I have owned many vehicles in the past however non quite as unique as the 99 Civic Si. This particular vehicle offers a well balanced platform that combines style, functionality, performance and reliability into a small, affordable package. The review below reflects the car in it's stock form. The very last paragraph also provides some insight into the vehicle after a few small performance modifications.
I purchased my used Civic Si (60,000 miles) almost a year ago. It was the first Honda I owned that possessed the B16 Dual Over Head Cam VTEC engine. The Civic Si is different from the other models since it was the only Civic offered with the B16 from the factory. While other Honda Civics such as the dx, lx or ex also possess a d16 1.6 liter motor, the B16 has two cams: one for low rpm and economic driving. The other for top end aggressive performance. The "attitude" of the B16 motor is also much different than other civics. The B16 redlines at 8,000 rpm with the VTEC engaging at 5500 RPM. This provides the driver with plenty of usable top end horsepower which is exactly where Honda designs its motors to perform best. In addition, this motor boasts a higher compression ratio which requires the motor to run on premium gas. While it is slightly more expensive at the pump, the fuel economy is still better than other sports coupes in its class.
Off the line, this car resembles a Civic Ex however, once you reach 5500 rpm, the VTEC on the B16 engages. You can actually hear the VTEC kick in (a throaty vroom followed by a crack)and instantly the mild mannered civic changes into a high reving sport coupe. The acceleration is smooth, steady and quick. The engine revs high resembling the sound of a motorcycle and the short gear ratio has the driver moving through the five speed gear box relatively quickly. While the power is not as awe inspiring as a big block v-8, this 4 cylinder motor is light, quick and full of pep. Downshifting to pass a vehicle is always a delight.
The Civic Si also comes with a more performance oriented suspension. The ride height is slightly lower than the other Civic models and the spring and shocks are a little stiffer. A front shock tower brace and lower tie bar also stiffen up the chasis which gives the Si a firm, confident and nimble feel through tight turns and canyon roads. In addition, the Si comes with larger 15 inch rims and shorter 55 series tires which complete the spirited feel of this canyon carver.
The interior of the Si is practical and intelligently designed. The drivers seat is fully adjustable with excellent lumbar support. The Si model comes fully loaded with power windows, locks, an upgraded sound system and power sun roof. The only down side to the interior are the cup holders which were not designed to hold most any cups or drinks. If you take a turn at any reasonable speed, your drink will go flying onto the floor of the cabin.
Just as a side note for those looking to modify their Civic Si. I am a car guy who can't leave anything stock. I was very please with the Civic in it's stock form, but for those of you who are like me, I couldn't leave it alone. I later added an AEM cold air intake, DC sports header and Meugen Exhaust. I also lowered the vehicle with Skunk 2 Adjustable Coilovers and Tokiko Shocks. I also added a Skunk 2 dual-bend short throw shifter and a Spoon Shift Knob. The Si responded very well to all of the upgrades and went from a Civic with attitude to an absolute blast to drive. These simple modifications allowed the engine to breathe better and as a result, greatly improved acceleration, handling and shifting. The car feels even more aggressive than it did before and runs through all 5 gears quickly. While many reviews complain about the fuel mileage on the Civic Si, I can say that while it is not great, it's not terrible either. Honda didn't advertise the Si model as economic; rather, a performance sports coupe. The price one pays in the slight drop in fuel economy for the performance squeezed for a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder motor is a great compromise. I personally think the trade of is more than fair.
Bottom line: The Civic Si is a great blend of performance, handling and styling. It's economic, dependable, fun to drive and stock form and with a few small modifications is a blast to drive. It's a car that can get you to work every day and race at the track on weekends. The Civic Si is the reason I'm a Honda fan and will continue to buy more in the future.
Amount Paid (US$):
1999Model and Options:
Si, 5 Speed