In our garage this week is the refreshed 2019 Honda Pilot in top-line Touring trim, and so far the consensus is positive.  The mid-cycle update adds a deeper new grille and front bumper design that’s…

2019 Honda Pilot Touring

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Honda has toughened up the look of the 2019 Pilot as part of its mid-cycle refresh, and we think it’s a solid improvement. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

In our garage this week is the refreshed 2019 Honda Pilot in top-line Touring trim, and so far the consensus is positive. 

The mid-cycle update adds a deeper new grille and front bumper design that’s more familial to other models in the lineup, such as the recently redesigned Accord, plus it also receives sharp looking new standard LED headlamps up front. Likewise, the rear end gets new LED taillight lenses and a revised rear bumper cap. Additional features that make Touring trim more appealing include full LED headlamps with Honda’s very upscale trademark design, some extra exterior chrome including the door handles, and new 20-inch machine-finished alloys with black painted pockets. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
The new grille pulls cues from the recently redesigned CR-V and Accord. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

I think the various styling tweaks make the entire design look more attractive. The outgoing version was by no means ugly, but it didn’t really grab my attention the way the new one does. From front to back the new Pilot is handsome. It’s a big three-row crossover SUV that still looks light and nimble, never cumbersome, and such appearances transfer well into the driving experience. 

I’ll tell you more about that in my upcoming road test review, and let you know how its upgraded auto start-stop system and refined nine-speed automatic perform. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
LED headlights are standard, although these upgraded ones with full LED high beams come as part of Touring trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The well-proven engine carries over from last year, so its output remains generous at 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Honda also provides its Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD system, assisted by its Intelligent Traction Management System as standard equipment across the line, while I should mention here the entry-level transmission, found in the base LX, the EX, and the EX-L Navi, only sports six forward gears. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
These sharp looking 20-inch machine-finished alloys are exclusive to Touring trim. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

So equipped the Pilot is good for a claimed 13.0 L/100km in the city, 9.3 on the highway and 11.3 combined, whereas nine-speed models achieve 12.4 city, 9.3 highway and 11.0 combined. 

Your choice of transmission does not affect the Pilot’s towing capacities, which are rated at 1,588 kilos (3,500 lbs) in its standard setup or 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) with an optional towing package, while I should also note that cargo capacity is another good reason to consider a Pilot, its space behind the third row measuring a sizeable 524 litres (18.5 cubic feet), or about the size of a large car’s trunk behind the third row, or 510 litres (18.0 cubic feet) in Touring/Black Edition guise, and 1,583 litres (55.9 cubic feet) with the third row folded, while it ranges from 3,072 to 3,092 litres (108.5 to 109.2 cubic feet), depending on trim, when both rear rows are folded flat. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
The updated Pilot gets new taillight lenses and a reworked bumper in back. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

A few more Touring features worth noting include more advanced LED high beam-infused headlamps, power-folding auto-dimming side mirrors, blue ambient lighting, front window acoustic glass, rain-sensing wipers, an electronic gear selector, ventilated front seats, a premium 600-watt audio system with 11 speakers including a subwoofer plus 5.1 Surround Sound, wireless device charging, Honda’s handy new CabinTalk in-car PA system, HondaLink Subscription Services, AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot, the “How much Farther?” app, a rear entertainment system, HDMI input jack, a 115-volt rear power outlet, blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and more. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Nice looking LED taillights, right? A subtle but effective improvement. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Included with my tester, Touring models can be upgraded to include a set of sliding and reclining captain’s chairs to either side of a slightly raised floor-mounted console with cupholders and a shallow bin, instead of the regular three-abreast bench seat. This reduces passenger volume from eight to seven, but the captain’s chairs are more comfortable thanks in part to seat heaters and flip-down armrests, plus this seven-passenger edition gets a panoramic sunroof overhead for a much more open and airy cabin. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Honda kept the interior mostly carryover, but some upgrades have enhanced the overall experience. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Touring trim also includes items pulled up from lesser trims, such as the acoustic windshield, memory-linked side mirrors with reverse gear tilt-down, heatable steering wheel, four-way powered front passenger’s seat, navigation system, navi-based compass, satellite and HD radio, front and rear parking sensors, heated outboard second-row seats, one-touch third-row access buttons, second-row sunshades, powered tailgate and more found in the EX-L Navi, plus the LED fog lamps, LED turn signals in the side mirror caps, roof rails, illuminated vanity mirrors, Homelink garage door opener, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 10-way powered driver’s seat with memory, powered moonroof and more from the EX. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Say hello to the Pilot’s new 7.0-inch digital gauge display, standard across the line. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

One of my favourite new features is the 7.0-inch TFT multi-information display (MID) found in the mostly digital gauge cluster. The MID features nice bright, high-resolution colour graphics and easy operation via steering wheel-mounted controls, a highly functional system that helps to modernize the look of the interior. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
The PIlot’s 8.0-inch touchscreen continues to be one of the nicest in the industry. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

The Pilot’s big 8.0-inch tablet-style touchscreen infotainment system is excellent too, and along with wonderfully colourful tile-like graphics that were obviously inspired by Apple products, includes standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with streaming audio, a multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines, and much more. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
These are some seriously comfortable seats. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Additional standard Pilot features that are pulled up into Touring trim include remote start, proximity-sensing access with pushbutton ignition, a windshield wiper de-icer, a conversation mirror within sunglasses holder, tri-zone auto climate control, three-way heatable front seats, a 264-watt audio system with seven speakers including a subwoofer, the HondaLink Assist Automatic Emergency Response System, and more. 

2019 Honda Pilot Touring
Is this third row only for kids? Come back and read the review to find out. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Lastly, the 2019 Pilot receives the Honda Sensing suite of advanced driver assistance features as standard equipment, which adds auto high beams, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, and Road Departure Mitigation. This means that with the upgraded full LED cornering headlights from the Touring model the 2019 Pilot now earns a best-possible Top Safety Pick + rating from the IIHS (last year’s model didn’t achieve the + rating), while it also gets a 5 star safety rating from the NHTSA. 

I’ll have more to tell you in my upcoming road test review, so stay tuned for all the details including some negatives. And if you’re curious about the price, including rebate information and dealer invoice pricing, check out CarCostCanada for everything you need to know…

A key selling point amongst family buyers is safety, and there’s no safer minivan than the new Honda Odyssey.  This point was made clear after the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)…

Odyssey beats Sienna and Pacifica in IIHS crash tests

2018 Honda Odyssey
No one wants to experience a crash in their car, especially if their family is onboard, but if you’re at the wheel of a new Honda Odyssey you’ll be safer than if driving any other minivan, says the IIHS. (Photo: Honda)

A key selling point amongst family buyers is safety, and there’s no safer minivan than the new Honda Odyssey. 

This point was made clear after the latest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test results were tallied up and the Honda Odyssey earned highest marks for the critical passenger-side small-overlap front test. 

To be clear, the Odyssey achieved best-possible “Good” scores for all Crashworthiness categories, also including the driver-side small-overlap front test, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, plus head restraints and seats, while the ease of use of its child seat anchors (LATCH) was rated Good + thanks to extra latch locations. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey does a better job of protecting all family members than the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica. (Photo: Honda)

Also impressive, under the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation category the Odyssey achieved a best-possible “Superior” rating for front crash prevention when outfitted with optional equipment. 

The Odyssey’s only area of weakness is minor, its headlights having earned a second-best “Acceptable” score with “only certain trims/options.” 

Only the Kia Sedona achieved a higher headlight rating, with the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica also managed Acceptable scores for headlights. This said the Sedona showed “not rated” for the passenger-side small-overlap front category, which is probably better than the Pacifica’s Acceptable grade and the Sienna’s second-from-bottom “Marginal” rating. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey’s LED headlamps are impressive, but they still didn’t earn the brand a “Good” rating in the IIHS’ tough new testing process. If they did, the van would be given a Top Safety Pick + rating overall. (Photo: Honda)

To clarify what this means, the Pacifica and Sienna didn’t achieve as high a rating because the structure around their front passenger compartment collapsed inward during the crash test, resulting in parts of the body structure entering the passenger area. According to the IIHS report, the structural deformation with the Pacifica didn’t intrude inward enough to harm the front passenger, which allowed for its Acceptable rating, but the Sienna’s body structure intruded far enough into the front passenger compartment to potentially injure legs and feet, resulting in the below standard Marginal ranking (check the video below for actual footage of the crash tests to see how each van fares). 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The Odyssey comes equipped with all the latest advanced driver assistance systems, most of which go a long way to improving safety. (Photo: Honda)

Speaking of Marginal scores, the Pacifica got the “M” word for the ease of use of its child seat anchors, whereas the Sienna improved on the Pacifica by getting an Acceptable ranking for child seat anchors yet only managed to eke out an Acceptable score for the driver-side small-overlap front test. 

That equals six Good, one Good +, and one Acceptable rating for the Honda Odyssey; six Good and one Acceptable ranking for the Kia Sorento; five Good marks, two Acceptable and one Marginal for the Chrysler Pacifica; and lastly four Good scores, three Acceptable, and one Marginal for the Toyota Sienna. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
Front passenger seat crashworthiness is where the Odyssey beats its competition so dramatically. Make sure to watch the video below for details. (Photo: Honda)

The system the IIHS uses for tallying up its totals resulted in a second-best possible Top Safety Pick rating for all minivans except for the Toyota Sienna, which didn’t earn any special accommodation. 

Thanks to IIHS crash tests, it’s clear to see which minivan delivers the best possible safety for you and your family. With some minor improvements to its standard headlights, we can be certain the Honda Odyssey would easily attain revered Top Safety Pick + status, and in the process become the only minivan to do so. 

Before you go make sure to watch this excellent video put out by the IIHS, showing the actual crash tests of the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica minivans: 

 

New crash tests and LATCH ratings for minivans – IIHS News (6:32):  

Just in case you missed the July issue of Parents Magazine and a concurrent posting in Edmunds.com, the conjoined publications recently named the 2018 Honda Accord and Odyssey to their “10 Best Family…

Honda Accord and Odyssey earn best family car awards

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
Parents Magazine and Edmunds.com added the 2018 Honda Accord to their list of best family cars, and we agree. (Photo: Honda)

Just in case you missed the July issue of Parents Magazine and a concurrent posting in Edmunds.com, the conjoined publications recently named the 2018 Honda Accord and Odyssey to their “10 Best Family Cars 2018” list. 

The Accord and Odyssey, both redesigned for the 2018 model year, were chosen from 300 new vehicles after taking into account “safety ratings, car seat installation and other family-friendly features,” stated a press release from Honda. 

Along with its family-oriented attributes, the 10th-generation Accord offers today’s consumer a much more modern and more premium take on the mid-size sedan, while providing a thoroughly reimagined interior with greater spaciousness, comfort and refinement, not to mention much more advanced infotainment. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The two publications also chose the 2018 Honda Odyssey as one of their 10 best family cars. (Photo: Honda)

The previously base 2.4-litre four-cylinder and upmarket 3.5-litre V6 engines are now gone, replaced by a duo of turbocharged and direct-injected fours displacing 1.5 and 2.0 litres. The smaller engine makes 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, while the new 2.0-litre four produces 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission can still be found mated to the base engine in lower trims, but most customers will opt for the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that is available across the line and comes standard in upper trims, whereas the new top-tier 2.0-litre features an all-new 10-speed automatic that Honda says is a first for front-wheel drive cars. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
The new Accord provides families with more style, performance, fuel economy, spaciousness, plus convenience and safety features. (Photo: Honda)

With ever-rising gasoline prices affecting budgets, families will be especially happy with improvements made to the Accord’s fuel efficiency, thanks to the base engine rated at 8.9 L/100km in the city, 6.7 on the highway and 7.9 combined when mated to the manual transmission, or 7.9 city, 6.3 highway and 7.2 combined when the same engine gets matched to the CVT. This compares to 10.4 L/100km city, 7.4 highway and 9.0 combined for last year’s four-cylinder and manual combination, whereas the outgoing CVT-equipped 2017 Accord was claimed to achieve 9.2 city, 6.9 highway and 8.2 combined. 

Compared to last year’s V6 that was Transport Canada rated at 11.4 city, 7.2 highway and 9.5 combined with its sole six-speed automatic, the new 2018 Accord’s 2.0-litre engine makes impressive gains thanks to a claimed rating of 10.7 city, 7.3 highway and 9.2 combined with the manual (standard in Sport trim), or 10.4 city, 7.4 highway and 9.1 combined with the new 10-speed auto. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
The new Odyssey continues to be one of the best performing minivans on the market, not to mention one of the most refined. (Photo: Honda)

Additionally, the all-new Honda Accord Hybrid gets a highly advanced two-motor hybrid-electric powertrain capable of a claimed 5.0 L/100km in the city, 5.1 on the highway and 5.1 combined, making it one of the most economical large family vehicles available today. 

Also important to families, standard Honda Sensing advanced driver assistance systems include adaptive cruise control (with low-speed follow when upgraded to the CVT), forward collision warning, autonomous emergency mitigating braking, lane departure warning, and road departure mitigation, while additional standard safety features include full LED headlights for better nighttime visibility, a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, traffic sign recognition, a driver attention monitor to warn of possible fatigue, hill start assist, tire pressure monitoring, front knee airbags (an Accord first), the HondaLink Assist automatic emergency response system, and more. 

2018 Honda Accord Touring 1.5T
The Accord delivers one of the most appealing interiors in its class, big on comfort and advanced technology. (Photo: Honda)

Also notable, Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch blindspot display system comes standard with Sport and EX-L trims, but this gets replaced by blindspot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert in Touring trim. 

The fifth-generation Odyssey is also new for 2018, and like its predecessors it’s raised the minivan bar when it comes to performance, interior quietness, family-friendly cabin space, comfort, and in-car connectivity. 

While it’s built in vacuum remains a popular option, CabinWatch is the auto industry’s first in-vehicle rear seat camera, while the aforementioned Honda Sensing suite of active safety and driver assist systems is optional. Also notably innovative, the Odyssey’s exclusive multi-configurable Magic Slide second-row seats offer an entirely new level of cabin flexibility to the minivan sector. 

2018 Honda Odyssey
The newest Odyssey impresses in every respect, and therefore fully deserves accolades. (Photo: Honda)

The 2018 Odyssey’s bevy of intelligent family-first features were named as reasons for it winning a 2018 ALG Residual Value award, which means Odyssey customers have a much better chance of retaining more of their investment over three years of ownership than buyers of competitive minivans. Just as notable the 2018 Accord won its class as well, with the subcompact 2018 Fit hatchback taking home the ALG honours amongst small cars. 

The Accord also won North American Car of the Year and the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s annual Canadian Car of the Year award, so placing first is nothing new for the popular mid-size sedan.

As you may already know, Honda makes three types of Civic these days. There’s the stalwart but hardly stale Sedan, that’s pretty much the staple of Canadian commuting, the sporty Coupe that’s been…

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si Road Test

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
The new Honda Civic Coupe Si combines all the legendary performance Si fans have grown to love, with awesome style, premium levels of content and excellent fuel economy. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

As you may already know, Honda makes three types of Civic these days. There’s the stalwart but hardly stale Sedan, that’s pretty much the staple of Canadian commuting, the sporty Coupe that’s been with us on and off since 1993, and the recently reincarnated Hatchback, which represents the spiritual return to the model’s 1972 roots. 

The first Si was based on the now very collectable two-seat 1985 CRX, but just a year later a third-generation two-door Civic Hatchback became the first-gen Civic Si. The 91 horsepower sport compact quickly earned a devoted following thanks to quick acceleration, a superb five-speed manual gearbox, and excellent handling, all mixed with loads of passenger, cargo and economical practicality. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
The new Civic Coupe Si looks great from all angles. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Now, oddly enough, no Civic Hatchback Si is offered, although Civic Type R fans are hardly complaining. The 306 horsepower super-compact has earned instant legend status on both roads and tracks like the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where it currently holds the fastest front-wheel drive production car title, leaving the Si for sport compact enthusiasts wanting a little more day-to-day livability. 

Maybe livability isn’t the right word, because the Type R’s hatchback layout makes it easily suited to family and cargo hauling, but its massive non-carbon rear wing makes that hatch a hefty weight to lift, its radical front seat bolsters are a tad uncomfortable to negotiate after a four-course meal, the centre console-dividing rear seat is limiting to passenger capacity, and the car’s generally edgier driving dynamics might be a bit overzealous for some regular commuters. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
LED headlights, blacked out trim, and sharp looking 18-inch alloys set the new Civic Si apart. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While a future Hatchback Si might be the best passenger/cargo compromise, and the currently available Sedan Si an obvious choice for those looking to maximize performance and pragmatism, you might be surprised at how much room the Coupe Si has inside. Of course, climbing into the rear seating area is hardly as easy as stepping through a back door, but Honda has fixed three seatbelts across the rear bench, and the middle position isn’t so high that it would be uncomfortable for a fifth passenger, plus kids would probably like its slight elevation. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
This rear wing definitely has purpose, adding downforce that keeps the rear end planted during high-speed manoeuvres. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Just to find out for myself, I set the driver’s seat for my five-foot-eight height, climbed through a fairly wide opening into a comfortable outboard seat, and was once again reminded that this two-door sport coupe is sized more like a sedan than most rivals in this segment. I had three inches of space remaining above my head, at least six inches ahead of my knees, and plenty of room from side to side. The rear seats provided good back support too, but take note there’s no centre armrest and the ones to each side are made from uncomfortable hard plastic. 

At least the seatbacks are split 60/40 for expanding the usability of the slightly reduced 289-litre trunk, plus they’re equipped with convenient release pulls under the lid. So I think we can agree that the Civic Coupe Si is plenty practical. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
The Civic Coupe’s wrap-over taillight assembly provides a dramatic styling benefit to the Coupe Si’s rear view. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I like the way the Coupe Si looks too, especially when finished in Rallye Red, one of five colours available. A high contrast colour really helps the gloss and matte black details across the grille stand out, not to mention the blackened trim surrounding the LED headlamps, along the lower fascia, around the side windows, highlighting the wheels, edging the LED taillights, and darkening the rear diffuser, although you might like the ominously inky look of the Crystal Black Pearl painted version better. No matter the colour, the Coupe Si looks menacing from up front, and makes a sharply wedged profile from the side, capped off with a large yet still tasteful rear spoiler that adds style and downforce. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
All new Civics are fitted with a new level of style, quality and refinement inside, leaving Si models to enhance that with sportier components and trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

And yes, the Coupe Si can reach track speeds of up to 220 km/h, which is certainly fast enough to require the extra stability provided by an aero-tuned spoiler. That high-speed performance comes via a recalibrated six-speed manual transmission fed by a new 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with dual variable cam timing, which makes the same 205 horsepower as the previous model’s 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four, yet 18 lb-ft of additional torque resulting in a 192 lb-ft maximum. 

The new power unit is more tractable too, thanks to full power arriving 1,300 rpm lower in the rev range at 5,700 rpm instead of 7,000, whereas the aforementioned max torque comes on 2,300 rpm earlier at 2,100 rpm compared to 4,400 in the old model, plus that twist is sustained over 70 percent of the engine’s rev range. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
The Civic Coupe Si cockpit adds a more performance oriented look that features plenty of red highlights. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With Sport mode engaged the Coupe Si’s straight-line acceleration feels a lot more spirited than the numbers show, standstill to 100km/h requiring 7.2 seconds. Like I said, by the seat of the pants the Si feels much quicker, and it was never designed to be a drag racer anyway. 

Find an open stretch of curving back road and the Coupe Si immediately shows its key strength, adeptly managing corners. It’s always been one of my favourite cars to drive fast, and the new chassis setup is easily the most stable in Si history. You can fling it into the sharpest of corners at almost any reasonable speed, and the worst you’ll get is mild understeer. It’s wonderfully balanced, totally predictable, and ruddy fast when pushed hard. An off camber curve? No problem, even if you hit a bump or pothole halfway through. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
Honda upgrades the already superb Civic gauge cluster with sporty red embellishment. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Civic’s already better than average fully independent front strut, rear multi-link suspension has been tweaked for even greater capability, with beefier 27 mm front and 18 mm rear stabilizer bars plus adaptive dampers, so the Coupe Si is totally up to the task. The steering is ideally weighted for optimal control too, providing positive, quick response to input and decent feedback, while a helical limited slip differential makes the most of available traction. Likewise, braking is strong with very little fade, even after repeated stomps. Truly, the Si remains one of the best cars available for embarrassing Mustang GT owners, as long as you’re on a tight twisting two-laner. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
The Si gets a fully loaded version of the Civic’s excellent infotainment touchscreen, upgraded with a red background. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

If a pit stop is required that Mustang owner will also need a lot more time to fill up at the pump, the Coupe Si’s 46.9-litre tank capable of going a lot farther thanks to claimed fuel economy of 8.4 L/100km city, 6.2 highway and 7.4 combined, which incidentally is a massive improvement over the previously model’s 10.8 city, 7.6 highway and 9.4 combined. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
This is a wireless device charging pad, and it comes standard with the Civic Si. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The rubber responsible for reducing rolling resistance while simultaneously providing all that aforementioned grip is a set of 235/40R18 91W Goodyear Eagle Sport performance tires, wrapped around stylish 18-inch, 10-spoke, machine-finished alloys with glossy black painted pockets, while additional standard features include proximity keyless access, pushbutton ignition, an electromechanical parking brake, illuminated steering wheel-mounted cruise, audio, phone and Driver Information Interface (DII) controls, dual-zone auto climate control, a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a multi-angle backup camera with dynamic guidelines, Honda’s exclusive LaneWatch blindspot display, navigation, voice activation, Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity with streaming audio, wireless device charging, 452-watt 10-speaker premium audio with satellite and HD radio, heatable front seats, and much more for just $29,090 plus freight and fees, as verified on CarCostCanada.com along with dealer invoice pricing and the latest rebate information, while its rigid body structure design and full assortment of standard safety kit help it achieve a 5-star rating from the NHTSA. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
Breaking with market trends, this six-speed manual remains the only transmission on offer. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

While Honda provides plenty of dealer-added accessories, such as an Illumination Package and Protection Package, different alloy wheels, aero add-ons, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an ambient lighting kit, an illuminated console, plus cargo protection and organization gear, it doesn’t offer any factory options with the Coupe Si. This said you can now move up to the new Coupe Si HFP (Honda Factory Performance) trim level that features a special lip spoiler and side sills, unique 19-inch alloy wheels, a sport suspension with modified active dampers that reportedly improve handling and ride quality, plus a handful of interior upgrades for $34,790. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
These superb sport seats provide total comfort with just the right amount of sporty side bolstering. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Whether choosing a regular Coupe Si or the new HFP model, all of the aforementioned features come housed in one of the more impressive cabins in the compact class, starting with all that makes the regular Civic Coupe good, such as ergonomically friendly and artistically innovative interior design, premium-level soft-touch synthetics on key surfaces, attractive metal accents, superb switchgear throughout, and one of the best semi-digital gauge clusters in the class, complemented by an equally impressive infotainment touchscreen, all upgraded to Si standards. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
Climbing into the back seat is easy. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

This means the interior theme is red on black, although only with tasteful splashes of the former so as to spice up, rather than overwhelm the look. The steering wheel, featuring red baseball stitching around the inside, is ideally shaped for comfort and control, while red stitching adorns the leather and metal shift knob and leather boot just below. The Si cabin’s go-fast appeal is further enhanced with aluminum sport pedals, while the engine ignition button glows in a soft red, mirroring the red highlighted electronic interfaces to each side. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
There’s plenty of room for three in back, and the seating area is spacious and comfortable for small to average sized adults. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Furthermore, the red “Si” embroidered sport seats are heavily bolstered and covered in black woven upholstery that’s highlighted with a thick grey patterned stripe to each side of the inset, plus two lines of red stitching on the bolsters. They look fabulous and feel even better, and by that I mean they’re not as radically shaped as the Type R’s, allowing easier ingress and egress, yet they’re still supportive enough for most peoples’ performance needs. 

2018 Honda Civic Coupe Si
The trunk is decently sized for a sport coupe, plus 60/40-split rear seatbacks add flexibility. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

That last point sums up any Si. It’s a car that can be driven daily in absolute comfort without sacrificing practical needs including fuel economy, while it’s still fully capable of tearing up a stretch of tarmac, whether that be on a lonely back country road or at your local parking lot autocross. It’ll even do you proud on the racetrack, and no doubt surprise a few V8-powered pony car owners as they try to keep up in the curves at the next “Run What Ya Brung” event. I’ve experienced this firsthand, and the jaw-dropping looks on their faces are priceless. 

Of course, they should really know better. A lot of sport compact competitors have come and gone over the past 30 years, but the Honda Civic Si has continued to thrill its owners with superb performance on and off the track for three decades strong. It’s a legendary name, and the latest 2018 Civic Coupe Si, along with its four-door Sedan Si sibling, is totally worthy of carrying the mantle forward.

How do you make the new Civic Si even better than it already is? The Si is legendary and this new 10th-generation the most exciting version yet, but despite already offering superb stock sport compact…

HFP package adds more style and sport to Honda’s Civic Si line

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
A new Civic Si HFP trim upgrade adds sporty new styling details, new wheels, a sport suspension and interior mods. (Photo: Honda)

How do you make the new Civic Si even better than it already is? The Si is legendary and this new 10th-generation the most exciting version yet, but despite already offering superb stock sport compact performance, Honda has decided there’s room for improvement. 

Enter the new Civic Si HFP. Yes, Civic Nation will already be well aware of the Honda Factory Performance moniker, because the Japanese automaker offered “HFP” branded aerodynamic body kits, performance-tuned suspension components, and larger, lighter alloy wheels for the eighth- and ninth-generation Civics, and likewise for the subcompact Fit hatchback. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
The HFP upgrade can be added to both Si Coupe and Sedan body styles. (Photo: Honda)

With respect to the current 10th-generation Civic, a recent Honda Canada press release says the Honda Factory Performance package adds a bevy of “aesthetic and dynamic enhancements.” The former includes a new bright red front lip spoiler for “a subtle, yet fierce look,” which is “complemented by side skirts designed to improve downforce.” 

The new Si HFP also gets unique 19-inch HFP matte black alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot 4S maximum-performance category rubber, these an inch larger than those on the standard Si and specified for both daily use and racetrack capability. Lastly, red and black Civic Si HFP badging gets added to the sides and rear of the car, warning regular Civic Si owners to back off. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
Rallye Red is only available with the Si HFP Coupe, whereas White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl can be had with both body styles. (Photo: Honda)

Why? No doubt those sportier wheels and tires make enough of improvement on their own, but nevertheless, behind their matte black goodness and below all that sharp looking bodywork is an upgraded HFP sport suspension with modified active dampers that not only improves ultimate performance on road and track, but also enhances the Si HFP’s ride quality over its conventionally sprung sibling. 

The Honda Factory Performance package also benefits the interior by adding a new leather-wrapped shifter with red stitching, as well as an eye-catching set of red and black HFP branded floor mats. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
The Civic Sedan Si is already a serious sport sedan, but the new HFP trim makes it even better on the street and track. (Photo: Honda)

The rest of the Civic Si HFP is stock Si, which means the interior is wholly more impressive than any previous Si, with two of the most comfortable and supportive sport seats in the class, plus refinement levels amongst the compact segment’s most impressive, not to mention some of its best digital interfaces. 

While Honda refers to the Civic Si HFP upgrades as a “Honda Factory Performance package” in its press release, it’s more accurately an entirely new trim level, as it’s delivered complete from the factory and shown on the brand’s retail website “Build” configuration tool. What’s more, this track-ready model is exclusive to Canada. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
Specially designed lightweight 19-inch HFP alloys look good in their matte black finish. (Photo: Honda)

Like the regular Si, the new Si HFP is available in both Sedan and Coupe body styles, while behind its glossy black grille is the same turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine as in the standard Si, which is once again good for 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, while one of the industry’s best six-speed manual transmissions continues to take care of shifting duties and a limited slip differential makes sure all that power gets down to the road. 

Civic Si HFP pricing starts at $34,390 for the Sedan and $34,790 for the Coupe, adding $5,700 on top of regular Si suggested prices, with colour choices being White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl for the four-door and White Orchid Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl and Rallye Red for the two-door.