2023 Honda Civic Si Review: Quick Take

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick



$30k Fun

Decontented to make room for Integra

Excellent at everyday errands

Overboosted steering



First impressions matter—and the Civic Si didn’t make a good one.

It was over a year ago now, when we here at AutoGuide first got a taste of the latest Honda Civic Si on our home turf. The only problem was it was up against two of the finest front-drive performance machines around: the talented Volkswagen Golf GTI and the raucous Hyundai Elantra N. The deck was stacked against the Honda.

Compounding the issue, that Si spoke with a Canadian accent. We’ve detailed the differences between markets before, as there’s a surprising amount of changes for two cars sharing a badge. So when the opportunity came for the American-spec Civic Si to redeem itself for a week in LA, I jumped at the chance to refamiliarize myself with Honda’s longest-running performance model.

Powertrain and Efficiency: Affordable Fun

Side profile of the 2023 Honda Civic Si in Rallye Red with 18-inch matte black alloy wheels wrapped in 235/40R18 tires.

The basic recipe for the Si isn’t much different from before. A 1.5-liter turbo-four sends power to the front wheels exclusively through a six-speed manual; the Si is quickly becoming one of the very few models to only come with a three-pedal setup. Power is actually down slightly from the last generation: an even 200 horsepower, backed up by a useful spread of 192 pound-feet of torque. A limited-slip differential is standard, but the adaptive dampers of yesteryear are gone: gotta save something for the reborn Integra, after all.

Not that I miss the adaptive setup up in the hills outside Malibu. There’s a refreshing simplicity to spirited driving in the Si: the fixed dampers are tuned to minimize roll and slop in the corners, but stop shy of turning the inevitable highway slogs into rolling bouncy castles. The warmed-up Civic responds best to a firm hand, relishing being chucked into corner after corner. The steering is still overboosted, especially in Sport mode, but it’s easy to judge and nicely quick. Torque peaks early but sticks around for half the rev range, so you can ride that wave should you want to.

The incredibly slick-shifting 6-speed manual Civic Si transmission. The shifter is wrapped in leather with an aluminum top and red shift patern.

But this is a Honda six-speed; you’d be missing half the fun if you didn’t row it thoroughly and often. There’s a tight, clean motion through the gears, a precision cars costing three times as much can struggle to match. The clutch pedal is friendly and short-travel, so it’s easy to learn and avoids becoming a chore in LA’s infamous traffic. Heel-and-toe comes naturally, but should you want to give your Senna-in-loafers side a break, the Si’s auto rev-matching feature works flawlessly.

I wish there was a little more attitude from those twin tailpipes, mind you.

Interior Style and Quality: A No-Nonsense Cabin

The 2023 Civic Si takes a huge step forward in interior quality. Red highlights are spread around the cabin while the Si model retains the unique new mesh dash insert of the standard Civic.

With the latest generation of Civic, Honda has stretched the idea of “ compact” car to its maximum. The Si has a hugely spacious cabin that easily swallows up four adults and their stuff—or five if they’re all good friends. The flat window line that recalls the classic EK-generation Civic of the late-‘90s gives the whole Civic lineup another advantage: plenty of natural light and great sight lines. It’s little wonder Honda has started Xeroxing the Civic’s basic interior design into every subsequent new model: it looks and feels great, pushing into near-premium territory thanks to the restrained brightwork and tactile rotary dials. Lashings of red tell you this is the sporty Civic: it’s not complicated.

Tech and Safety

In a similar vein, the displays don't mess around. The Canadian Si does get a fully digital instrument cluster, but the hybrid setup in the American model still provides selectable info and a perfectly legible tachometer. The infotainment setup is basic, but with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can simply stick to your mobile experience.

Unique to the Si model are custom sporty seats with a black and red treatment. They include "Si" stitching just below the headrest.

The driver’s seat may lack power adjustments but the trade-off is a much quicker setting-up period. Honda has kept the hip point nice and low in the Civic; not appealing to the SUV crowd, but great for those wanting that extra sense of a symbiotic relationship with the car. The cloth holds you in place and dissipates heat better than leather, too.

Oh, and the trunk is huge. Need even more space? The excellent Civic hatchback also comes in six-speed guise, though you’ll sacrifice 20 hp and some of the Si’s agility.

Value: Dollars and Sense

Exterior changes to the Si model are subtle as has always been the case, but clear Si badging indicates this car's more performance-focused persona.

The 2023 Honda Civic Si has a manufacturer recommended sales price of $29,895 including destination. Throw in the Blazing Orange paint ($455) and summer tire option (a steal at $200) and you’re at $30,250. There aren’t many other enthusiast-oriented cars at 30 large that are so well-rounded; A Camaro might offer more power but isn’t nearly as friendly for everyday use, and its shifter is like operating the McFlurry machine by comparison.

Verdict: 2023 Honda Civic Si Quick Take Review

Sporty and handsome, the 2023 Honda Civic Si sits low on its 18-inch wheels and looks almost exactly how you'd expect and what owners demand.

Where we meet people plays a huge part in our first impression. As it turns out, the same applies to cars. The Civic Si left me cold in an Ontario summer, but even in a soggy, gridlocked Los Angeles, this sporty Civic found its groove. For those wanting a stellar everyday driver with the ability to tear off on a canyon run at a moment’s notice, all for substantially less than the average new-car purchase price, the Si nails the brief.

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How much is the 2023 Honda Civic Si?

The base price for the 2023 Civic Si is $29,895 including destination charges, up from $28,315 in 2022.

What colors does the 2023 Honda Civic Si come in?

The Civic Si is available in Aegean Blue Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Platinum White Pearl, Rallye Red, Sonic Gray Pearl and is also available in an exclusive Blazing Orange Pearl.

What is the 2023 Civic Si's 0-60 time?

Independent tests have put the 2023 Honda Civic Si at roughly 7.2 seconds to accelerate to 60 mph.

What is the 2023 Civic Si's Crash test rating?

For 2022 and 2023 the Civic Sedan and Hachback earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ rating with the highest possible ratings in all categories including vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian avoidance tests.

What is the Fuel Economy of the 2023 Civic Si?

All Civic Si models for 2023 come with a rating of 27/37/31 mpg (City/Highway/Combined).

What is the curb weight of the 2023 Civic Si?

For what is now a fairly large compact sedan, the Civic Si weights a relatively light 2,952 lbs.

What is the tire size on the 2023 Honda Civic Si?

Honda equips the Civic Si with 235/40R18 all-season tires. The available summer performance tires have identical sizes.

Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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Join the conversation
  • Rockybudgeboa Rockybudgeboa on Dec 29, 2023

    I am confused. You like it, You do not like it. Please make my mind up for me.

  • Joe Schepis Joe Schepis on Dec 29, 2023

    I drove the civic si e 40th anniversary manual Jetta which I purchased. Nice fit and finish, nice manual trans and faster.