a Hondata ECU flash will fix it right away.

Our rep at Honda told us that due to the need to fit the helical LSD, that this is actually an entirely different transmission from the EX-T or Sport. It feels better, too, with greater communication through the shifter. That LSD is crucial, because with the newfound turbocharged torque, the Si needs help putting the power down coming out of corners. Naturally, the transmission is a joy to use, in typical Honda fashion.

[Check out the full review on our sister site, Honda-tech.com]

S2KI.com Honda-tech.com 2017 Honda civic si review

This is the best handling Civic Si to date. It features two mode adaptive dampers as standard equipment, making it the least expensive production car with that technology. Yes, for $24,775, you can get a Honda Civic Si with adaptive dampers. Holy hell do they work well. Touch the Sport mode button next to the shifter and a solenoid valve attached to the dampers opens, altering the valving. The result is that both the compression and rebound of the shocks is firmed up much harder on initial tip in. This makes the car much sharper, and better able to handle the drivers steering inputs.

Compared to previous Si models, the new car is noticeably flatter, with less dive under braking and roll while cornering. Even in the regular setting, this car makes my FA5 Civic Si look like a tank in the corners. Pair that with some pretty wide rubber: 18×8 wheels with 235/40 tires and the Si can really hustle, on road and track. Honda kept touting the ability of the new Si to be ready for everything that comes it’s way, road and track. I believe them.

Looking beyond the fact that the car has adaptive dampers, the way that those shocks handle the motion of the wheels and the motion of the body is superb. I’ve driven cars with custom-valved, adjustable Konis and the like that couldn’t touch this. Honda showed us a shock dyno for a typical Si shock, and the curves tell it all: A quick ramp initial ramp up to handle roll, and then nice and linear all the way through the shock’s travel, on both bump and rebound. This makes the car super stable and predictable.

The brakes are a massive improvement. With my Si, the body motions aren’t what ruin the dynamics of the car. No, it’s the brakes. With my Si, I destroyed rotors left and right on track. On the 2017 Si, the front rotors are 1.2″ larger in diameter, and the rear 0.9″ larger than the previous gen Si. This paid huge dividends on the test track. Honda has us journalists hammering the cars back to back all morning without cool down and there was no rotor deformation or shattering like with my 8th gen.

Did I mention it’s 100lbs lighter than the 9th gen? A new Si coupe weighs 2889lbs, and the sedan trails it at 2920lbs. That makes them the lightest in the sport compact segment by a hearty margin.

[Check out the full review on our sister site, Honda-tech.com]

S2KI.com Honda-tech.com 2017 Honda civic si review

It works even better on the open road.

The Si is amazingly well-rounded. After running on the test track, Honda let us all loose on the open road. Out in the real world, the Si makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. In the “regular” mode, it has well-damped, premium ride quality. While the coupe is definitely geared for just two passengers, the sedan is enormous. You can easily hit four 6’+ people in the car comfortably, and then toss a metric…f-ton of stuff in the trunk. Oh yeah, it is very happy to cruise at…substantial miles per hour over the limit across the desert in sixth gear. For the day to day commute, it turns about 2500RPM at 70MPH.

Did I mention the fuel economy? 30MPG city, 38MPG freeway. For perspective, my 2010 Si was rated at 22/28, and I average about 26. That’s a huge jump, and pays massive dividends on the road. Driving in a very aggressive manner, we were seeing 28MPG average. That’s an amazing amount of breadth, when you consider how fast and fuel efficient the car is.

[Check out the full review on our sister site, Honda-tech.com]

S2KI.com Honda-tech.com 2017 Honda civic si review

The Si can hustle the back roads just as hard as it charges around the race track. It’s relatively wide stance, and superb suspension mean it’s very sure footed, even through the rougher pavement. That it’s lighter than before means everything works that much better. The suspension has less weight to control, and the tires don’t get loaded up as much, allowing for more grip. Oh yeah, and with that newfound mid-range torque, this thing can pull out of corners with some serious authority.

If you can’t tell, I’m smitten with the new Si. For less than $25,000 MSRP, it brings a ton of value and capability to it’s segment. The cars are just now hitting dealers’ lots, so do yourself a favor and check them out. Point the nose towards the twisties and let the car make a solid argument for itself.

What do you think about the new Civic Si? Chime in on the forums here!

Jake Stumph is the lead Content Editor for S2KI and several other Internet Brands Automotive websites. He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right.

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