The muscle car has evolved. For proof, look no further than the compact Honda Civic Si, available as both a coupe and a sedan.
The thundering V8 brawn that propelled old-school performance machines has been replaced here by a gutsy 205-horsepower turbocharged, 1.5-liter four-cylinder. But let out the clutch on the close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox (sorry—or perhaps not sorry, an automatic transmission isn’t even offered), and you’ll find the small engine pulls with authority.
Once underway, the Civic Si coupe test car’s adaptive suspension delivers precise handling with a distinctly light feel that’s complemented by its perfectly weighted steering. Larger brakes provided plenty of stopping power. The Civic Si is one of among the most finely balanced compact muscle sedans on the market today, the kind of car that will inspire you to scan your map looking for the most winding stretch of road you can find between you and your destination.
Add a price tag that’s equally exciting, and the Civic Si is every bit as affordable as it is entertaining.
- Sweet-shifting six-speed manual
- Excellent fuel economy
- Infotainment controls aren’t as user-friendly as they could be.
- Lack of an automatic transmission is bound to put some out.
- Sure, you could pay twice as much for half the driving fun, but why would you?
- Base Price: $24,300
- As Tested: $24,300
- NHTSA: 5 stars overall
- 28/38 (1.5L I4/6-speed manual)