2017 Toyota 86 vs. 2017 Civic Si

Civic Si vs Toyota 86

O.K. Before we get too far down the rabbit hole, we understand that the Toyota 86 and the Civic Si are two completely different vehicles. After all the Toyota 86 is a naturally aspirated, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, whereas the Civic Si sports a turbocharger with a front-wheel-drive configuration. These differences alone are enough to make some of you call foul.

Still, in the 2017 world of sport compact cars, these two vehicles are bound to get cross-shopped by those looking for a sporty ride in the sub-thirty-thousand dollar price range. They both have the sports car look that targets this market and both are designed to provide a thrilling, if not mind-blowing driving experience. Let’s face it, you’ll have to pony up a little more than 30k for ‘mind-blowing’.

So, for those of you who are on the fence over these two sport compact cars, here’s some information that may help you decide:

Drive Train And Power

 Power  Civic Si Coupe  Toyota 86
 Engine

 1.5L 16v DOHC
Inline 4 cyl. Turbo

2.0-Liter 4-Cylinder
16v DOHC
 Configuration  FWD  RWD
Transmission  6-Speed Manual  6-Speed Manual
 Horsepower  205 @ 5700 RPM  205 @ 7000 RPM
 Torque  192 @ 2100 – 5000 RPM 156 @ 6400 – 6600 RPM
 Redline  6500 RPM  7500 RPM

So, both of these hopefuls are generating the same horsepower @ 205, but the Toyota 86 gives you the thrill of winding it up to 7500 RPM before you need to slam it into its final gear. If it had the incomparable, close throw 6-speed manual that Honda is renowned for, it would undoubtedly be a more entertaining ride.

Unfortunately, the 86 suffers from the same high-rev lag that has become synonymous with Toyota products., as well as a serious torque deficit compared to the Honda. Then again, Honda’s 1.5 litre turbo seems to lose some of that exhilarating g-force punch that made past Si models so much fun to drive.

Regardless, the RWD vs. FWD configuration really needs to be evaluated by each individual considering these two models. The response and feel is so different, it must be experienced to be appreciated. Though Honda does an exceptional job mitigating turn-in, there is not a FWD vehicle on the planet that can truly mimic the RWD experience..

Dimensions

 Dimensions  Civic Si Coupe  Toyota 86
 Curb Weight 2889 2774
 Distribution  61.4/38.6  50/50
 Wheelbase 106.3  101.2
 Length 177.3  166.7
 Width 70.9 69.9
 Height 54.7 50.6

This is where the Toyota 86 really stands out. With a 50/50 weight distribution, exceptional suspension and rigidity, it is undoubtedly one of the most capable track vehicles in its class (reminiscent of the Mazda RX7 and the venerable Honda S2000) . Even if you never buy one, you should do your level best to test one on the track (or a seriously twisting mountain thoroughfare).

Again, do not misunderstand, Honda’s Si manages to do an exceptional job managing corners on an aggressive road track, but you will not get the ‘almost losing it in the curve’ kind of experience that a well-balanced RWD sport coupe will bring.

Efficiency

 Efficiency  Civic Si Coupe  Toyota 86
 Drag Coefficient N/A 0.29
 City MPG  28  21
 Highway MPG 38 28
 Combined MPG 32 24

Not really sure why we put ‘drag coefficient ‘ in the efficiency category? I suppose that excessive drag could result in far less impressive fuel economy, but the reality is, both of these contenders represent fairly similar profiles, and even though we could not find official drag coefficient numbers for the Si, the numbers obviously speak for themselves.

If it is fuel economy that you’re looking for in your sport compact, the Civic Si, is the undisputed choice.

Performance

 Speed  Civic Si Coupe  Toyota 86
 0-62 MPH 6.3 sec. 6.4 sec.
 Top-Speed MPH  137 MPH  136 MPH

So, if you were basing your buying decision on which of these two models would deliver the fastest 0-60 times, you better have a reliable coin to flip. While the 0-60 times are close, we’re talking about 6 speed manual transmissions here; if you can’t exploit your shifter’s potential, you should not care. On the other hand, if you can (and love to), you better drive them both to see which offers the best response. After all, the goal here is a fun ride; we know we’re not gonna smoke an STI, we just want to feel like we can.

Pricing and Practicality

Let’s face it, if you are looking for a vehicle in this class, pricing and practicality are important considerations. Aside from Honda’s significantly better fuel economy, it will also cost you less upfront.

With a base price of $24,775 (which includes the $875 destination charge) you get everything that the Si has to offer except the stickier Summer performance tires (+$200). The Si package includes push-button start, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a 7.0-inch touchscreen display, leather-wrapped steering wheel,  aluminum sport pedals, a power moonroof, and rear wing spoiler.

The Toyota 86, on the other hand comes with standard leather seating (not available on the Si), but heated seats are not available. You’ll get the standard 7-inch Toyota Display Audio, but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There is no moonroof and a rear spoiler will cost you a little extra. Base price (including destination charge) $27,150.

Conclusions

Despite their differences, both of these vehicles fill the bill for those seeking an inexpensive sport compact. The bottom-line is that you’ll need to drive each to see which one feels right to you. After all, why not? They are both bound to be a blast to drive.