Just days after Honda’s announcement that it had updated the Civic Si for 2020 with refreshed styling, safety tech and performance perks, the sporty coupe and sedan that compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai Veloster N received its gas bill from the government. One of the Si’s updates — its new, shorter final-drive ratio that improves acceleration — has a modest negative impact, according to EPA estimates: reduced fuel economy.
That shorter final-drive ratio means that, essentially, the engine will usually be spinning at higher rpm (compared to the 2019 model), and more rpm means the engine needs more fuel. That, in turn, means the 2020 Civic Si has fuel economy ratings that are down 2 mpg across the board at 26/36/30 mpg city/highway/combined. Those ratings are for its six-speed manual transmission, which is the only transmission available for Si models. That’s the bad news.
The good news is: That still leaves the Civic Si as one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles among its competition. The also manual-only 2020 Hyundai Veloster N is rated at 22/29/25 mpg, while the 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI with a manual transmission is rated 24/32/27 mpg. Even the old standard for cheap fun, the 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, lags just behind the Si at 26/34/29 mpg. A manual 2019 Fiat 500 Abarth matches the Civic Si’s combined rating — with better city performance but worse highway performance — at 28/33/30 mpg.
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If you’re OK with trading some fuel efficiency for better acceleration, the updated 2020 Civic Si coupe and sedan arrive at Honda dealerships Sept. 6.
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