As affordable performance vehicles go, the 2014 Honda Civic Si coupe is a living legend. For decades now, the Civic Si has served up low-priced thrills to enthusiasts around the world, and it's only getting better with age. With Honda reliability in a sport-tuned package, you can't go wrong for the money. Here are five reasons to put a Civic Si through its paces.

Thrilling Powertrain

The defining trait of every Civic Si has been its high-revving 4-cylinder engine, and that's still true today. There's a 2.4-liter four pushing 205 horses under the Civic Si's hood, and if you want the whole herd, you have to drive it like you stole it. That means shifting at the 7,000-rpm redline, right before the fuel cuts out. It's a blast, and the 6-speed manual shifter is one of the very best.

Slot-car Handling

The current Civic Si has an even firmer suspension than before, so there's less body roll in corners. But there's more going on here than just sporty springs and shocks. The Si also gets a mechanical limited-slip front differential that transfers power to the outside wheel during hard cornering. In short, it puts the power down when you need it, and the result is that the car just feels dialed in. It's a lot of performance for the price.

Sporty Interior

The Si may be based on an economy car, but you can tell you're in something extraordinary from behind the wheel. The red stitching is an Si special, and so is the short shifter with its aluminum shift knob. The pedals are aluminum too, and every Si gets distinctive red lighting on the dashboard. Plus, the Civic Si's exclusive sport seats really hold you in place with their snug side bolsters.

Tons of Tech

If you're expecting a stripped-down interior, you haven't been in an Si lately. This thing comes loaded with technology, including a tabletlike 7-inch touchscreen and a separate digital information display. You can even have your texts read aloud to you on the road. And when you want to pump some tunes, the 360-watt audio system's more than happy to oblige.

Value Proposition

Although the Civic Si is a performance car, it's also a Honda, and that means two things: It's not expensive to begin with, and it shouldn't be expensive to maintain. Just change the oil on time, and the Si should keep you smiling for years to come. What's more, when it's time to sell, you can always count on Honda's excellent resale values to ease the transition.

AutoTrader Says

There's a bunch of desirable performance cars for around $25,000, but there's only one Honda. If you want a sporty car that's sensible too, you should definitely give the 2014 Honda Civic Si a shot.

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Josh Sadlier is an automotive journalist based in Los Angeles and has contributed to such publications as Edmunds.com and DriverSide.com. He holds arguably the most unexpected degree in his profession: a master's in Theological Studies.

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