Red Hot Tamale: 2020 Honda Civic Si Sedan HPT 6-Speed Review

Odometer (Civic):  2,264

Who’s hungry?

Don’t worry; I brought enough to share with the whole class.

This candy is described on its packaging as “Fierce Cinnamon.”  I guess that’s about how I’d also classify the latest iteration of Honda’s Civic Si sedan.  It’s a contemporary compact sedan souped up with the aero treatment, aesthetics, and performance enhancements that tuners love, in a package that’s still as reliable as a Corolla.  The Si evokes a high schooler vibe, especially in the “arrest me” Rallye Red.  It’s no wonder some of the prior journalists who tested this Civic (ahem, I’m looking at you James) got pulled over for seemingly no reason while driving it.

I was lucky to escape the wrath of any highway patrol during my time with the Civic, but I still managed to have a heck of a good time with it.  I found it to be a competent everyday driver that delivers a sense of fun and adventure on even the most boring commute.  Just lay into the throttle in second gear beyond 4,000 RPM and you’ll get it.

This marks the second time I’ve had the chance to review a 10th-generation Civic.  The last one was a 2019 model year 1.5-liter “Touring” sedan back in September.  The primary gripe I had with that car was its Continuously Variable Transmission.  Well, guess what?  This week’s car had an honest-to-goodness stick shift.  And I loved it.  The ‘HPT’ noted in the model name of this one refers to its optional High Performance (Summer) Tires.

Here’s the rundown, in bullet point form as I like to do it.

Good

  • Seating position is absolute perfection for me while resting the elbow on/near the center armrest
  • Stereo & tech is relatively intuitive and rear-view camera clarity is good
  • High-rev performance feels almost magical for an engine only 1.5 liters
  • Headlight enhancements are a sweet modernization and give a premium look
  • Clutch action, shift throws, and round metal shift knob are slick, sheer Honda perfection
  • MPG delivery is great for a car this fun to drive (EPA 26/36)
  • Price point ($26,130 as tested incl. destination) feels like a lot of bang for the buck
  • Thoughtful conveniences like the power port in the passenger front footwell area

Bad

  • Blind spots are relatively large – this is something I observe on almost every new car that I test due to higher belt lines and larger pillars
  • I’m not a fan of an electronic parking brake on a manual car.  I’d feel a lot more comfortable grabbing a lever.
  • As with any turbo motor, torque on the low end is relatively scarce
  • I prefer an analog speedometer (at least to supplement the digital readout)

Ugly 🙂

  • I’m still not a fan of black wheels
  • Can we get LED rear turn signals to keep things uniform front & back?  (I said the same about the Acura ILX A-Spec I recently tested)

Verdict

Go sample a Civic Si.  I’m confident it’ll satisfy your sweet tooth for a value-packed car with some zing to it.  Any shortcomings are far outweighed by the bang for the buck.  It’s a great blend of practicality and performance if you have craving for a Hot Tamale of a car.

Honda compact sports cars separated by 21 years.  And look how big the Civic grew!

The Civic Si’s front end makes the ILX 2.4 look pretty mundane.

It was worth noting, I celebrated 2,222 miles with the Civic at 12:22 at 22 miles per hour.

This, of course, after I just posted about hitting 222,222 on the ILX.  It’s that kind of luck.

Happy New Year!

13 Responses to “Red Hot Tamale: 2020 Honda Civic Si Sedan HPT 6-Speed Review”

  1. Looks like a fun car! I drove my sister’s ‘19 Civic LX quite a bit yesterday and was struck by how nice it is, especially for the price. Plenty of standard features even in base trim, and the car feels solid and substantial. Honda Motor Co. is making some good products these days!

    • I agree with you! Your comment about LX being ‘base’ trim made me think of the olden days when you could get a DX (or was there even an HX?) and they had stripped-down content like manual roll-up windows, deleted passenger sideview mirrors, black plastic bumpers, etc. Remember that?

      • I do remember that! I don’t recall an HX, but the humble DX was very basic. Usually a weaker engine and a lot of missing features like the ones you mentioned. No a/c, no nuthin!

      • Chris Miller Says:

        My 90 Civic DX was this. No passenger side mirror, manual windows, NO rear speakers. The wires were there though and I cut the holes and installed 6.5” Pioneers all around. My car did have AC though. Slow turd but I easily achieved 36mpg with it.

  2. Happy New Year Tyson!

    Glad to see your doing new car reviews again. I pretty much agree with your assessment of the Si. Overall it’s a good value but… the competition isn’t standing still either even if this segment isn’t what most ppl crave today.

    I know Honda won’t invest too much in this class of car anymore but I’d really like to see them offer it with the 2.0 litter turbo. I bet it would go a long way toward improving the missing low end torque. I’m still hoping they consider the CTR drivetrain for a HPR Accord variant soon.

    I know many think the CTR is the next logical step up from this but for daily driving and affordability it fits the need pretty well. If they offered the 10-spd auto instead of the CVT it would be more costly but I bet enthusiasts would be willing to step up for it…

    And yes I do agree with your observation concerning visibility. Just about every new car today has unacceptable visibility! I’m I the only one who feels this isn’t all about crash safety? LOL it’ss interesting how every manufacturer has a “solution” to the problem that involves extra cost features to mitigate this. Guess that’s why I still enjoy the 93SE so much…

    Happy 2020!

  3. Really cool review! I know the CTR will dominate all, but if I was picking a daily driver Civic, this would be the one (although with a second set of non-black wheels equipped with winter tires for when the weather gets nasty). Seems like great value for money.

    Any word on when the ILX will be refreshed? Maybe an ILX Type S to bring Acura back to the space they left after the RSX Type S went away?

    • I’m not sure on the timing of a refreshed but it’s a little past due at this point, considering it’s riding on a 9th gen Civic platform which went out of date a few years ago. It also doesn’t tend to be a very big seller – if I remember correctly it only sells about 1,000 units per month and the Civic is > 20k.

  4. That could be deal of the year (in 2023) after someone takes the initial depreciation hit. Crazy how huge it looks next to the Teggy.

  5. All the more reason, why an ILX should never exist. Far better package…comfort alone. Add a few more features such as real blind spot monitoring, and you even have a more refined & polished car. And yes, SKIP, the black wheels…great review;)

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