The Redesigned 2022 Honda Civic, in the Civic Si Edition: a Stick Shift With No Compromises

Me With The 2022 Honda Civic Si Featured Image

A manual transmission should be a premium experience, right?

Oh Honda Civic, how I wished for you back in the day. Roomy enough to carry friends for a night out or the contents of my dorm room back to campus; reliable enough to make weekend round trips to school or the long haul to Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break. You would have been my ride or die.

It wasn’t to be, but that didn’t dampen the fun I had with the Honda Civic Si during my recent test drive. Back then, I would have happily driven a Civic with an automatic transmission because it would have come with upgrades to the seating and sound system, though I’d have preferred the manual transmission. These days, though, drivers who choose the manual option, only available on the Si, the sportiest version of the Civic, will get some premium upgrades in a car designed for drivers who want a lot of fun for the money.

And, as Honda begins its transition to the era of electrified cars, buyers of the Si will get what is sure to be a collector’s car in the future: A car with a manual transmission, something that won’t make the transition to electrification.

Related: Honda Civic Si Review: What If An Inexpensive Stick Shift Sedan Could Actually Be Fun? 

The 2022 Honda Civic Si

The 2022 Honda Civic Si. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The 2022 Honda Civic, Redesigned With More Comfort and Style and Tail Lights I Can Finally Get Behind

On first glance, the redesign of the Civic may not be immediately apparent. The silhouette of this car looks much the same as it has in recent years. The front end is a bit more sculpted and the subtle curves have been ironed out for a more straightforward look. The lower front grille and bumper have been updated but the angular headlights look much the same.

But the big news is on the rear end, where the bracket-style tail lights have been replaced by more traditional lights that span the outer thirds of the trunk and wrap around the side rear panels. The new lights look elegant and grown up.

Related: I Really Didn’t Want to Test Drive the 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid. But I Did Anyway

The Rear Seats In The Honda Civic Si

The rear seats in the Honda Civic Si. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Roomier, More Comfortable Honda Civic Interior

On the inside, Honda went for a larger and more comfortable cabin. I can attest, the rear seats had plenty of leg room, which is a departure for this compact sedan, though rear seat passengers will be dependent on front seat pals to control the air flow and plug devices in to one of the car’s two USB ports or the 12V cigarette lighter adapter style outlet.

The front cabin is anchored by dashboard with a new climate vent grille recessed into the dashboard, which adds to the spacious cabin feel. The vent grille has a honeycomb look to it; our test model’s was accented in red for the Si edition, though in other Civic editions it’s a muted dark gray with a silver frame. There are 4 air vents under the grille and the have joystick-style controls so you can position the airflow however you’d like; this is a nice touch.

The command center between the front seats is accented by a cubby under the dashboard that can hold a phone — mine fit best in the space lengthwise, though; when I put it there sideways it barely fit, resting at an angle. Above the cubby are two standard USB ports and a cigarette lighter adapter style power port and climate controls are on a panel above. Next to the shifter is the drive mode selector, the auto stop/start control button and brake hold, all neatly at your fingertips.

Related: Ten Affordable and Fun Manual Transmission Cars That Will Fire Up Your Stick Shift Dreams

The Recessed Cup Holders Were Not Low Enough To Keep My Water Bottle Out Of The Way Of My Elbow. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The recessed cup holders were not low enough to keep my water bottle out of the way of my elbow. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Few Caveats to Consider, Though

There are some things buyers will need to consider: Despite the recessed cup holders, I found I could not put my water bottle, which is 10” tall, in the cup holder while driving; it impeded my reach of the gear shifter. In the automatic edition you’d likely have less of an issue but it could still be cumbersome. A Venti cup, at 6.5” would be less likely to collide with your elbow, depending on your elbow.

Then, this model comes standard with red cloth sport seats; leather or non-sport seats are not an option, nor are heated seats.

And, even in normal mode, the Civic Si is a bit noisy. It’s the sport engine at work, and of course, what you bought it for, but it’s pronounced and distinct.

Related: Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn to Drive a Stick Shift

The Rear End Of The 2022 Honda Civic Si Adds The Spoiler To Give This Car A Bit More Aerodynamic Integrity

The rear end of the 2022 Honda Civic Si adds the spoiler to give this car a bit more aerodynamic integrity. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What Makes Si Special

But, the engine sound is what makes the Si (Si stands for sport injection) stand out. Put it in sport mode and it’s even louder, which is either annoying or fantastic, depending on your view. As you downshift you’ll hear rev matching as the engine speeds up for a smooth gear change; rev matching adds to the fun and satisfying experience of a manual transmission.

Out on the road, the Si’s 200 horsepower, about 20 more than the top of the line Civic Touring edition, easily kept me out ahead of traffic. On curvy roads, the limited slip differential, which provides more traction, kept the Civic Si clinging to every curve, adding to the fun factor.

The Si has a few visual signifiers that give away its sport performance DNA:  the Si badges on the front grille and the rear tail, and the spoiler on the trunk, two heritage details for the Si line. And as if those signals are not clear enough, our test model came in Blazing Orange, a color I would expect would be more popular with sports driving enthusiasts than someone who wants a practical car for commuting to work or outings with the in-laws.

The Command Center In The 2022 Honda Civic Si With The Manual Shifter, Drivce Mode Selector And Phone Storage Cubby

The command center in the 2022 Honda Civic Si with the manual shifter, drive mode selector and phone storage cubby. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Premium Features Designed to Pamper

Who knew that a manual transmission would one day be considered a premium feature? Back in the day, they were offered to keep pricing low; now, they are sought after by drivers who love the experience. Those buyers are often willing to opt for—or expect to be included—premium details.

Our model came with the upgraded multimedia system, wireless Apple CarPlay (it can also operate via the USB port, which I prefer) and premium sound. The premium Honda media system was updated a few years ago and has even allows you to click and drag the system app icons to set up the screen to your liking. And, there are actual buttons, including a home button, on the side of the screen, giving it a nice tactile feel.

The Civic Si’s driver information screen allows you to customize the left side of the screen, so you can display the driver assist systems that are at work, view the radio station or see your speed and the speed limit on the road; road sign reader technology is included in this tech package.

Driver Assist And Safety Features Are Displayed On The Driver Informatio Screen And Easily Controlled

Driver assist and safety features are displayed on the driver information screen and easily controlled. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Driver Assist Systems For the Win

Honda has included Honda Sensing, it’s suite of driver assist and safety systems, as standard equipment for a while. Of course, those things include crash mitigation with pre-crash braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. It also includes adaptive cruise control, but can that feature work in the manual transmission Civic Si? Turns out, yes! It won’t change gears for you to come to a complete stop, but it will lower your speed when set to follow highway traffic.

And, another great feature are the automatic high beam headlights. I really love these and it’s a pleasant surprise when they turn up the illumination on a dark road even before you think to pop the light control stalk forward for more light.

If you want to see the systems at work, there’s a single button to the left side of the steering wheel (a car icon with a circle around it) that you can tap to see all systems at work. You’ll get a display on the driver’s information screen that shows which ones are on and which ones are off; you can then toggle through the settings with the button on the left side of the steering wheel to adjust your settings.

Overall, I found the systems to be pretty comfortable and not all that intrusive, but maybe I’m just used to them; I tend to simply leave them all on.

The Shift Pattern Inidicator On The Top Of The Gear Shifter Is A Helpful Diagram For New Drivers

The shift pattern indicator on the top of the gear shifter is a helpful diagram for new drivers. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Who This Car is For

  • Anyone who loves a manual transmission
  • Drivers who want a stick shift plus some premium features
  • Drivers who like a sporty drive experience
  • Drivers who need rear seat passenger space
  • Buyers who want a good value in a performance-focused car
  • First time buyers
  • Buyers who don’t mind cloth seats or other small sacrifices for the sport performance
The Si Badge On The Front Grille Of The 2022 Honda Civic

The Si badge on the front grille of the 2022 Honda Civic. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What We Loved

  • A manual transmission car that doesn’t compromise other comforts
  • 3 drive modes
  • 200 HP for a fun drive experience
  • The new tail lights. By a lot.
  • Driver assist system indicators on the driver information screen
  • All the upgrades: media system, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and
  • Bose premium sound
  • Smart key auto lock and unlock system and a red illuminated push button starter
  • The new honeycomb grille that spans the dashboard
The Rear View Camera With Guidelines And A Nice, Wide View

The rear view camera with guidelines and a nice, wide view. Photo: Scotty Reiss

What You Get for the Money

The Si is one of five models available in the lineup, and the only manual transmission option. It has the same design and many of the same features as the other models; here is how they price out:

  • LX base model 4 cylinder 158 Hp engine includes 17” wheels, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Honda Sensing driver assist and safety features including adaptive cruise control collision avoidance braking, lane deep assist and multi-angle rearview camera, $22,350
  • The top of the link Touring edition adds a turbo engine, 180 HP, leather seats, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charger pad, one USB port in the front seat and two in the rear and multiple drive modes, $28,950,
  • Civic Si has a 4 cylinder turbo engine, 200 HP, 6 speed manual transmission, 3 drive modes, 18” wheels, premium Bose sound, cloth sport seats, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, smart key Honda Sensing driver assist and safety features with traffic sign recognition and premium 9” color media system $27,300
  • HPT edition adds summer tires for $200
  • The Blazing Orange paint color of our test model, $395
  • Price of our test model with $1,015 delivery, $28,910

It’s really gratifying that manufacturers like Honda haven’t yet abandoned the manual transmission and even better, are packaging them with so many premium features. It’ll be a sad day when they are no longer available—though the electrified versions of their performance will no doubt be as fun to drive.

Until then, cars like the Civic Si deliver a really nice experience: Fun to drive and not stripped of nice features like the top grade media system. I do wish there were leather seats (and not red) and a panoramic sun roof, but those are the only things I missed. Overall, it’s nice to see Civic’s new design packed in a fun, nicely appointed manual transmission car for fans want that last blast of manual driving before it truly becomes a thing of the past.

Disclosure: Honda provided the Civic Si for this test drive; all opinions are my own.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss