South Africa
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Can new Honda Civic live up to its local heritage?

With the vehicle having been around for more than 50 years, the Honda Civic is the Japanese manufacturer’s longest running nameplate.

Hence the local launch of the all-new, 11th generation Civic this month was an important moment for Honda Motor Southern Africa. They say the Civic RS will continue to build on a local reputation for engineering excellence, fun-to-drive dynamics, quality construction and frugal fuel consumption.

First local Honda Civic RS

As the first Civic to wear the RS badge in South Africa, the newcomer boasts low and sleek bodywork, large windows, wide LED headlights and taillights, 18-inch black alloy wheels plus black finishes for the side mirrors, shark fin antenna, door handles and rear boot spoiler.

It is 4 677mm long, 1 802mm wide, 1 415mm high, with a wheelbase of 2 735mm.

Under the bonnet is a turbocharged, four-cylinder, 1 498cc petrol engine that produces 131kW of power at 6 000rpm and 240Nm of torque between 1 700 and 4 500rpm. The above grunt and twist is sent to the front wheels via an automatic continuously variable transmission.

Honda Civic RS review
Honda Civic RS review
The Honda Civic RS rides on black 18-inch alloys.

Inside, it will seat four adults in comfort and five at a pinch on suede and leather covered seats, with electric adjustment and heating at the front. It comes standard with a sunroof, heated electrically adjusted side mirrors, red ambient interior lighting, sport pedals and a finely textured centre console.

Features galore

There is an on-board computer with multi-information display, including Honda’s nine–inch Advanced HMI Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity, while a wireless smartphone charger and USB ports front and rear are also standard.

ALSO READ: Wait no more: All-new Honda Civic Type R shows its true self

Additional mod cons include dual zone air-conditioning with rear ventilation, an auto dimming rearview mirror, auto windscreen wipers and cruise control.

The Civic features three drive modes: Econ, Normal and Sport. Switching between the three is simplified through an intuitive Drive Mode Switch located on the centre console.

Active safety features include vehicle stability assist, ABS with EBD, hill-start assist, brake hold, a rearview camera, parking sensors front and rear, a lane change blind spot monitor, forward collision warning system and lane watch camera. Should you shunt it, the Civic offers passive safety features in front, side, and curtain airbags, plus seatbelt pre-tensioners for the front seats.

Honda Civic can do with a manual

The launch route between Kyalami and Hartbeespoort offered a range of city and urban roads, with the Civic RS able to demonstrate many of its attributes.

Honda Civic RS review
Honda Civic RS review
The cabin has all the bells and whistles.

The Civic RS accelerates briskly, and Honda claims it will go from standstill to 100km/h in 8.3 seconds, with a top speed of 200km/h. We would not argue with their figures, though the car’s kerb weight of 1 348SSkg did feel a bit heavy.

Under acceleration, it imitates gear changes much to this driver’s approval. But, under deceleration, the system decides when it wants to downchange, which led to a jerky ride. We would have preferred a manual gearbox.

Handling is sure-footed and the steering direct. The vehicle has a turning circle of 10.8m, which aids manoeuvring in tight spots and easy parking.

It will, according to Honda, deliver fuel consumption of 6.2 litres for every 100km and travel 758km on its 47-litre tank.


The Honda Civic is only available in the flagship RS derivative, that will set you back R669 000. We think that is expensive, but what is not, these days?

The price includes a five-year/200 000km warranty and a five-year/90 000km service plan.

For more information on the Honda Civic, visit the manufacturer’s website.