V-TEC Just Kicked In, Yo: The 2014 Honda Civic Si Sedan

Side view of 2015 Honda Civic Si Sedan
The 2014 Honda Civic Si Sedan.
Regular TireKicker readers will remember my review last summer of the 2014 Honda Civic EX-L, in which I, a former Civic owner, had to reluctantly admit that for the out-the-door price of $25,030, I'd probably go with the 2014 Toyota Corolla S I'd driven a week earlier and pocket the $1,460 in change.

Here's a TireKicker Top Tip:  Plunk down an extra $280 at the Honda store and get the 2015 Civic Si sedan.

Rear 3/4 view of the 20145 Honda Civic Si sedan
2014 Honda Civic Si sedan.
We drove the 2014 Si sedan recently, but there are no substantive changes for '15.

Honda stacks the deck totally in its favor with this little screamer, starting with color and wheel choices that make the compact look longer, lower and racier.  $24,490 gets you 62 more horses than you can get in a non-Si Civic...205 of them, from a 2.4-liter, dual overhead cam 16-valve iVTEC engine.

What's VTEC?  It's Honda's Variable Timing and Electronic Lift Control. It provides two different profiles for engine operation...one at low RPMs and one at high.  Step on it, build the revs, and....

Fast and the Furious: V-TEC Just Kicked In, Yo!

(Sorry. Had to.  It's from The Fast and the Furious, for those who didn't see it.)

No, it's not like having nitrous in the trunk, but it does get the Civic from zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds, which is a major leap over the regular Civic's 8.8 seconds.  Also standard: a limited-slip differential, four-wheel disc brakes, a MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension, a full complement of airbags, anti-lock brakes, brake assist, electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist, tire pressure monitoring, 18-inch alloy wheels, integrated front fog lights, automatic headlights, a rear-wing spoiler, exhaust finisher and a smart entry/security system.

2014 Honda Civic Si Sedan.
But wait! There's more!  Like a one-touch power moonroof, a seven-inch display audio system with navigation, voice recognition and a rear-view camera, a 360-watt premium audio system with seven speakers including a subwoofer, HD Traffic, HD Radio, XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth and USB, a Pandora interface, SMS text message functionality (it'll read them to you), a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise, voice and phone controls, a leather-wrapped shift knob for the six-speed manual (thank you, Honda!), aluminum pedal plates, LaneWatch, push-button start, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a tilt/telescoping steering column, front map lights and trunk light, exterior temperature display and floor mats.

Not bad for $24,490....$25,310 when you fold in the $820 for destination and handling.   The power comes with a penalty in fuel efficiency...the EPA estimate is 22 city/31 highway (the EX-L gets 30/39).  And there are a few quibbles I have.  The handling, while good, doesn't sing the way the engine does, keeping this from being a perfect package.  The new infotainment/nav system is better than the previous, but still not as good as what other manufacturers are offering. And even done up in carbon fiber accents, the bi-level dash is still clunky, gimmicky and gives the impression that if it weren't there, your sightlines out the windshield would be a lot better.

Still.  One heck of a lot of fun, priced within range of a significantly less-fun sibling and probably the Civic to have if you're only having one. I say that because we've recently finished a week in the 2015 Civic EX-L under vastly different driving circumstances than last summer's test, and there are some virtues that have revealed themselves.  Look for that review soon.