March 29, 2021 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Andréas N. Delos Reyes

2021 Honda Civic RS

The Resilient Standard Bearer

Now at the end of its 10th generation production run, the current Honda Civic still has the ability to reliably thrill and entertain aspirational commuters. While we await the all-new more sophisticated 11th generation Civic model, I wanted to revisit and retest the top-spec outgoing RS model you see here, in the model exclusive Ignite Red, one more time. I prefer the alternative Cosmic Blue Metallic or Modern Steel Metallic exterior paint to make the contrasting trim colors pop more significantly.

At the retail price of P1,615,000.00, the Honda Civic RS may not be the most alluring model in the range in our domestic market. For P427,000.00 less, that sweet spot in the Civic range is the modestly powered 139 bhp / 128 lb-ft 1.8-liter sohc i-VTEC 1.8E variant which has most of the niceties found on the RS like the full-LED headlights, the same 7-inch 6-speaker 160-watt infotainment system with guided reverse camera, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, the same exemplary fully independent suspension (F/R): struts/multilink, the same brakes: 11.1-in vented front disc / 10.2-in rear solid disc, the same continuously variable ratio transmission, the same climate control, the same safety measures, Smart Entry System with Push Button and Remote Engine Start, and more.

So are all the extra equipment worth the substantial increase in cost like the more potent turbocharged engine, the lovely 18 x 8J RS-design Berlina black alloys wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 235/40R18 95Y tires (up from simpler but tasteful 16 x 7J alloys with 215/55R16 tires), aluminum peddles, steering wheel paddleshifts, glossy piano black front grille, LED fog lamps instead of halogen, rear trunk deck spoiler (which I think actually ruins the Civic’s nice design lines), twin exhausts, automatic rain sensing wipers, RS-spec design elements, red stitched leather interior appointments, and ambient interior lighting? Ultimately that decision would naturally be based on financial capacity and if the buyer is an enthusiast who intends to be self-driven. If you really don’t plan on driving spiritedly, I would highly recommend saving the extra expense. With the Honda Civic 1.8E you would still be rewarded with a high quality and desirable Honda compact sedan at its largest capacity ever combined with a bit more fuel economy and a less sporty ride for everyday routine comfort.

Other markets get even more potent engine tuning from the same overachieving 1.5-liter turbo engine from a modest bump up by 10 bhp and 15 lb-ft to a more blistering (Kia Forte GT-challenging) increase to 205 bhp and 192 lb-ft of torque. Hopefully with the upcoming all-new slightly larger Civic model our market will receive more powerplant varieties that will include the Hybrids. I am also hoping that the new rear seats get climate control vents since the current Civic don’t have them. Lastly, I hope the other optional factory equipment offered in other markets would be available to us like wireless smartphone charging and considerably better audio systems. The all-new Honda City RS for example currently has the very best sounding 180-watt 8-speaker infotainment system in the whole Honda Philippines model range. Other markets already get that system as standard for mid-level variants while higher models get a 450-watt Premium Audio System with 10 Speakers, or even better the 540-watt 12-speaker system.

The Honda Civic was once the standard bearer for being the most desirable and most dynamic compact sedan in the Philippine market. It is still a solid, purposeful, and very well-built car but at its selling price the Civic RS should have been packaged with even more standard equipment.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1498 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16V
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled Turbo, i-VTEC
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 170 bhp @ 5500 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 162 lb-ft @ 1700-5500 rpm
Transmission CVT

Performance

Top Speed 205 km/h (128 mph)
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 7.7 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 30 mpg City / 38 mpg Highway (8.3 km/L Overall)

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 1,615,000.00
What's Great Satisfying ride and handling, effortless and efficient, spacious cabin.
What's Not So Compromised packaging, no rear a/c vents, all-new model coming soon.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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