2020 Honda Civic VTi-S hatch (car review)

I think I can, I think I can. The 2020 Honda Civic VTi-S hatch is the little 4-cylinder that could, and while it may not be as feature packed as the RS or as intimidating as the Type R, it wears its badge with pride.

The first generation of the Honda Civic was released way back in 1972, 10 generations, and a few facelifts later and here we are, getting around in a Modern Steel coloured hatch, complemented by its shadow finish 16-inch wheels.

But if you’re not a 50 Shades fan (see what we did there), you can also choose from Ignite Red, Brilliant Sporty Blue, Lunar Silver, Platinum White and Crystal Black. All in all, it’s a pretty cool colour range.

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One of the nicest things about the VTi-S, and the Civic range in general, though is the fact Honda haven’t jumped on the ‘add a turbo’ bandwagon, standing behind their naturally aspirated 1.8-litre SOHC i-VTEC power plant, and its CVT transmission.

The combination offers a smooth and seamless ride through each gear range and delivers 104kW of power and 174Nm of torque. It’s no straight line monster, but you can guarantee you will beat the competition on fuel consumption.

Honda claims 6.4-litres/100km on the combined cycle and we managed an impressive 6.9-litres. It’s all very nice and there’s a lot of box ticking, but there’s also a lack of power from the VTi-S, which probably could use a snail, or two XXL bottles of go juice.

The in-cabin engine noise is a big giveaway that the 1.8-litre is undergoing some power struggles. That said, when you’re negotiating your favourite corner filled scenic road, an understanding and appreciation for Honda engineering is achieved and all is forgiven.

And while we don’t see Hector considering running one of these at Race Wars, we’re certain that if practicality, comfort and reliability are on your vehicle bucket list, then the Civic VTi-S is your street machine.

Keeping with tradition, Honda has not disappointed when it comes to the car’s maneuverability and handling. Sharp, responsive steering, a Zen like balance and a suspension offering which delivers a smooth, comfortable ride, complete the package.

Inside, the Civic is deceivingly spacious. Head room is plentiful along with generous leg room for both driver and passenger. There’s plenty of room in the back seats too, and the whole package feels un-cramped.

Boot space is plentiful, taking on golf clubs, a pram, shopping or even the holiday luggage. With praise comes critique though, and we don’t think it’s too big an ask for Honda to include some rear air conditioning vents or a rear USB power source.

In-car entertainment is provided by a 7.0-inch colour touchscreen, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, with USB connected Apple CarPlay and Android Auto pumping out your favourite beats on the 4-speaker 4-tweeter 160W sound system.

The CarPlay integration worked error/jitter free once were able to locate the correct USB port for integration. Sound quality was plentiful for our playlists.

It was like being at a live Tay Tay concert minus the screaming fans (there may be a slight exaggeration here, for comedic purposes).

The Civic has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and comes equipped with AHAS (Agile Handling Assist System), front, side and full length SRS airbags, ABS, hill start assist, brake force distribution, parking sensors, and traction control.

There’s also vehicle stability assist and to top it off, a precise and extremely useful LaneWatch blind-spot camera system. You get the sense that Honda technicians are all about safety first.

The VTi-S is just one of a large family of Civic models, that also includes the base VTi model below it, and several above it, including the VTi-L, VTi-LX and RS, with all available in both hatch and sedan variants.

Then there’s the powerhouse award winning, track tearing, record breaking Civic Type R, the latest incarnation to wear the Type R badge, sporting 228kW of power. But if that’s overkill for your grocery run or daily commute, then the Civic VTi-S is a wise choice.

Honda offers a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and pricing starts at $29,536 plus on road costs. The 2020 Honda Civic VTi-S offers European styling at affordable pricing and is a great daily driver, and the perfect all-rounder.

Our test vehicle was provided by Honda Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Honda Civic VTi-S, 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 – LaneWatch assist; fuel consumption; spaciousness; handling.
Cons - plain/ordinary interior; does struggle when needing the extra grunt; secret yearning for a Type R.
Jason Fernandez
Jason Fernandez
Jason Fernandez is a lover of hero cars. He's owned some of the best from the Japanese and Euro performance houses, but JDM cars hold a special place in his heart. To Jason, every vehicle is a blank canvas, just waiting to get its own personality. Well known to the Sydney car scene, Jason has a passion for all things automotive.


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<strong>Pros –</strong> LaneWatch assist; fuel consumption; spaciousness; handling.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> plain/ordinary interior; does struggle when needing the extra grunt; secret yearning for a Type R.2020 Honda Civic VTi-S hatch (car review)