2020 Honda Civic RS sedan (car review)

BOASTING a sporty personality, performance and practicality, the 2020 Honda Civic RS sedan is everything you need. Plus with a price reduction before on-roads of $700 over the hatchback, there’s really no reason why it shouldn’t be on your shopping list.

The RS is as close as you can get to the legendary Type R version of the same series of Civic, without having to dish out a larger portion of your bank account. And sure, you won’t get all the weight-saving and badging of the Type R.

Likewise, you won’t get any of the race and track ready specs, but that doesn’t make the RS sedan any less sporty. Powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged Earth Dreams engine, the RS is surprisingly quick off the line, with power figures of 127kW and 220Nm of torque.

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It’s all delivered to the front wheels efficiently and smoothly. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) is a bit of a let down, but it performs well and can be very rev-happy.

That’s especially so when the sport driving mode is activated, mapping the gearbox to hold higher RPMs longer.

As with some previous generations of the Civic, the RS’ engine noise can be a bit loud and overbearing in the mid to high range revs, depending on how much you like the sound of the engine.

It handles very well through corners and seems to have just the right amount of power for its size. The electric power steering is direct and responsive and the car as a whole is fairly well balanced.

But if you try hard enough, there is some body roll and the rear will even step out a touch. The ride isn’t too firm and is perfect for daily driving.

We were unable to reach Honda’s claimed combined fuel economy of 6.3-litres/100km as we just had too much fun throwing the car around, but we did get close with 7.0-litres/100km.

Externally, the Civic RS is a sight to behold. Ours came in a pearlescent Phoenix Orange, a truly unique and standout colour among the blacks and whites cluttering the roads.

The styling of the front is sporty and aggressive, and Honda maintains this all the way to the rear by adding LED headlights and tail lights, as well a small boot wing.

They even added 18-inch alloy wheels and an RS badge on the front grille for that extra sporty oomph.

Internally, you’re greeted by leather seats and a leather steering wheel. Honda maintains an air of sportiness throughout the interior via the low seating position as well as adding red stitching to almost everything.

But they also maintain practicality by adding comforts such as electric seat adjustment to the front row and a huge amount of storage space.

There’s plenty of legroom and headroom in the rear, even for taller people, due to the fairly low seating position throughout the car.

The vehicle’s infotainment unit sits at an angle on the centre console, much like the angle of the instrument cluster. It’s a tad dated and slow, but otherwise effective, with many customisation options.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included and audio quality is good throughout the front and rear rows. Satellite navigation is not standard though, so buyers will have to spend an additional amount to option navigation into the RS.

The HDMI and USB ports can be found underneath the storage below the infotainment unit, and there’s a 12V port in a separate shelf, which can be easily missed and overlooked.

It’s perfect for hiding small valuables when the car is parked but otherwise just inconvenient.

There are two ISOFIX tethers in the rear for those who require them and a total of four cup holders, excluding the door pockets which are fairly large considering the size of the car. Honda hasn’t held back on storage options.

A total of 525-litres of boot space can be further enlarged thanks to the 60:40 split-folding rear seats.

The 2020 Honda Civic RS comes with a 5-star ANCAP rating thanks to the wide array of included safety tech, along with the Honda Sensing system, including forward collision warning, collision mitigation braking and lane departure warning.

It also comes with lane keep assist, road departure warning and adaptive cruise control. Not only that but visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent across the board, with the infotainment switching to the left mirror camera upon indicating left.

If you can overlook the fact it doesn’t have satellite navigation and has a CVT transmission, the Honda Civic RS sedan is a great car, right out of the box. It ticks all the boxes and is sporty in its own right, while still being a reliable point to point vehicle.

Priced at $33,340 plus road costs, it is an excellent compromise from the higher spec VTI-LX and the lower spec VTI-S. Honda also offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and an array of options. We’ll definitely be adding this to our short list.

Our 2020 Honda Civic RS sedan was supplied by Honda Australia. To find out more, contact your local Honda dealer. Pictures courtesy of J_Hui Design/Photography.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - excellent handling and power delivery; sporty exterior and interior styling; spacious and practical; lots of safety features.
Cons - CVT is a minor letdown; satellite navigation not standard; dated infotainment system; lacks decent range of driving modes.
Paul Pascual
Paul Pascual
Paul Pascual is an avid enthusiast of all things JDM, from the legendary powerhouses to the old school kei cars. He has a passion for modification and making his cars look like they belong on the track. But they never actually make it there.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> excellent handling and power delivery; sporty exterior and interior styling; spacious and practical; lots of safety features.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> CVT is a minor letdown; satellite navigation not standard; dated infotainment system; lacks decent range of driving modes.2020 Honda Civic RS sedan (car review)