A new lifeline? Honda bounces back with stunning new Civic RS now in South Africa

• Honda South Africa launched the eleventh generation Civic in August.
• Only one derived model is available, the RS sedan. The Type R will arrive in 2023.
• The price of the new model is R669,900.

Honda launched its eleventh-generation Civic in Gauteng earlier in August, following on the heels of the recently launched HR-V SUV. The Japanese automaker was once hugely popular with great cars and even better reliability, but sales have been declining in recent years. The launch of their latest new models could revive the automaker’s fame and fortune in the local market.

The new Civic immediately impresses with its svelte, clean sedan profile and purposeful stance, thanks to the placement of the wheels just to the outer edges of the wheel arches. There’s a continuous styling line that runs from the nose to the flanks to the trunk, and the car seems to be very cohesive stylistically. And that extends to the understated but sumptuous interior, which is fully equipped with all the latest connectivity, safety and driving aids, many of which are operated from the spokes of the traditional small-diameter Honda steering wheel.

2022 Honda Civic RS

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It’s only available in one model, and that’s the Civic RS in sedan form. It has an impressive 1.5-liter turbocharged multi-valve four-cylinder petrol engine and a CVT gearbox. Lest I hear moans from readers at this point, let me hasten to add that this is certainly the most successful rendition of a continuously variable transmission that I have have tested to date. It perfectly mimics the best examples of a traditional multi-speed automatic transmission, with programmed steps in how the belts interact with the CVT’s cone system. So you effectively benefit from fixed gears that are appropriately held during hard acceleration, but the transmission shifts smoothly once the engine’s redline is reached. So: none of the horrible buzzing that plagues lesser CVT renditions.

The 131kW motor is a free-revving gem, pushing past the 6,000rpm power peak with gusto and a sporty note that’s never intrusive, even when you nail the loud pedal. In smooth driving, thanks to a flat distribution of torque with a peak of 240 Nm at just 1,700 rpm, Honda claims an overall consumption of 6.2 litres/100 km. This figure is entirely believable because the CVT gearbox is so efficient in cruise mode, allowing low revs at light throttle openings.

The fuel tank has a capacity of only 47 liters, which was once considered small. But with the excellent economy achievable, this will translate to a range of 700 km or more, which is quite acceptable.

2022 Honda Civic RS

2022 Honda Civic RS

The cabin of the Civic is a very calming place. Upholstery is a mix of suede and leather, tastefully stitched in red cotton to continue the sporty RS theme of this interpretation of the Civic. And lest the question of “what about the new Civic Type R be raised at this point, Honda assures us that the Next Generation Type Rfor many enthusiasts, the ultimate sports sedan available will appear in 2023.

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This raises the fact that the new Civic version is a sedan. At the launch, Honda paid homage to 10 previous versions of the Civic, dating back to 1972. South Africans never appreciated this first interpretation, but in the early 1980s the Honda brand entered the arena of four wheels with the second version. The fact is that this second version of the Civic, a small sedan, was launched here as the Ballade. And that name was used for several subsequent generations of the Honda small sedan well into the 1990s. When the Civic’s nameplate arrived here in the late 1990s, it was in hatchback form.

In the early years of Honda’s four-wheel presence in South Africa (Honda motorbikes had been on sale here since the early 1960s), the brand quickly gained a reputation for exceptional build quality and reliability, which remains true to this day.

The air of quality and solidity of this new Civic RS is evident from the moment you jump in and close the door. And once in motion, you realize that a fine balance between ultra-precise steering responses and ride quality is once again the all-important feature you appreciate in a top-of-the-line Honda.

2022 Honda Civic RS

2022 Honda Civic RS

The RS comes standard with 18-inch alloys and low-profile tires, but the ride is never harsh, despite the firm suspension. Road noise is also minimal.

On the safety side, the new Civic sedan has six airbags, ABS (anti-lock braking system), cornering assistance and a suite of electronic driving aids. These include Collision Mitigation Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Monitoring Camera and Control automatic high beam.

As for creating a special interior ambience, the RS also comes with a 12-speaker Bose Surround Stage audio system, which was apparently tailor-made for the new Civic.

2022 Honda Civic RS

2022 Honda Civic RS

Also, as far as luxury equipment goes, the front seats are electrically adjustable and the body shape provides plenty of rear head and legroom for full-size adults of a southern configuration. -typical African. Honda also paid a lot of attention to the layout of the controls in the forward part of the cabin, and the placement of digitized instrumentation, switches and knobs is logical and pleasing to the eye. I liked that mesh feature in the dash that spans the full width of the cockpit, giving the car a hint of retro-modern personality and breaking up the starkness of the predominantly charcoal interior. .

2022 Honda Civic RS

2022 Honda Civic RS

Overall, it’s a car that competes very strongly, both in appearance and perceived quality, with the entry-level small sedans from Audi and BMW.

It is priced at R669,000 and comes with an impressive five-year or 200,000km warranty, five-year service plan and three-year AA roadside assistance cover.

About Rachelle Roosevelt

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