Been there, sedan that? The Honda Civic RS Turbo CVT makes a stand vs. crossovers

Been there, sedan that? The Honda Civic RS Turbo CVT makes a stand vs. crossovers

The 10th-generation Honda Civic has to be one of the most resilient compact sedans in the Philippine market. With the market shifting toward affordable crossover SUVs and subcompact sedans and hatchbacks, the Civic has remained a consistent best-seller for Honda in the Philippines.

Civic RS Front Profile

It may be because of the die-hard fans and their enduring love for the Civic, but you can’t really deny how well designed and built the Honda Civic especially, this 10th generation, really is. 

Civic RS Rear

Exterior

For starters, this top-of-the-line RS model in this sick Rallye Red color truly stands out from the pack, even after since years since its introduction. The front end features a huge, piano black wing with the iconic Honda badge, flanked by full LED headlamps. The lower grill also gets piano black inserts with LED fog lamps. 

Civic RS Quarter Rear

You also can’t mistake this for a lower trim because if you want piano black and that sweet RS badge, you’ll have to go for the top variant. The showstopper of the side profile has got to be those chunky 18x8 machined, two-tone alloy wheels with chunky 235 40Z R18 Michelin Pilot Sports shoes. These babies not only look amazing but really grab the road hard, like a gym rat and pizza on cheat days.

Civic RS Crab Taillamps

Chrome door handles and window trims add more contrast and act as reflectors but turn signals right on the front side of the fenders are a nice touch to the overall look.

Civic RS Side Profile

When it was first introduced in 2016 this faux coupe styling was unique and blew all Honda fans' minds. Paired with sharp character lines on the door, I can’t blame you if you believe the sedan version of the Civic is even more appealing than the hatchback version, which we never received, except the Type R which is a completely different animal. To this day, five years later, you can’t help but wonder in amazement at the refined design language that the 10th-generation Honda Civic holds.

Civic RS Wide Rear Quarter

To be totally honest, the 10th-generation Honda Civic’s best feature has got the be the rear end. Implementing full LEDs on the tasteful spoiler and the the distinction on having really memorable crab-claw tail lamps and dual exhausts lets everyone on the road know that they’ve just been overtaken by a turbocharged Civic. A turbo Civic. What a time to be alive!

Civic RS Taillamp closeup

Interior

A neat trick under the Honda Civic’s sleeve is this remote trunk opener that once activated instantly gives you access to 519 liters of cargo space. Now the Civic wouldn’t be a real Honda if it didn’t have practicality in mind so for tall items. Just release these latches here and you get 60-40 split for even more space.

Civic RS Trunk Open

Being someone who owns an older Honda Civic, I was quite surprised at the level of refinement and craftsmanship the 10th generation offers. You get a digital speedometer in a rather sporty looking gauge cluster, adjustable sliding center armrest, fancy aluminum sports pedals, eight-way power adjustable driver seats, leather seats with sporty design accents, six speakers, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with a volume knob.

Civic RS Cockpit

The reason that I particularly focus on the volume knob is because when this car was first released in 2016, I was part of the crowd with pitchforks and torches right at Honda’s door demanding that the touchscreen sliders to be burned at the stake! They were finicky, unresponsive, and downright dangerous.

But it seems like Honda has listened to the fans and heralded the return of the volume knob. That’s a nice lesson to be learned: If you keep complaining, eventually, someone will listen.

Civic RS Infotainment System

Space in the back is quite adequate with commendable knee and head room but I lament the fact that it doesn’t have a flat floor, limiting foot room if you plan on bringing three passengers in the back.  You do get a nice tumbling center armrest for your drink, though, which proves that Honda isn’t just about the driver. The Man Maximum Machine Minimum Philosophy has its hands all over the design 

Civic RS AC COntrols

Back up front, you get some really smart design features that only Honda engineers have the forethought to implement. For example, if you’re looking for the ports to plug in your phone, they're actually down in front of the shifter column with neat cable anchors to keep everything nice and clean — no cables flopping around while you drive, and the center armrest slides forward and back to give the design a nice integration all in all. 

Civic RS Push to Start Button

Safety

 The lack of Honda Sensing, the brand’s suite of safety active and passive driving assist and safety features, is quite glaring. You still get the standard, airbags (six of them, in fact), ABS with EBD, hill start assist, stability control, child lock, immobilizer, Isofix anchors, a reverse camera and, of course, three-point seatbelts for all passengers. But at this price point, I was hoping Honda Sensing would make an appearance.

Civic RS Electronic Parking Brake

Performance and fuel economy

The 10th-generation Honda is powered by a 1.5-liter DOHC EarthDreams Turbocharged engine that makes 170hp and 220Nm of torque. The turbocharger installed here is a small, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries TD025 single-scroll turbo charger. The beauty about having a small, single-scroll turbo in an engine with a displacement of 1.5 liters is that power delivery comes in much earlier in the power band. Considering that the Honda Civic’s natural habitat is urban city areas with heavy traffic, low to mid RPMs is the sweet spot for power and efficiency. But enough of the technical talk, let’s take this for a spin.

Civic RS Turbo Engine

Driving off, you can definitely still feel a lot of the Honda rowdiness. Although the famous VTEC switchover is virtually non existent, power delivery from the power plant is strong and zero to 100kph can be had in just 6.7 seconds. Can your crossover SUV or small subcompact car do that?

Civic RS Engine VTEC Earth Dreams

Handling is just as important as power, and the Honda Civic has that in spades, thanks to the large contact patch tires. It’s still very comfortable inside the car with lower NVH. You have MacPherson struts up front and a multilink suspension in the rear but paired with those huge tires, I can definitely see this being used as a nice track car for the weekends. Steering is very much reminiscent of past Honda Civics — meaning it’s light but have enough weight to give you more confidence in spirited drives. 

Civic RS Civic Badge

The seven-speed CVT is wonderfully responsive to your throttle inputs that I barely felt the need to switch over to sport mode. It’s also nice to know how efficiently you’re driving by the way the center gauge panel glows — white for power, and green for eco. And even if you hit the Eco mode You still have so much power on tap that at times, I forget that I have the green eco mode activated. Driving around town and in heavy traffic is a breeze, thanks to the automatic brake hold function.

Civic RS Front Driver interior

Fuel economy is probably the most surprising aspect of the Honda Civic RS. My experience of driving small-displacement turbocharged cars have always been a disappointment, but the Honda Civic subverts all my expectations by giving me about 7-8kpl in the city and 16kpl on the highway. Mind you, I haven’t been driving this with fuel economy in mind which makes me even more jealous of new car buyers. It’s no hybrid I’ll give you that, but considering the power, handling and tuning potential of the Honda Civic, that’s not bad at all.

Civic RS Shifter

Pricing and Conclusion

Pricing for the Honda Civic starts at P1.115 million for the entry-level S variant that comes with the old reliable 1.8-liter naturally aspirated engine. If you want DRLs, a nice touchscreen, push engine start and smart entry, power folding mirrors and nice graphics on the gauges, you'll have to spring an extra P73,000 for the midrange E variant.

The full fat version comes at an eye watering ₱1.615 million and that comes with the piano black accents 18-inch wheels, nice leather design interior, and, of course, that sweet 1.5-liter VTEC turbo engine

Civic RS Rear Portion

While the segment isn't as diverse and represented by many car brands these days, the Honda Civic still faces some tough competition. The Volkswagen Lamando and the Kia Forte GT Turbo come to mind in terms of premium packaging and performance,  while the Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid offers unparalleled fuel economy thanks to its hybrid engine. Other competitors include the overachieving MG 6, the unique and surprisingly affordable and capable Mazda 3, and the dark horse GAC GA4.

Civic RS City Skyline

The Honda Civic holds one thing true: For the past five years it has become the beacon for those who refuse to accept that crossovers are taking over the market. The worst thing in life is accepting that you no longer can do the things that make you happy, Sedans are still as capable and even more so than they once were, and you still keep your own sense of individuality and sense of freedom. We are about to enter a new saga in the life of the Honda Civic, but it's nice to know that the 10th generation is still one of the most sought after and lusted over models of the badge. 

Civic RS City Skyline Wide

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Honda Civic RS Turbo CVT

Model Year

2021

Vehicle Classification

Compact Sedan

Warranty

3 years / 100,000 kilometers

Under the Hood

 

Engine Model

L15B7

Type

1.5-liter DOHC I4 with VTC, single scroll MHI-TD025 turbo

Power

171hp @ 5,500 RPM

Torque

220Nm @ 1,700-5,500 RPM

Fuel Capacity

47 Liters

Transmission

Earth Dreams CVT

Drive

Front-Wheel Drive

Tested Fuel Economy City

7-8 km/l

Tested Fuel Economy Highway

16 km/l

Chassis

 

Brakes

F - Ventilated Discs; R - Solid Discs

Front Suspension

F - Independent Macpherson; R- Independent Multi-link

Wheelbase

2,698 mm

Wheels

18-inch

Tires

235/40/ Z r18 

Dimensions

 

Length

4,649 mm

Width

1,799 mm

Height

1,416 mm

Ground Clearance

133 mm

Kerb Weight

1,305 kg

Exterior

 

Headlamps

LED Projector

Foglamps

Yes; LED

Side Mirrors

Power-adjustable with Turn Signals

Daytime Running Lamps

Yes; LED

Body Kit

YES; RS Bodykit

Interior

 

Instrument Gauge Cluster

Full Color TFT 

Infotainment System

7-inch HD Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Adjustable Steering

Yes; Tilt and Reach

Passengers

5

Power Adjustable Seats

Yes; Driver Power 8-way

A/C System

Automatic; Dual-Zone

 

Steering Controls

Yes

Speakers

6

Interior Material

Leather

USB ports

Yes

Power Sockets

Yes; 12V

Safety

 

Airbags

Yes; 6 airbags

ABS with EBD and Brake Assist

Yes

Traction Control

Yes

Stability Control

Yes

Hill-Start Assist

Yes

Hill-Descent Control

Yes

Seatbelts

F - 3-point with pre-tensioner; R - Rear 3-point Seatbelts for 3 Occupants

Rear Defogger

Yes

Remote Start

No

Immobilizer

Yes

Forward Collision Warning

No

Autonomous Emergency Braking

No

Adaptive Cruise Control

Yes; with speed limiter

Automatic Headlamp Levelling

Yes

Lane Departure Warning

No

Rear Cross Traffic Alert

No

Parking Assist

No

PRICE

 Click here for the latest prices

 

Photos by Roy Robles

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