Honda Civic RS

The new revitalised Honda Civic line-up includes five variations.  All are the same basic five seat front wheel drive car, but two entry levels have 1.8 Litre naturally aspirated engines, (VT and VT-S), then there are three with the new 1.5 Litre engine that is more powerful yet more economic, courtesy of turbocharging, (VTiL, RS, and VTi-LX). All are mated to CVT auto transmissions, and the standard equipment provided increases through the range to the VTi-LX. A hatch version is due next year.

Honda Civic RS

The car's lines flow upwards from front fascia to a quite stunning fast backed rear design. It is also lower and wider and larger than previously. It has been redesigned to have tauter and more angular lines, with creases and angles that we think make it look very interesting and up to date outside and in, with the interior simpler and well lay out, very modern, especially with respect to its competitors.

As an affordable car, at $23K, the VTi looks essentially the same as all other variants, and you may be satisfied with the very extensive range of standard equipment it offers.  If you really like the car and want more goodies included, there are four more levels to choose from.

The car has minimal and refined premium interior design, smart entry and push start, with comparatively enormous central console storage space. It would not lock the boot with the key inside, and the boot also is enormous, at 517-litres.

The roomier cabin has plenty of leg and head room for rear passengers, and basically simpler cleaner design. The instrument panel digital display looks modern and exciting with Paddle Shifters, and a Brake Hold Function.

We drove the newly arrived RS, and compared it to the LX. If you want a sporty car that has many options, the RS fits the bill, and you can use your phone's mapping (Android or Apple) on the car's display for Satnav; however some people do not want a spoiler, and would prefer the full extent of Honda Civic extras on offer that the LX is loaded with.

Driving it, we found that with the Macpherson strut front and multilink independent rear suspension, the car handles very well, with only very slight body roll, perhaps setup up fairly stiffly, but smoothing the ride and really recovering well over bumps. The motion adaptive electric power steering also is very competent and reassuring to use with good feedback.

The 1.5 litre turbo engine functions very well and has good power for its class, taking off with bite when called on, and a pleasure to drive in traffic or on highway.

The large central digital speedo inside an analog tacho is good, along with the 7’’ colour touch media control screen. There is an electrically operated park brake, and when left indicating, the left mirror cam view displays on the screen.

RS and LX both have Electric Sunroof, LED head and fog lights, drilled alloy pedals, heated front seats, 452W sound system, dual climate control, auto window up/down front and back, and rear privacy dark glass.

The RS is lower spec than the LX, but has a rear spoiler, dark chrome door handles and piano black trim on front air ducts and grill, as such assuming its fans are happier with slightly lower cost and less features, but hotter looking car.

Costing around $1,800 more than the RS, the top of range LX has no spoiler, but does have Satnav, auto dimming rear mirror, and an extra safety suite not found on the RS, Honda's Sensing Safety system, with forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking, lane or road departure warning and lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with low speed autonomous following of the car in front.

  • Engine: 1.5L turbocharged, or entry level 1.8 non turbo, 127kW @ 5500rpm, 220Nm @ 1700-5000rpm
  • Transmission: Continuously Variable Auto, with paddle shifters
  • Dimensions mm: L4644 X W1799 X H1416 X WB2700.
  • Turning: 5.3 metres
  • Wheels:  215/55 R16 (1.8L), R17 (1.5L), space saver steel spare
  • 1.8 VTi (CVT) $22,390*
  • 1.8 VTi-S (CVT) $24,490*
  • 1.5 VTi-L (CVT) $27,790*
  • 1.5 RS (CVT) $31,790*
  • 1.5 VTi-LX (CVT) $33,590*
  • *Note plus on road costs
  • Servicing: Honda’s ownership promise includes a three-year/100,000km warranty, while capped-price servicing is also available – intervals for both engines are set every 10,000km or twelve months (whichever occurs first), up to 100,000km.
  • Maintenance will average out at $300 about per visit.