AUSTIN, Texas — The 2020 Honda Civic range has been given a mid-cycle update, the first for this 10th generation of economy cars. That naturally includes the hopped-up Civic Si. The updates are mild, making it a better value than it used to be, keeping it as fun as ever, and leaving just a few rough edges. Mechanically, the Civic Si is nearly unchanged. It still has a reworked turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four making 205 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. That's still not a whole lot in a segment where 250 horsepower is more the norm, but there's enough here to enjoy on the street, and the aftermarket is ready and willing to give you the power you desire. Power aside, the engine's still smooth and growly like a good Honda engine should be. In fact, it sounds good enough that the electronic sound enhancement in Sport mode is unnecessary and almost annoying. Compared to past Hondas, the revs climb slowly and to a lower peak. But the torque is lovely. The engine has a distinct turbo feel, with boost coming on less smoothly and not quite as quickly as the competition. The engine is paired solely with a six-speed manual transmission that feels mechanical and slick. It proves Honda still has this department down pat. The clutch is surprisingly light, which will be handy for those who deal with stop-and-go traffic frequently. It could use a little extra feedback, but doesn't hinder driving at all. The one mechanical change Honda did make was a shorter final drive ratio in the differential. This will probably result in slightly quicker acceleration times, but you probably won't notice it being any faster; we certainly didn't. This change also dropped fuel economy to 26 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway, a drop of 2 mpg from the previous model, though that still beats just about every small sporty car save the now defunct and less powerful Fiat 500 Abarth. [slideshow id='2183641'] The highlight of the Civic Si is its handling. The chassis is stiff and the car feels light, no doubt a result of it weighing just under 3,000 pounds. Steering is pinpoint precise, light and quick. And if the weight in the default mode is too light for you, Sport mode adds some heft but no extra feedback to the mildly talkative wheel. Ride quality is certainly a bit stiffer than your average Civic, leading to an occasionally bumpy ride. But bumps are well-damped meaning you won't be kicked, and the car is never upset in corners. Body roll is minimal, only starting to show up during track work, which we discovered during laps of Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The Si's standard mechanical limited-slip differential is the icing on the cornering cake, and does the most to elevate it above the Civic Sport Hatchback. It allows the front wheels to claw the car around bends with the throttle depressed, something that would result in aggressive traction …
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|MPG||26 City / 36 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||205 @ 5700 rpm|
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