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Hey everyone,

I know this is an old topic by now and this forum isn't really active, but after finally driving a 10th Gen Si I wanted to share my experience because I think most reviews and write ups miss some key characteristics. Hopefully someone might find this useful. I'm a driving enthusiast, so this is going to be a driver's perspective on what the car feels like when you drive it. I won't waste time with anything you could have googled.

After considering the 10th gen for a while now, I went to the dealership and told them that the driving experience is what will sell me. The salesman gave me the keys to a brand new 2020 Si coupe and told me to have fun with it, so I did.

The Interior

Honda did a great job setting up the interior on this generation. The seating position is far superior to the 9th gen. You sit very low in the car, the instrument cluster is well positioned and the shifter sits nearly steering wheel height. This feels like a proper sports car's cockpit and I'm in a $25k Civic, well done Honda. While the 10th gen's interior feels focused and aggressive, the 9th gen is open, airy and almost minivan like by comparison. The seats themselves are also a big improvement. There's much more torso bolstering and thigh bolstering, which is basically totally absent in the 9th gen. The seats are also much more comfortable and supportive, particularly under your legs, as the seat bottoms extend much further. The rest of the interior is perfectly acceptable. The materials aren't as high quality as a Mazda 3, but they're well put together with minimal gap inconsistencies and no rattles.

The Drive

The first thing that has to be mentioned here is the 10th gen Si's defining characteristic: REV HANG. The rev hang in this car is simply unacceptable. If you shift smoothly and match revs when you shift, you will find there are multi-second gaps between gears. This took me by surprise. We've come accustomed to some degree of rev hang on Si's in the past, and generally most DBW cars have varying amounts of rev hang, but this is extraordinary. No, this isn't the type of rev hang that you will solve with a reflash from Hondata. There are two causes for this rev hang: There's the engine programming that calls for the throttle to stay open briefly after letting off which can be solved with Hondata, but the 10th gen also features an extremely heavy flywheel which ensures very lethargic engine deceleration. On average there is a 2.5 - 3 second wait in between each gear. I really can't understand how you're supposed to adjust to this absurd amount of rev hang. Do you just accept extremely slow acceleration and wait for the revs to fall, or do you just accept drivetrain shock as a fact of life and allow your clutch to eat the extra engine revs every time you shift?

Moving away from that unpleasantness for a bit, the handling dynamics are exceptional for a car of this class. Granted, I only had it for an hour on public roads, but dynamically this car is very well setup. The car is not upset over mid corner bumps in the slightest. You can feel the roll center of the car is pressing weight ONTO the tire, instead of pushing over the tire like you can sometimes feel in the 9th gen. The front tires always feel less stressed during cornering in the 10th gen, this is simply a better balanced, more stable handling car than the 9th gen is. The 10th gen's steering is MUCH better than the 9th gen. The 9th gen's rack is numb, wobbly on center and a bit sluggish. The 10th Gen's steering transmits a good amount of feel, the on center feel is very solid and the ratio is very tight, a much more enjoyable steering experience.

The 10th gen's shifter is more than acceptable, but inferior to the 9th. If this shifter was found in any other brand it would be applauded, but in the context of the bolt action slickness and precision we're used to from K series transmissions, this falls short. There's clearly plastic components in here that feel a little cheap and make odd sounds. They've also used what I would consider overly tight springs to try to mimic the tightness naturally felt in previous Si shifters. When I first set off in the parking lot the shifter actually got stuck in between reverse and neutral and it required a bit of a slam to be freed. Maybe this is due to the brand new bushings not being properly worn in, but still odd.

Pedal spacing is better in the 10th gen than the 9th gen. The 9th gen really isn't setup well for heel toeing unless you're braking very hard. The 10th gen's brake pedal is more even with the throttle and can be heel toed during normal street braking pressure. The clutch pedal is significantly lighter in the 10th gen, I didn't mind the lightness. I did mind the longer pedal throw. While not excessively long, I prefer the snappier engagement in the 9th gen. On that note, flywheel weight comes into play here again. The 10th gen always engages the clutch softly due to its very heavy flywheel. It's almost VW-esque. If you're a couple hundred RPM off of a rev match, your mistake will be absorbed without your passenger's knowledge. And you will be off when rev matching, again because of that heavy flywheel. Down shifting at high RPM isn't done with a blip, so much as it is a prolonged pinning of the throttle. This engine does not like to rev quickly.

Engine performance is mostly what you'd expect with the L15, more mid range grunt but it runs out of breath up top compared to the K24. The K24 with it's lighter flywheel and NA power delivery certainly has more jerk when you accelerate, while the L15 sort of builds a swell of torque. The K24 pins you back in your seat more dramatically. These cars both have nearly identical power output and it feels that way when driving, neither is noticeably faster than the other. My problem with the L15 is that its power band doesn't make sense to me. Below 2500 RPM the turbo isn't spooled and it's less powerful than the K24. So around town it feels gutless. Above 5500 RPM the high revving nature of a VTEC engine is much more enjoyable in its power delivery. The L15 really excels at 2500-5500 RPM, providing much more mid range power. I don't find this to be a useful place to deliver power. If I'm driving slowly in traffic in town, I'm going to be below 3k RPM, where the K24 is making more power. If I'm driving spiritedly I'm going to be above 5500 RPM, again where the K24 is better. I don't see the value in having all your torque available at 3500 RPM in a manual car that you'll want to rev out.

Conclusion

The 10th gen Civic as a platform is much better than the 9th gen. The body rigidity, the suspension tuning, the handling dynamics, the seating position, the steering and the braking are ALL better in the 10th gen. That all said, I much prefer the 9th gen and its simply because the L15, or at least the way its implemented in the Si is just bad. The L15 is overtly a basic, economy engine and its so uninspiring to drive. This isn't a nostalgic lamentation of the loss of VTEC engines. I've long since accepted that VTEC is a thing of the past and I don't mind DI-T engines, but Honda did a poor job with the L15 in the Si. It hates to rev, which is anathema to the spirit of an Si. There are DI-T engines that rev better than this, even the K20C in the Accord Sport is better than this. The rev hang makes this an irritating experience, it nullifies the many strengths this car has, because all I can think about is "I can't believe I actually have to wait THREE FULL SECONDS in between each gear." If Honda had blessed the Si with a detuned version of the K20C, like the one found in the Accord, this might be the best Si ever made. But with its dud of an engine, the 10th gen Civic Si is out of my consideration.
 

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good write up. i have also been looking at these 10th gens closely, they have grown on me quite a bit.
im sure alot of the rev hang, power dynamics etc would be tuneable.
im still gonna keep my 9th gen for a while tho, i just want the 10th gen seats.
 

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I didnt like the 1.5 so I bought another 9th gen. The center console in the 10th feels like I'm in a Prius. Feels like a turbo D15 who does that? If you can afford the type R 2.0 is way better. For me I would just get the accord 2.0. Also not a fan of direct injection.
 

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good write up. i have also been looking at these 10th gens closely, they have grown on me quite a bit.
im sure alot of the rev hang, power dynamics etc would be tuneable.
im still gonna keep my 9th gen for a while tho, i just want the 10th gen seats.
Unfortunately, this isn't simply a software issue. You would at least need a lightweight flywheel as well, and by this point you're already spending enough money to where you could have bought a Veloster N or GTI.

I took a couple videos of the 10th gen's rev hang because I'm not sure it comes across as bad as it is until you actually see it compared with a car you're used to.


Edit: I also didn't harp on it too much, because you can choose to just not drive in sport mode. But for 2020 they added digital sound through the speakers that's supposed to sound like an engine I guess? It sounds like an engine sound effect from GTA Vice City to me.
 

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We have a 2018 Accord with the 1.5 liter turbo and CVT. The sounds this engine makes are not exactly awe-inspiring. Add to this the turbo lag, and it is not a car I enjoy driving a whole lot. I can't even imagine the rev hang added to the turbo lag with a manual transmission.

I will say, though, that the car is quite firm and precise for a car that is as big as it is. The interior is very comfortable and business-like. I agree with Squid's 2nd paragraph in the 'The Drive' section of his review. The Accord behaves in much the same way. It is fun to throw around in that regard, but I prefer my 9th gen R18 (no rev hang) with its 5MT.
 

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Yea I think with the K24 the 9th gen got the last of the "true" SI. Some would even argue its the 8th gen with the 8400 rev limiter or whatever the K20 goes too. Little baby motor with a turbo does nothing for me, and your review confirmed it.
 

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Nice write-up. My '15 will prob be the last Si I own. I’ll have this car for quite a while. Will be my kid’s first car, if it hangs around long enough. 2.0 Accord Sport will prob be next up, unless I go stupid with a Charger scat pack.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Nice write up! The 1.5L doesn't impress me at all. The only 10th gen I would consider is the Type-R. My previous "sports" car was an EVO X in which I modified a good amount. Driving around town (just like you mentioned) sucked balls, especially on a heavier car like an EVO X, I can only imagine on a 1.5L motor. I understand why car manufactures are headed in this direction, but IMO.... what made Honda great was their innovation. Seems like they ventured away from it a bit. Who knows, maybe the next gen Honda will surprise us with something.
 
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