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The 2017 Honda Civic Dilemma: Si or Sport?

Consumer Reports logo Consumer Reports 7/24/2017

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Although the Si has long been considered the iconic 2017 Honda Civic performance choice, it finds itself now as the middle child, flanked below by the nearly-as-capable Sport ($2,600 less), and above by the fire-breathing, 305-hp Type R ($12,600 more).

After driving the Si side-by-side with the 2017 Honda Civic Sport, we have come to a conclusion: Save the $2,600, and get the Sport.

The Si has a shaded edge over the Sport when it comes to specs: It gets 25 more horsepower (205 vs. 180) and 15 more lb.-ft. of torque (192 vs 177). But, when experienced on real-world roads, our experts say that there’s little noticeable difference in acceleration.

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To true racers, the 2017 Honda Civic Si has some cool features, including adjustable dampers that can make the suspension stiffer upon demand and a limited-slip differential to maximize traction as the car exits a corner. But we found those differences small enough, and rare enough in everyday usage, to make up for the price difference. In addition, we found that the Sport has a more comfortable ride, and some of us felt that the shifter was smoother.

To be clear, you do give up some creature comforts if you choose the 2017 Honda Civic Sport over the Si. The Si has a push-button start; the Sport requires a key. You get a dual-zone climate control system in the Si, while the Sport has just one zone. And the Si gets a sunroof, while the Sport does not.

Still, both get the same 18-inch wheels and tires. Plus, the radio is clearly easier to use in the Sport; it gets both volume and tuning knobs, while the Si gets Honda’s reviled knob-free system. Both are available with a stick shift, but only the sport offers up an automatic CVT, which broadens its appeal to the less race-minded.

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There are cosmetic and structural differences to consider too: The 2017 Honda Civic Si is available as a coupe, with just two doors, or a four-door sedan, while the Sport is a more utilitarian four-door hatchback. And the Si gets an unusual exhaust pipe shaped like an HDMI connector, while the Sport, er, sports central-mounted dual exhaust pipes that we really like.

Both versions require Premium gasoline for the engine, and the Sport edges the Si by 1 mpg (33 vs. 32) in its EPA-estimated combined ratings.

In the end, going with the Si isn’t guaranteed to be more fun to drive or put a bigger smile on your face. Given the difference in price, and similarity in features, the Sport is a smart buy—especially if you want to apply the $2,600 in savings to personalizing the vehicle with aftermarket parts.

Read the complete Honda Civic road test.

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