THE 2020 Honda Civic RS hatch is a stunner. It’s gorgeous to look at, with its sharp front end styling and contoured and aggressive body shape. It’s comfortable to be in, and economical on the hip pocket. Safety features abound too.
You might describe it as the complete package, especially when you include driver assist technologies like steering assist, hill start assist and even a tyre deflation warning system. There’s ABS as well.
Visually, the Honda Civic RS looks great, and it feels like it draws some of its styling from the demigod of hatches that bears its name, the Type R. Front and side splitters add to the look, and that R affinity, and that colour, Phoenix Orange, has a real wow factor.
Well placed black contrasts add a sporty touch to the exterior, and it’s hard to ignore the sheer aerodynamic considerations Honda has given the Civic RS. There’s a real flow from front to rear. It’s almost bullet like, from that perspective.
The wider rear stance presents a nice solid finish to the Civic’s overall design, with centre-mounted exhaust tips, more splitters, and a chunky diffuser completing the package. It all sits on some sleek looking 18-inch alloy wheels.
If you like your cars sexy, it rarely gets this good. And it’s big too, measuring 4.5-metres long, with a roof height of 1.42-metres and a width of 1.8-metres. Ground clearance is a nice low 14.2cm. Those dimensions also mean one thing, it’s spacious on the inside.
Jump on in, and the first thing you’ll enjoy is the comfort from the leather appointed 8-way electric driver’s seat. Mind you, true to its sports orientation, the seats are low in the body, providing a low centre of gravity and ‘close to road’ experience.
You’re presented with a glorious needle-free digital dashboard and leather-wrapped steering wheel. Honda has done an excellent job of fusing leather trims and digital spaces together in the same cabin.
At its logical centre is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which you’ll need to utilise for satellite navigation via apps like Google Maps and Waze.
Configuring that infotainment system is a fairly decent chore though, as it doesn’t feel intuitive and leaves the Japanese car maker with plenty of room for improvement. There’s a phone caddy to sit your phone in too, providing you don’t have a decent sized mobile.
We tested it with an iPhone XS, and found ourselves having to leave it sitting awkwardly in the space provided. There are two USB ports up front though, but none in the back, which will leave your rear seat passengers with dwindling batteries on their devices.
That aside, Honda have nailed the sound system, with a 452W 12-speaker setup, that also features a decent sub-woofer. It’s a treat if you enjoy a quality aural experience, and clarity in your bass and treble, like we do.
The well-insulated cabin keeps the sound in, and the road noise out. The Honda Sensing system is also included with your Civic RS, adding forward collision warning, a collision mitigation braking system, and lane departure warning.
In addition it comes with lane keep assist, road departure mitigation, high beam support and adaptive cruise control with low speed follow. We had an issue with the cruise control on the freeway though, with the system sometimes detecting a car in the next lane.
This resulted in the car slowing like there was a vehicle in front of it, even though it was in the lane beside us. In the end, we turned off cruise control on the busier highways. It was a good reminder not to be complacent about driver assist technology.
On the road, the engine feels a little underwhelming, despite its go-fast looks. Powered by a 1.5-litre DOHC VTEC turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that generates 127kW of power and 220Nm of torque, the Honda Civic RS hatch feels well, underdone.
Part of the issue, despite some handy paddle shifters, is its reliance on a continuous variable transmission, or CVT for short. It’s an average gearbox, that does an average job of power delivery. Throw in a few passengers, and that gets worse.
Nevertheless, despite the fact the car lacks serious oomph, it makes up for it with some seriously impressive fuel economy. Honda claims 6.4-litres/100km and we were sceptical, but in real world testing, we managed 6.6-litres/100km.
The 2020 Honda Civic RS hatch is a beautiful looking car, that’s stylish all over. It comes with a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.It’s priced at $36,472 drive away.
Aside from the Phoenix Orange of our test vehicle, you can also grab one in Brilliant Sporty Blue, Ignite Red, Modern Steel, Lunar Silver, Platinum White and Crystal Black.
Our test vehicle was supplied by Honda Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Honda Civic RS hatch, contact your local Honda dealer.