ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Honda vehicles, but that didn’t prevent me from being utterly disappointed with the Civic that came out for the 2012 model year. The cost-cutting measures were clear in that car, and the styling was far from exciting. On the Si, it lost the suede-like trimmed seats that were in the previous models and replaced with a slippery cloth material with an odd-looking barbed wire pattern on it. Like all Civics, there was hardly a soft-touch surface to be found inside, which was disappointing to see, especially with cars like the Ford Focus that were packing impressive, high-quality surroundings.

With this generation Civic Si, the 2.4-liter K-series four-cylinder that powered the Acura TSX and available in the Acura ILXwas swapped in replacing the 2.0-liter unit. Honda said that decision was to offer more torque, which is understandable because more torque definitely helps in daily driving and prevents you from having to wind things up that much. The downside was that you lost 1,000 rpm at the top with the bigger displacement engine giving you a 7,000 rpm redline instead of 8,000.

Fast forward to the 2014 model year -- the Civic sedan is looking better, thanks to the revisions Honda fast-tracked for the 2013 model year. It’s got a slightly more aggressive front and rear fascias, along with interior improvements that saw the arrival of soft-touch stuff on major surfaces and padded/rubbery storage cubby bottoms that prevent items from sliding around and causing a bunch of noise. Further updates inside for 2014 include a 7-inch central touchscreen, and the slick LaneWatch system is here, too, on the Si.

Also new for 2014, the Si’s engine does enjoy a small 4-hp and 4 lb-ft of torque bump in power thanks to a freer breathing exhaust system. To help sharpen handling, there are stiffer springs, new dampers and thicker rear antiroll bar.

What’s the result? The Si does feel lighter on its feet when you toss it around some, but it’s still a front-wheel-drive vehicle so the understeering tendencies are still present. That’s not to stay that there isn’t a healthy dose of grip here, because there is. It makes this a fairly fun street car, particularly on the summer tires. The suspension changes do keep the body in check with a noticeable but acceptable amount of roll, while the ride quality is still alright for regular driving. Brakes are strong with a firm pedal feel and steering feel is direct, with a slightly weighty feel tuned in.

The engine remains a selling point of the Si. It likes to rev and is happiest at the top of the rev range where peak horsepower is found. Honda’s 2.4-liter is still the smoothest four-cylinder out there as far as I’m concerned. Though in this class, the newGTI’s 2.0-liter turbo is also mighty impressive now with a lot more torque on tap. How about the six-speed manual? It’s also the best in the business with slick gear engagement and short throws. Clutch take-up is right where I prefer it in the middle of the pedal stroke. Combine all that with the four-cylinder’s excellent throttle response and you have a great car for rev-matching for downshifts.

I still bemoan the loss of the suede-trim on the seats. Worse still is the center touchscreen that is a little clunky in operation. Then there is the sound system volume adjustment that is handled by touch-sense controls. It drives me bonkers. In my opinion, if there is one thing that needs to have an old-fashioned knob, it’s the volume. Please, Honda, bring back volume knobs in your cars!

Besides that, the Civic Si remains a darn good driver’s car with a great drivetrain, sharp handling dynamics and a little bit of visual punch now. If I was shopping this class, it would be this or the VW GTI.

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A good old-fashioned knob would clear up any clunky operation of the sound system in the 2014 Honda Civic Si Navi Sedan.

EDITORIAL INTERN BRAD WILEY: The 2014 Honda Civic Si sedan is an enthusiast’s Civic. Slap on a few GReddy decals and a bleacher-sized spoiler -- because downforce on a front-wheel drive car is necessary -- and it’s time to hit the street with the full backing of the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

I’m joking really; this little Civic Si is a fantastic car. The additional 50+ hp over the base Civic is really noticeable, and it really is a fun car to drive. Handling is a breeze with well-weighted steering, a solid brake pedal and a responsive throttle. The clutch is rather springy, but I have to believe that has to do with the hydraulic clutch system -- I’m more of a cable clutch slappy. But the shifts are smooth and the gating and throw on the six-speed are excellent for idling in traffic or buzzing around town. I’ve become accustomed to the durable feel of Hondas in the past few years, both from an under-the-hood and driving perspective. And the Civic Si deserves credit where credit is due. It just feels durable, and after a thrashing, it comes back for more.

The interior is on point, and the added sport seats with red cloth inserts wrap together the overall sportiness. As with our long-term Honda Accord EX-L sedan, the center infotainment system does take some time to get used to, but it can be managed. Though I still would prefer a few more buttons. Go ahead and call me old-school.

Riding around in the Civic Si isn’t terrible, but the suspension can be rather unforgiving while navigating crumbling roadways. 

Brakes on the 2014 Honda Civic Si Navi Sedan feel strong with a firm push of the pedal.

SENIOR ROAD TEST EDITOR NATALIE NEFF: Most of my office compadres have long since tired of hearing me gripe about Honda interiors, or, more specifically, the world’s most awful audio display unit. I seriously cannot stand having to interface with the controls on any Honda. And to think that Honda and Acura once led the way with their elegant, easy-to-navigate touchscreen systems. Sigh.

The whole mess is made worse by the fact that the information relayed on the so-called Intelligent Multi-Information Display often steps on the audio screen’s toes. Why all the audio information can’t be contained in ONE spot, I have no idea. It’s just such a weird, clunky setup.

OK, enough whining. The car is moderately entertaining as a driver. Unlike the Wonger, I didn’t want for another 1,000 revs; the engine is quick to respond to inputs, the power delivery smooth and strong. The shifter, too, is a nice piece, and welcome. A car of this ilk shouldn’t come any other way than equipped with a stick.

Tossing the car around a bit on my commute home, it did keep me engaged, with a predictable front-drive handling nature and a ride that didn’t feel nearly as punishing as Brad made it out to be. And certainly the Si’s sticker is right on point. But at the end of the day, the car just leaves me a bit cold.

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