This is part 2 in a series of posts where I cogitate on what car to buy next. The rules: sporty, practical, reliable, rallyable, and not too expensive.
There are a lot of different generations of Civic Si to consider. Some are too old, and some are too new. Let’s examine the ones in the middle. All have Honda reliability, acceptable power, acceptable weight, and some trade-offs in practicality.
- 7th-gen. (FB6/FG4) 2012-2017. 201 hp. 2877 lbs.
- 6th-gen. (FG2) 2006-2011. 197 hp. 2877 lbs
- 5th-gen. (EP3) 2002-2005. 160 hp. 2744 lbs.
- 4th-gen. (EM1) 1999-2000. 160 hp. 2612 lbs.
Perspective: 2012 Si vs 2018 Type R
The Civic Type R is a monster that has a pile of accolades. It’s a supercar-killer. The various Si models are sporty, but not in the same class. Here’s a nice video of a driver who owns both a 2012 Si and a 2018 Type R. He drives them on the same day at the same track (Thunderhill). The Type R is about 8 seconds faster, but was driven a little poorly in comparison. It could easily be 10 seconds faster over the 3 mile course. However, I am not in the market for a Type R.
The 7th gen is possibly too new. I don’t think I could find one of those cheap, and that would make me less likely to put students in it or drive it in the dirt. My brother thinks this is the one for me, and went as far as researching how to wire in a switch to turn off stability control.
The 6th gen comes in both sedan and coupe body styles. The sedan makes more sense for practicality, but the coupe looks great. Apparently this generation came with stability control (maybe not all models?), so I’d have to figure out how to defeat that. On the plus side, these came with an LSD.
The EP3 has received a lot of hate. From a performance perspective, it’s probably the slowest of the lot. But still fast enough for me. I like the practicality of the hatchback, and it has an endearing rally-esque shifter. Thankfully, no stability control.
The EM1 is becoming collectible. That makes it slightly less attractive, but overall I like it very much.
So, can I imagine owning a Civic Si? Sure. I love Hondas. I currently own a 2010 Honda Insight, and it’s been completely reliable and economical. Any generation of Si is good for me. Looking over Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, it’s hard finding one with low miles and low abuse. People tend to know what they are worth, so finding a cheap one that has been taken care of isn’t easy.
5 thoughts on “My next car: Civic Si?”
I seem to remember that Honda’s blow head gaskets w/ regularity in Lemons. Maybe because they are not kept up, maybe because they’re driven by yahoos, maybe because they CAN do a 20 min session but can’t do a 1hr session…. I had the same sort of feeling about the Corolla idea. The MR2 was NOT nearly as reliable as i thought it should have been.
That said, Honda’s are cheap and plentiful, there’s lots of race knowledge about them, and handle well…
The Lemons history has definitely made me nervous in the past. If you’re running a Honda in an endurance race, it’s sort of mandatory to preemptively upgrade the head gasket and studs.
If you can find a good one, the 2007-2011 (8th gen civic) sedan is fun with minor mods. With more extreme mods (e.g. if you don’t care about CARB or street comfort) it can be quite a bit faster as well.
The engine is brilliant and there is even more power if you tune it. The front brakes are undersized for the track, but you can swap in TSX calipers and discs relatively cheaply. Or just add ducting.
Stability control is a single push of the button to turn off. You just need to remember to do that.
The paint doesn’t survive the CA sun in these cars. So expect the clear coat to be disintegrating, or it will have been resprayed (they actually extended the warranty to do this to a lot of them).
Demo lap on 460TW tires and stock springs:
Is that you driving? If so, I’ve watched your videos since 2014, and I introduced myself to you at Lemons race at Buttonwillow. I’m a fan!
Haha, yes, and I’m still following your blog :-)