Reviewed for you: Honda Civic RS
The 10th generation Civic, says Honda, was one of the brand’s most complete and boldest new model undertakings since ‘forever’ and it’s packed with unique appeal. Though it looks distinct on the road compared to other hatchbacks, it’s well packaged and remains very practical. Here’s our review for you.
What’s the price and what do you get?
Honda’s Civic RS starts at $32,290 and comes with the sportiest looking body kit available before stepping up to the hot hatch Type R – an altogether more expensive and performance-focused model.
Standard inclusions for the RS are 17-inch alloy wheels, 7.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 12-speaker sound system, reversing camera and special side-view camera which looks down the left-hand side of the vehicle while turning, partial leather trim and LED headlights.
What’s the interior like?
The interior, in general, is good with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and good quality leather used on the seats. Across the range, the hatch features a digital speedo behind the steering wheel which shows infotainment and communication menus to ensure the driver’s eyes remain fixed on the road; indeed, Honda claims there’s only a five-degree eye movement to check the speedo and menu items, but a 15-degree eye movement to check the centre screen.
The infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, along with DAB+ radio and Bluetooth, and is feature-rich. The menu is a touch fiddly to use, so it’s great to be able to use your smartphone for maps and music.
What’s the passenger space like?
You expect the hatch to be smaller in the back, but that’s not the case at all, as the rear roofline is taller than the sedan by a little bit. The two outboard seats are well-shaped (with Isofix for kid seats) while the middle one is a perch rather than a seat.
Over in the front, the seating set up feels good although the seats do feel rather low-slung, which might feel a little odd for those not used to a sporty seating position. Of course, you can adjust the seat forwards, backwards, and up, and the steering offers reach and height adjustment too. The seats are well-shaped and comfortable on longer drives, so this isn't just an urban runabout.
What’s under the bonnet?
The engine is a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder making 127kW at 5,500rpm and 220Nm of torque from 1,700prm to 5,500rpm. This is mated to a CVT which, on par with the best CVTs, sets the benchmark for just how good a CVT can be. It’s smooth, quiet and responsive to the throttle and it makes the most of the power and torque available.
The Civic Hatch is not going to snap your head off with acceleration, but it’s got enough grunt to keep up with traffic and handle hills with ease, even with the family on board. When you put your foot down, Honda reckons its G-Design shift will create the sense of ‘stepped ratios’ like a conventional automatic for a more connected drive experience.
What’s it like on the road?
With a highly sophisticated suspension setup the handling work reveals itself at the first corner you tip the Civic RS into with resistance to body roll and impressive grip. The ride is impressive with even hard-edged hits heard rather than felt.
The RS gets 17-inch alloys and slightly grippier rubber than other models in the line-up on 16s, and so grip is good as is the noise insulation across a range of surfaces. Across a testing and varied surface road loop, which includes dirt, there was hardly much to worry about in terms of road noise.
What about safety?
The Civic hatch shares the sedan’s five-star ANCAP rating and gets airbags, traction and stability controls, as well as clever front seatbelts with automatic tensioners and load limiters which work in conjunction with the airbags and so will immediately tighten in the event of a collision, but then relax tension slightly to avoid causing injury to the occupant via the seatbelt.
The new Civic gets an electric park brake with an automatic brake hold function, which is handy in stop-start traffic. All models get a multi-angle reversing camera that offers a wide-angle view, a narrower view a top-down view, front and rear parking sensors are also standard from VTi-S up.
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