Not surprisingly, one change bound for the 2020 Honda Civic Si is its price, but fans of Honda’s sensible middle ground between Civic Sport and Civic Type R won’t be driving away empty handed.
For the coming model year, the bearer of Honda’s hotter 1.5-liter gains a mild change in appearance, additional content, and a nod towards improved performance.
If you’ve seen the front-end styling tweaks performed on the regular 2020 Civic line, expect the same here. The Si sedan and coupe toss the previous chunky, blacked-out grille crossbar in favor of two slimmer, equally dark bars placed top and bottom. A body-color bar now interrupts the fog light housings, which themselves are ringed in black.
Small stuff, made slightly more expressive by the addition of standard multi-element LED headlamps that casts a longer beam. (The crowd at IIHS is probably smiling right now.) It’s a similar story out back, at least on the bumper level.
While none of this is likely to either tempt or repel a Civic Si intender, a new, shorter final-drive ratio for the Si’s six-speed manual is said to improve acceleration feel. Whether or not it’s enough to change 0-60 times remains to be seen. Without providing a gear breakdown, Honda says the ratio is 6 percent shorter than before, so you can let your mind wander. Power remains unchanged at 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque.
There’s also safety-related news to share. All Si models gain a standard Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist functions for 2020, which should also make the folks at IIHS grin. For the uninformed, this package lumps in such things as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, road-departure mitigation, and lane-departure warning. Add to that Honda’s LaneWatch side-view camera system, which displays a passenger-side view via the infotainment screen when the right-turn blinker is on.
The list of changes means this already well-equipped front-driver becomes an even more desirable sporty commuter than it already was, and at not too much of a cost. Shod with performance all-season rubber surrounding blacked-out 18-inch wheels, a base 2020 Si sedan and coupe will retail for $25,930 after destination, or $700 more than last year. Add $200 for summer tires.
There’s one more additional cost that must be mentioned, however. Thanks to the shorter final-drive ratio, fuel economy takes a hit — always an unfortunate occurrence in a vehicle that calls for premium fuel. Whereas the previous Si models boasted an EPA rating of 28 mpg city/38 highway/32 combined, the 2020 model shaves 2 mpg from each of those figures.
There’s always a price to pay for performance.