The 2004 Honda Civic Si Is A Highly Underrated Classic Hot Hatch

Honda has been in the business of making cars for a while now. Frankly, the brand is a household name in the United States. Anyone looking for a no-nonsense runabout will most certainly shortlist a Honda. In its lineup of sensible cars lie the Civic, a long-running and fairly popular name in the motoring world, famous among the rational-minded. Believe it or not, the Honda Civic is currently in its 11th generation, serving its “Civic” duties since the mid-seventies.

But what interests the enthusiastic lot is the Civic Si— the “Sport Injected” model, which isn’t as hardcore as the Type-R but also isn’t as boring as the plebian Civic. In this discussion, we’ll go over the 2004 model year, which comes across as a rare car, especially with the factory options.

It has to be pointed out that cars these days are becoming so good in terms of performance that it’d be difficult to differentiate between them if you weren’t for the logos. But that wasn’t the case not too long ago. The 2004 Honda Civic Si was about a bog-standard Civic getting a spicier engine with a few extra performance add-ons. We’d go as far as to call it a highly underrated classic hot hatch, especially if you find a low-mileage unmolested example.

RELATED: Why The 2022 Honda Civic Si Is Still A Perfect Driver’s Car

2004 Honda Civic Si Gets a Punchy Four-cylinder Engine

As for performance, there is plenty of gusto in the 2.0L four-banger that’s part of the K-series lineup. Power figures stand at 160 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The zesty little motor delivers decent performance, with 0-60 taking just under 7.5 seconds. Much like previous Si models, the power is sent to the front wheels only. Yes, you have regular non-spicy cars posting better 0-60 times than this Civic Si. But what you should remember is that this was the early 2000s. Not many hatchbacks were available with a 160-horsepower engine. Its closest rivals, the Ford SVT Focus made around 170 horsepower, while the 200-plus horsepower Dodge Neon SRT was perhaps the best in terms of sheer power. You could only get the Civic Si with a 5-speed manual, which made the car an exciting prospect in terms of driving experience.

Sprightly Handling And Accessible Performance Were The Civic Si’s Selling Points

It’s not just performance on paper that defines a proper hot hatch. Handling is an equally important factor, and the 2004 Civic Si is no slouch. Honda equipped the car with a sport-tuned suspension, and a lowered ride height if you opted the Honda Factory Performance option. You get bigger rims and slightly wider rubber making it dynamically superior to its run-of-the-mill sibling.

The Civic Si is not a full-on track car but has enough kit to make you feel confident around corners. Having a rev-happy engine with a 5-speed manual box made the Si incredibly fun. Because it wasn’t putting out crazy horsepower, you needn’t drive it with the fear of losing your license. It was sprightly but very accessible at the same time.

Another thing worth mentioning is fuel economy. Fuel efficiency is often overlooked when it comes to performance cars. But having a relatively frugal engine was one of the reasons that made the Civic Si incredibly versatile. Considering how expensive gas prices are, having an efficient runaround adds to the overall ownership experience. You get about 25 MPG combined, which was pretty good by 2004 standards.

RELATED: This Is How The 2022 Honda Civic Si Blends Convenience With Performance

2004 Civic Si Offered Spartan Interiors

Much like its predecessors, the Honda Civic Si managed to keep the fundamental ethos of the Si alive. The driver-focused nature was retained, and so was the minimalist interior design with not much to talk about. The driving position was spot on, and the pedals were positioned perfectly for exuberant driving. You get the regular splash of Si badges, white gauges, sporty red stitching, Alcantara, and carbon fiber if you ticked the factory performance option. The interior feels very Honda-like, and you appreciate the brand not going over the top with the design details. Sticking to the basic principles gave the 2004 Civic Si a very reliable aesthetic, which is not something you could say about the 2020 Civic Type R.

One of the best bits about the Civic Si was how simple it was. Unlike the 2022 Civic Si, which has grown quite a bit, the 2004 model boasted a modest identity but largely hatched across as an exciting little hot hot. Due to its rather inconspicuous nature, the Civic Si was able to keep a low profile. Of course, it all depended on the modifications or not having any, if that’s your taste. Overall, the Civic Hatch is a rare item, especially with the factory performance kit. It won’t blow your mind, but the Civic Si’s throaty vocals and rev-happy NA motor will definitely put a smile on your face, which in this day and age of horsepower hunting and downsizing is something we highly appreciate.

Sources: Honda