Sorry Omar. They don’t sell the Civic Type-R here anymore. But this could be your box of tissues Omar… The new Honda Civic RS.

The Civic RS sure looks the part. If the Honda Civic exterior is ‘uplifted’, the RS turns it into a ‘celebration’. But you might actually think, what is all this ballyhoo about an extra 23 hp and 33 N-m of torque compared with the regular 2.0L engine! But does that warrant any sort of comparison with the Civic’s sport badge? A 1.5L turbo engine doesn’t even sound right.

Well, you ought to drive it to feel the difference. And more importantly, you have to drive the normal version to actually appreciate the difference.

Honda Civic RS profile

THE SPECS: Turbocharged 1.5L DOHC, direct-injected inline-4 engine with variable Valve Timing Control 180hp @6000rpm and 220Nm torque @1700-5500rpm Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

Standard features: LED daytime running lights, C-shaped LED taillights, power side mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, cap-less fuel system and glass antennas, 60:40 fold down rear seats, rear seat armrest with cup holders, rear ventilation

Convenience features: Remote Engine Starter, Automatic climate control, steering wheel mounted Bluetooth, 7-inch touch screen, USB jacks, Smart Entry, Push Button Start, Electric Parking Brake, Automatic Brake Hold, Auto Day and Night Rear View Mirror, Walk Away Locking, Cruise Control, Electronic Power Steering, Rear Parking Sensors, Sunroof and Honda LANEWATCHTM , Multi-angle Rearview Camera

SAFETY features: Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) with Traction Control Systems (TCS), Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS), Electronic Brake Distributor (EBD), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

THE PRICE: AED 89,900 onwards with 5-year/unlimited kilometer warranty

Honda Civic RS rear spoiler

THE UPSIDE: Sporty design, Practical storage design, LANEWATCH overtaking view, Safety features, Fuel efficiency

THE FLIPSIDE: Narrow rear view, Don’t expect a Type-R

Honda Civic RS side long

The Design

When posed with the challenge of coming up with something that looked flashier than a christmas tree, the Honda designers turned their spotlight on exactly the spot where automotive designers – whether German, Japanese or Korean – focus on. The grill and the headlights.

Replacing the ‘normal’ chrome grille is a black grille that exudes ceramic-gloss. And just by narrowing the headlamps, adding the LED lining and a few black touches to both the front and the rear lower grill, Honda has made more difference to the Civic RS than some Germans would perhaps make across an entire generation.

This totally changed façade elevates the car to deserve the badge that it proudly wears on the right rear, just below that prominent wing spoiler. LED fog lights, twin silencers, paddle shifters and 17” alloy wheels complete the difference.

Honda Civic RS front cabin

Cabin and Controls

The interiors are also very similar to that of the LXi and Exi with impressive storage, comfortable seating and a slightly lower seating posture. However, the seats are leather with a central lining that looks like rexine or the type of synthetic material sports t-shirts are made of.

Honda Civic RS seat leather

Much of the cabin controls are the same; just that in the RS, the instrument panel does have a feature which shows the climb of the power just to make you feel good. There is nothing more to it than the rise and fall of a bar graph! The navigation that looks like it is based on a market-gadget is nice and simple. There is something about the overall telematics that suggests it could be better planned.

Honda Civic RS rear seats

The Drive

It’s hard to tell it is a 1.5 L engine, even when you have been told. The 0 – 100 on a casual drive came up in around 8.2 seconds while the fuel efficiency stood at 8.8 L per 100kms.

The unholy alliance between the steering and the wheels of my Civic EXi test car is absent in the RS. The stay of steering after the turn was done is now gone. The slightly light feeling of the drive is still there, but things are much more in control.

The CVT transmission is again not my choice for a ‘sporty’ drive but to be fair, the power delivery is all the smoother for it and the Drive mode is generous. One thing escapes my logic – while the economy mode with the green flower on the console works well independently, there is a provision to actually combine the Sport mode and the Economy mode. Aren’t they supposed to be at loggerheads? Strange.

Honda Civic RS side rear

Should you buy the Honda Civic RS or the EXi?

If it helps you settle things at the start, there is almost 10,000 Dirhams difference between the two; a whole 17 grand between the base model and the top trim. Put things in perspective with my Civic EXi review

If you like your drive to be tighter than a loosely threaded train set and glossier, sportier styling, it’s still worth buying the RS. But if you let yourself get over the annoying follow-through of a turn, the Honda EX is a perfect choice in terms of its revised style, space and storage – the systematic storage that shows the utterly practical side of the stunning new Civic!

2016 Honda Civic RS Review: Black gloss and a turbocharger was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

4 Responses to 2016 Honda Civic RS Review: Black gloss and a turbocharger

  1. Nireesh.V says:

    Hai Sudeep

    I am planning to buy an SUV. My daily usage is about like 80-90 Kms per day.
    My preference is to look for a SUV with less maintenance, and re-sale value and good looking.
    What is your suggestion about Prado as well as Pajero ?

    Kindly revert

    • Sudeep Koshy says:

      Hi Nireesh, you have shortlisted two vehicles that have their stamp of reliability and resale value established over the years. So it is only a matter of which drive is more to your taste. You might find the Prado slightly more comfortable but is more expensive as well. You might like the new Fortuner as well.

  2. Arun says:

    Hi Sudeep,

    Based on your experience, kindly suggest a comfortable, silent and reliable option from below listed cars. I am running around 225KM per day. Also i have some back pain issue so i chose SUV. I haven’t much time to go for test drive, so am seeking your advice.

    Montero sport 2016
    Fortuner 2016
    Prado 2016
    or any other option than these cars ?


    • Sudeep Koshy says:

      Hi Arun, That’s a fairly long distance that you cover every day. Which means almost 3 – 4 hours in the driver’s seat. Each person responds differently to the shape of a seat, so it is absolutely important that you test the car out – after all you have only 3 on your shortlist. Of the three, the Prado might have an edge given your concerns. You might also want to try the Volvo XC60 for its smooth and comfortable drive.

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