Honda’s Civic Type R needs no introduction; it’s a legendary fast front wheel drive car with plenty of attitude… and a price to go with it.
At 50K+ it’s a bit of a stopper especially when you can get an all-wheel drive hyper hatch from elsewhere for around the same dosh.
If you want to looks but don’t need the hyper performance and high price, perhaps the Honda Civic RS hatch is the right car for you.
To be honest, the high tech,1.5-litre, turbo petrol engine under the RS’s bonnet delivers satisfying zip for most applications particularly as it’s hooked up to Honda’s slick shifting CVT auto with paddle shift.
You’ll save about $20 grand on RS hatch compared with Type R which buys a lot of shouts up the pub for bench racing sessions talking about your car.
Though its overall styling might be a tad polarising especially at the rear, there are twin, centre mount exhaust pipes hanging out the back and an overt body aero add-ons to boost RS’s looks.
Wheels are a bit of a let-down though… conservative looking 17″ alloys.
Out of Thailand, the RS, like Honda’s new CR-V marks a turning point in cars from this country in terms of build quality, fit and finish.
In short, they’ve picked up their game to rank up among cars from Korea and Japan in most respects.
They look almost identical at a casual glance. The front is fairly ‘agro’ looking while the side profile looks like a fastback. Two ticks there.
On the Road
The engine is good for 127kW and 220Nm output giving the RS quick acceleration and strong roll-on response.
Fairly economical too at around 7.0-litres/100km (on test) using 91 unleaded without issues.
It has quick steering thanks to a novel dual pinion system and ride is sporty/supple thanks to conventional strut front suspension and a multi-link rear end.
The RS can be enjoyed when driven hard as in the winding mountain road scenario.
Equally, it is totally civilised in most other driving environments but only has a smattering of advanced driver assist technology.
It’s no match for Hyundai’s i30 SR though.
The RS is big, medium size really and has a large boot, plenty of luxury kit including HondaConnect infotainment, button start, 7″ touch screen, decent audio, LED headlights, reverse camera and leather figure among a generous list of standard kit.
But no hard wired sat-nav as it has to be streamed through your phone.
If you want all the advanced driver assist tech, it will be the VTi-LX for you.
Best Bits of the Civic RS:
- Impressive engine performance
- Happily runs on 91 unleaded
- Roomy interior
- Distinctive looks
- Agile handling
- Snappy CVT with paddle shift
- Can be economical
- LED headlights
- Some driver assist tech’
- Heated front seats and leather upholstery
- Decent infotainment system
- Confusing side left turn rear view camera
- No hardwired sat-nav
- Not enough driver assist technology just the basics…auto headlights, auto wipers and lane watch, park sensors front and rear,
- Ugly rear end
- Space saver spare
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Honda Civic RS Hatch
- Engine: 1.5L turbo petrol producing 127kW and 220Nm
- Transmission: Constantly Variable Transmission
- Warranty: Five-years
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: from $31,790