30 August 2019

Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019 Car Review

We got our hands on this handsome Honda Civic RS Sedan on the back of an update earlier this year which introduced Honda Sensing safety and driver assist tech, plus some styling upgrades for the car.

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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019
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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019
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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019
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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019
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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019
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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019
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Honda Civic RS Sedan 2019

That means it now gets Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, which stays active even if traffic in front stops briefly, plus Lane Keep Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Forward Collision warning, Collision Mitigation Braking System and Auto High Beam Support System.

Some of this stuff is rapidly becoming essential safety tech to help you avoid a crash which might see a momentary lapse of concentration directly lead to a catastrophic impact that blights your life, and that of others. Some of it is simply nice to have – anyone regularly caught in rush-hour traffic will enjoy that cruise system, as it’ll keep your speed to the car in front, and stop when it does. Which, assuming the driver in front is paying attention, means all you have to do is touch the throttle to start, and steer round any corners. If you doze off and drift wide, rest assured the Lane Departure Warning will fire. And if the car in front starts to drift left to turn, leaving your Honda slowing too, simply squeeze the throttle to alert the system you’ll keep going.

Some cars are just a little too ready to flash lights and sound klaxons at any potentially wayward driving behaviour, which soon leads to folk turning off whatever they can. The safety backups aren’t much good to them then, so it’s great to find that those items we were able to test worked well, bar one niggle, without going overboard about it.

The auto high beam was particularly good, the sensitivity seemed spot on – our favourite test stretch for this often sees signs on corners confusing the lights, while oncoming cars are ignored for too long. This Honda got it right – indeed the only times it cried ‘wolf’ were two times when a car was parked on the left, immediately beyond a traffic island, enforcing a small direction correction as the island passed by. Naturally the electronic nannies couldn’t guess you’d seen the car, and they obviously hadn’t clocked the island, so warned of an imminent impact.

But really, that’s a minor niggle given all the many advantages, and the only safety feature we remain on the fence over is Honda’s version of blind spot warning when you indicate left. A camera on the left wing mirror starts up when you indicate, and the infotainment screen lights up with a clear visual of anything in the blind spot on that side. But of course it has no idea whether it’s needed or not, so any flick of the left-hand indicator will produce a slightly distracting moving image on the screen of what’s behind and to your left – useful on multi-lane roads or round town when a bicycle might be filtering past, a pain in the butt if it’s merely delivering a distracting flicker of cow fences and hedges.

As for the car’s cosmetic makeover, the front bumper got a redesign thanks to a lower grille, aimed at imparting a more muscular look, along with gloss black flourishes. A few interior trim updates included the addition of a chequered centre panel on the seats and a redesigned touchscreen, with hard keys – rather small ones, fortunately not too close together - for the functions you use most often, plus a manual dial for audio volume.

Initially our tester was slightly disappointed in this car. It looks good outside, the seats look great and they’re comfy, but the touch screen and related systems looked a whisker dated.

Then a winding country B-road presented on a rare dry afternoon, and the car’s otherwise faultless round-town and highway behavior stepped up a notch. This 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo delivers a nice spread of oomph, particularly since peak torque is on tap all the way from 1700rpm to the 5500rpm at which power also peaks, moreover the CVT auto nicely matched to the turbo performance to avoid CVT’s traditional Achilles heel, slow take-off from rest.

Opt for Sport mode and it’s a delightfully agile mount through the swervery, while still delivering comfort in Normal mode during everyday driving.

The only down side is thirst. Honda claims 6.3l/100km, we never saw less than a litre per 100km more than that, though admittedly our drive was heavy on hills and Sport mode, and light on sedate highway cruising.

The clincher for buyers will be the price. You can’t get everything for $39,900, but handsome looks, sufficient space and practicality for most, agility when wanted and comfort when not, plus a generous array of features to help reduce your chance of crashing makes this sedan good value.

At a glance


Honda Civic RS Sensing Sedan


1.5 litre DOHC VTEC intercooled turbo



ANCAP safety rating


Power and Torque

127kW at 5500rpm and 220Nm at 1700-5500rpm


CVT with seven speeds via steering wheel paddles

Fuel economy


Towing capacity

800kg braked


2WD front

Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload

517 litres

 Safety systems

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Road Departure Mitigation
  • Auto High Beam
  • LaneWatch camera
  • Three-angle reversing camera with dynamic parking aid
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