2017 Honda Civic RS hatchback quick review

By David Bonnici, 25 May 2017 Car Reviews

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2017 Honda Civic RS hatchback quick review

The all-new Honda Civic hatch has a premium feel and more space than ever before, and the sporty, turbocharged RS variant adds some oomph to justify its macho design.

TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR

The 2017 Honda Civic RS sits below the range-topping VTi-LX and shares many of its features, albeit in a sportier package that includes unique central twin exhaust pipes and edgier bodywork add-ons. Priced at $32,290 it comes with a standard equipment which includes leather appointed seat trim, 17-inch alloys and a premium infotainment system incorporating DAB+ digital radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

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STRENGTHS

  • The 1.5-litre turbo engine provides a healthy 127kW and 220Nm and is particularly zippy in Sport mode. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters also provide a way of overriding the CVT gearbox if the road demands it.
  • It’s pretty fuel efficient – around 7.0L/100km even in its perkier Sport mode and down to low 6.0L/100km region in Eco mode.
  • Handling is impressive without compromising refinement. It corners nicely thanks to multi-link rear suspension while grip and body control remain true even through the tightest bends.
  • While the RS; sporting credentials are mostly cosmetic, its nimble steering is worthy of a hot hatch thanks to a quick steering rack ratio and brake torque vectoring that ensures it goes exactly where you point it.

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  • It’s roomy inside and you’re certainly not short for storage space up front thanks to a huge centre console bin, cup holders and under-dash storage ‘shelves’.
  • The rear seats are comfortable with adequate leg room helped by the indent at the rear of the front seats. Rear storage isn’t as ample as up front but there is a map pocket, centre armrest with cup holders and small door bins.
  • The boot capacity measures a generous 414 litres against the sedan’s 519 litres, which makes it one of the best in the small hatch segment. The space is deep and a side-mounted sliding cargo barrier doesn’t get in the way of big items. Rear seats fold back 60/40 to help carry larger cargo.

WEAKNESSES

  • Despite the $32,290 price tag the Civic RS doesn’t come with any advanced driver assistance technology, such as autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning or lane departure warning.
  • The busy, angular exterior design is polarising and it will be interesting to see how it dates.

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  • This car deserves better transmission options than just CVT, not least a manual.  Even a conventional automatic would help impart a more lively feel to its driving performance
  • No more Magic Seats. The ultra-useful seats that still feature in the Honda Jazz and HR-V allowed you to flip the rear seat bases up vertically so you could use the full height of the cabin to carry tall cargo? Unfortunately the Civic’s new underpinnings couldn’t accommodate them.

ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER?

The small-car segment is brimming with models, most of which have warm-hatch variants such as the Holden Astra RS, Hyundai i30 SR, Toyota Corolla ZR, Ford Focus Sport and Mazda 3 SP25.