Yes, we know the Honda Civic Type R is faster – but…
The 2020 Honda Civic Type R is a track brute. Its sheer capability and overall performance put many rear-wheel drive vehicles to shame. Not only that, it’s a bargain with a starting price around $37,000, and it’s received some noteworthy updates for the 2020 model year. Still, there are a lot of people who feel that the tradeoff between raw performance and daily-driving fun is too great with the Type R.
Paul, our track ace (and former Stig from Top Gear USA) puts both the Type R and its little brother, the Civic Si, through their paces. He has a lot of experience finding ways to squeeze performance from just about any vehicle. In this case, he seems to enjoy it more than usual. That says a lot about both vehicles!
Enter the 2020 Honda Civic Si
Just like the Type R, the 2020 Honda Civic Si has received a few updates. It comes standard with a turbocharged 205 horsepower four-cylinder engine that makes 192 lb-ft of torque. The Si comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, which is extremely rewarding to use. It’s not as taut and agile as the Type R, but it’s one of the best fun cars out there on a sub-$30,000 vehicle. The 2020 Honda Civic Si weighs about 2,900 lbs and as an MSRP of $26,195 (including destination) for either the coupe or sedan.
Yes, you can get a sedan version of the Civic Si, or the slick little coupe. Unfortunately, no hatchback is available. Oddly enough, the sedan Si gets exactly the same fuel economy over the smaller/sleeker coupe. Both vehicles get 26 mpg city and 36 highway. Honda recommends premium fuel for better performance.
Right off the bat, the Civic Si has a deficit of about 100 horsepower compared to the Type R. It doesn’t have the trick suspension, brakes or tires the Type R has either. It isn’t as hard-core on the track and it doesn’t have the visual pizazz of the Type R; not by a long shot. Yet, the Si is a far better daily driver and it is remarkably to drive.
If lumbering, all-wheel drive crossovers weren’t the rage right now, the Honda Civic and Civic Si should be outselling just about everything. The Civic Si is truly a joy to drive.
What About the Honda Civic Type R?
The 2020 Honda Civic Type R mainly gets minor suspension, brake and aerodynamics tweaks, but the basics remain the same. It has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. A super-sharp shifting six-speed manual transmission is standard. The Type R weighs less than 3,200 lbs and has an MSRP of $37,950.
As for lap times, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R managed a respectable lap time of 1:05.60, which turned out to be slightly slower than the last time we had a Type R on the track. The Civic Si on the other hand put up a much quicker time, at 1:08.06 (over a second faster than the last one we had).