2020 Honda Civic Si vs. 2020 Subaru WRX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Si deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Si’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The WRX’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic Si and the WRX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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There are over 66 percent more Honda dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Si’s warranty.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Civic Si’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the WRX’s camshafts. If the WRX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Civic Si’s reliability 42 points higher than the WRX.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Honda vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 16th in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Civic Si gets better fuel mileage than the WRX:

MPG

Civic Si

Manual

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/36 hwy

WRX

Manual

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

2.5 turbo 4-cyl.

16 city/22 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

18 city/24 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Civic Si uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The WRX requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Civic Si has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The WRX doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Civic Si stops shorter than the WRX:

Civic Si

WRX

70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

112 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Civic Si’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the WRX’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Civic Si has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the WRX.

Suspension and Handling

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The Civic Si has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The WRX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The Civic Si’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The WRX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Civic Si’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the WRX (106.3 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

The Civic Si Sedan handles at .97 G’s, while the WRX pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Chassis

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The Honda Civic Si may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 600 pounds less than the Subaru WRX.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Civic Si Sedan is quieter than the WRX STI:

Civic Si

WRX

At idle

39 dB

54 dB

Full-Throttle

78 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

75 dB

Passenger Space

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The Civic Si Sedan has 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the WRX.

Cargo Capacity

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The Civic Si Sedan has a much larger trunk than the WRX (14.7 vs. 12 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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The Civic Si’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The WRX has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

If the windows are left open on the Civic Si the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the WRX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Civic Si’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The WRX’s power lock switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Civic Si has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The WRX has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/STI/Limited.

The Civic Si has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the WRX STI.

Model Availability

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The Honda Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Subaru WRX isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Civic Si owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Civic Si will cost $405 less than the WRX over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Si will be $3927 to $19788 less than for the Subaru WRX.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

Consumer Reports® recommends the Honda Civic Si, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Civic Si was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 2 years. The WRX hasn’t been picked since 2003.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 23 years. The WRX hasn’t been picked since 2015.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The WRX has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Subaru WRX by over 11 to one during 2018.

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