Alright, so I have picked on the Honda Civic quite a few times.
It is time to give credit where credit is due.
Think about a band that you never listened to because of annoying people that were sort of in-your-face fans. The band may be really great, but you never gave them a fighting chance because their fans ruined everything. For me, that would probably be Tool.
In the car world, the Civic Si is the one that has been completely ruined by its fan base. Dudes that think necessary performance options are impossibly low suspension and a subwoofer seem to gravitate towards the Civic Si. Well, the ones that can afford an Si... the rest of them have to deal with a normal coupe that will later get an engine swap.
What these dudes did is make VTEC the laughing stock of the horsepower world.
What a shame, because my first drive in an i-VTEC equipped 2007 Civic Si made me a true believer in the system. While accelerating things feel pretty normal. The engine pulls at a pretty average pace through most of the range... until about 6,000 rpm. Then things suddenly change. Out of nowhere the engine note gets angrier and you get a second kick back in the seat all the way up to well over 8,000 rpm. It's so dramatic and silly. You cannot rev one of these engines without laughing until your face hurts. They spin so freely and pull so relentlessly that it can be addicting.
And that addicting part explains why Si cars and idiots go hand in hand. Until the VTEC kicks in the car is only marginally better than your normal Civic. That means in order to experience what the Si is all about, you have to rev the engine up to 6,000. When you do that in first gear, you look like you're trying to race everyone. You do that in second gear and you're going to get a speeding ticket.
So, what makes the Civic Si so great is also its biggest problem. Still, it is affordable performance all-around. Great fuel economy, great engine, great reliability. The hardest part is finding a completely original Si. The older you go, the harder it gets. If you do, suck it up and deal with the judgement. After 6,000 rpm it is completely worth it.