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2020 Honda Civic Si: Worthy Type R Alternative Offers More Bang for the Buck

  • 2020 Honda Civic Si debuts with new styling and tech updates.
  • The only factory option for the new Civic Si are the $200 summer tires.
  • Arriving in September, the Civic Si will also have a shorter final gear ratio.

Back in the not so distant past, the Civic Si was regarded as the poor man’s Type R. But with the refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Si, I don’t think that’s true anymore. In fact, I think the Si is better than the Type R, and I’ll explain more in a minute. For now, I sincerely think the Si model is the best Civic in the lineup. It’s not because it has a turbocharged four-banger, nor a slick-shifting six-speed manual box. It also doesn’t have to do with the price either (which again, we’ll dig deeper in a bit).

It’s because the new Civic Si pretty much reminds me of Honda’s glory days in the early to late 90s.

2020 Honda Civic Si: The Honda Resurgence

If you’re old enough to remember, Honda was the you know what back then; they still are now, but only after waking up from a 15-year hiatus. All those screaming B16, B18, and F20C motors are permanently engraved in my consciousness. Mind you, I’m not the biggest Honda fan, but I surely appreciate the engineering and reliability of those marvelous high-revving Honda engines.

For me, the last hot Civic is the sixth-generation EK model. After that, everything went tepid. When the tenth-gen Civic arrived in 2016, it wasn’t a coincidence the second-gen Acura NSX was introduced in the same year. Honda is back, and the Civic is better than ever! So, when Honda gave the current Civic some mild updates for 2019, we were pining for the Si to get those updates too. Apparently, Honda did this without significantly hiking up the price.

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2020 Honda Civic Si Coupe. Photo: Honda North America.

Aggressive Exterior Styling

Want to know why the 2020 Honda Civic Si is making me feel like it’s college all over again, and why I prefer this wholeheartedly over the Type R? It’s the fact Honda is offering the Civic Si in two-door coupe and sedan body styles. I personally like the Si coupe, but the sedan is not too shabby either. In terms of looks, there’s nothing wrong with the base Civic sedan. However, if you think its face is like that of a Stormtrooper, you’re not alone.

Alas! The new Civic Si still looks like a Stormtrooper, but it now has a more athletic vibe. The car receives new lower bumper fog light housings with a body-color crossbar; new multi-element LED headlights and a new rear bumper. Civic Si models also receive a fixed rear wing (which is thankfully subtle!) and matte-black 18-inch wheels. All-season tires are standard, but summer tires are a $200 factory option.

Red Accents & Physical Buttons

The 2020 Honda Civic Si receives a ton of red accents in the cabin. You also get new sports seats with red Si badges and an updated audio system with physical buttons and – finally – an actual volume knob. The previous touch-sensitive scroll bar was a pain in the butt, so good job again, Honda! You still get Bluetooth, a 450-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in case you’re wondering.

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2020 Honda Civic Si interior layout. Photo: Honda North America.

Turbocharged Power & Manual Transmission

Want more proof the Civic Si is for purists? It’s only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, and it’s a brilliant one at that. Honda knows how to make manual transmissions feel right on the money, and the Civic Si is no exception.

That delectable manual box is mated to a familiar 1.5-liter, direct-injected and turbocharged inline four-cylinder. It produces a healthy 205 horsepower. More importantly, it churns out 192 lb-ft. of torque (2,100 to 5,000 rpm). And while Honda has yet to specify the exact math, it wouldn’t be hard to push the Civic Si from zero to 60 below 6.5 seconds given the right circumstances.

The new Civic Si also receives a six percent shorter final drive ratio. This is the only mechanical upgrade in the new Si, but it’s a significant one. It still comes with a standard helical limited-slip differential, but a shorter final drive ratio means quicker acceleration and more immediate throttle response. In short, it makes the car feel quicker on its toes and more fun to drive.

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2020 Honda Civic Si Sedan. Photo: Honda North America.

Standard Honda Sensing & LaneWatch

The 2020 Honda Civic Si also benefits from a host of new age safety and driver-assistance features. Standard in the new Civic Si is Honda Sensing which includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigating braking, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation.

The new Civic Si also gets Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch side-view camera system. It’s easy enough to understand without being a rocket scientist. The system activates the camera in each of the side mirrors as you engage the turn signals. The camera feed is projected on the infotainment screen. It essentially eliminates blind spots to avoid sudden accidents.

2020 Honda Civic Si: Pricing & Availability

The best part is the $25,000 base price, which is only $700 more than the previous model. This includes the two-mode adaptive suspension, a leather-wrapped tiller, and rearview camera all standard. The 2020 Honda Civic Si looks better than the Type R, and is presumably more comfortable and easier to drive. The new Si is arguably more usable for everyday driving, as it offers 12.1 and 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the coupe and sedan, respectively. Oh, and it doesn’t cost $37,000.

The new Civic Si arrives at dealerships in September. In the meantime, is it too much to ask for a Civic SiR, perhaps in the near future?

Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

2020 Honda Civic Si Gallery

Photos, Video & Source: Honda North America.