Honda recently introduced the 11th generation of the iconic Civic, and the automotive world is going bananas for the newest Civic Si. Updates to the Civic in general are exciting to see, and the performance version of the car has legitimate upgrades to the standard versions in the lineup. Though there is talk about the loss of five horses in the power output and the bemoaning of no more coupe body style, the 2022 Honda Civic Si has other features to focus on where performance is concerned. While you wait for the Si to be available at a Honda dealer so you can lay eyes on it in person, take a moment to read about the performance aspects of the new Honda Civic Si.
Overview of the 2022 Civic Si
The Honda Civic is a fairly well-sorted sedan to drive without adding any extra enhancements, but when you take a solid vehicle and elevate it, the enjoyment of driving becomes much more interactive. For the Si variant, Honda provides a long list of enhancements from the wheels to the spoiler. Starting with the engine, the Si gets a specially tuned version of the 1.5-liter turbocharged I-4, making an even 200 horsepower with 192 lb-ft of torque. Though the Si loses an incremental amount of horsepower from the last generation, it gains more torque for low-end power. Torque now peaks at 1800 RPM, a difference of 300 RPM from the previous version, providing lots of room to play under the 6500 RPM redline.
To honor the enhanced engine, the Si gains several features that build up into a finely-tuned machine that holds a lot of promise for connecting with the road. All-season performance tires are fitted to blacked-out 18-inch wheels that benefit from enlarged rotors for boosted stopping power, plus a mechanical limited-slip differential to assist the performance of the standard front-wheel drive. The obvious addition of a sport-tuned suspension means stiffer bushings and struts, tougher sway bars, and improved dampers, all of which work together to reduce rolling through corners. In the cockpit, true enthusiasts will appreciate the continued offering of a six-speed manual transmission, the only transmission available for the 2022 Civic Si.
While you play your favorite tunes through the 12-speaker Bose sound system, the rest of the interior will play right into the sport theme Honda provides. Unique sport seats are new to the Si for 2022, with built-in headrests and heavy bolstering that gives this variant a sense of seriousness about respecting the road. Sharper steering and sport pedals add to the experience behind the wheel, and the seven-inch instrument cluster will now be fully digital, which means you can program it to show data according to driver preference. Interior details in red-orange stitching and seat inserts lend excitement to the visual appeal, especially in the honeycomb across the dash that cleverly hides the vents. The shift knob gets similar attention, and it promises to liven up the driving experience in the seamless way the knob moves through the gears. Speaking of gears, they make a good segue to discuss the rev-matching feature that was added for the 2022 model.
Though the rev-matching feature is part of the Si upgrade, purists are unlikely to need the crutch of an electronic assistant to match revs while you clutch into lower gears on corners or to pass on the highway. If you understand how to rev match using the clutch, you can shut off the rev-matching feature (either put the Si in sport mode or shut it off in the settings menu) and enjoy being more involved in driving the vehicle. For those who don’t understand rev-matching, it’s actually simple to do.
At the most basic, when you’re in a high gear and need to downshift for more power, engage the clutch. While the clutch is down and the vehicle is essentially in neutral, hit the accelerator and rev the engine to “match” the speed of the transmission. With the engine revving high, drop into the lower gear and appreciate the smooth transition from high speed to low-gear power. If you do it properly, there won’t be any jolting when you let off the clutch.
On a slightly deeper level, when you’re in gear, the clutch disc is splined to the flywheel, and they are turning together at the same speed. In higher gears, the whole assembly spins slowly, and in low gears, it spins fast. As the clutch pedal is depressed, the clutch disc pulls away from the flywheel (which is now single-mass in the 2022 Civic Si) and is now in neutral. When you shift into that lower gear, the clutch plate is now spinning at a higher speed than the flywheel. If you let off the clutch while the two parts are rotating at different speeds, the vehicle will jolt, and you lose power and balance.
Instead, when you shift down into a lower gear for a corner, while the clutch is still engaged, you hit the accelerator to rev the engine so the speed of the engine’s flywheel can now meet the speed of the clutch disc. When you release the clutch, the flywheel and clutch disc can join back in tandem without losing power or control and without the uncomfortable jolt of dropping from high to low gearing. For enthusiasts who really want to experience a car’s power and capability, taking control of rev-matching yourself is far more satisfying than letting the vehicle do it electronically. But it’s there for newbies learning to clutch or if you want to drive without having to nudge the gas pedal when you shift.
On the subject of performance, serious performance-oriented drivers understand the importance of a good exhaust system, particularly in terms of available power. For 2022, Honda chose to give the Civic Si dual exhaust tips that coil in a full 360-degree circuit right before the exhaust exits through the flared tips. In terms of sheer satisfaction when you rev the engine, the dual exhaust tips provide a throaty exhale as the air pumps through the coils. If you care about why the dual exhaust improves performance, you get that those dual ports mean more air leaves the engine chamber at a faster rate, which translates into more power – those coils are there just for the thrill of a deeper exhaust note, not for performance.
Where the dual exhaust really makes a difference begins in the manifold, which Honda builds into the cylinder head. In the case of the 2022 Civic, the exhaust from the engine is pulled from four cylinders in the head and then is funneled through two pipes (instead of just one) to increase airflow for cooling. This same system also uses sodium in the valvetrain as the exhaust leaves the engine chamber to help cool the air and reduce the need for a rich fuel mixture, which improves the engine’s efficiency and performance. The end result is more power when you hit the pedal, even from a small four-cylinder.
One aspect of the Si that may cause some heated discussions at the water cooler is the fact that Honda chose to pipe the sound of the exhaust through the sound system so it can be heard in the cabin. Because the cabin is so well insulated against exterior noise for a more pleasant driving experience, Honda solved the issue of not being able to appreciate the roar of the tailpipes by sending it through the speakers in the cabin. Maybe some drivers will think that’s a smart way to get around a problem, but there will probably be purists who think it’s cheating.
When to Look for a 2022 Civic Si Near You
Honda has yet to give an exact date for the availability of the 2022 Si, but the expectation is that it will show up at dealerships near the end of the year. That’s the perfect time to buy a seasonal gift or to take advantage of New Year’s sales at dealerships. However, you will likely have to move fast to get your hands on an early model – there was no 2021 model year Si, so demand is likely even higher than normal.