Celebrating 50 years of Civic in 2022, Honda recently launched the eleventh generation of its iconic Civic model to the local media, and AutoTrader was among the first to drive the newcomer.

New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review

Known as both a Ballade and a Civic throughout its five decades on the local market, Honda’s mid-size sedan/hatchback has cemented its place as an automotive icon globally, with 27.5-million Civics finding homes since 1972. The eleventh generation of the Civic was launched recently and has made its way to South Africa, however, only in RS guise. For those thinking that ‘RS’ is a performance variant, allow us to clarify that this stands for ‘Road Sailing’ and is essentially a sporty-looking model with a high specification, but with the same performance as ‘regular’ Civic models. We recently attended the national media launch in Johannesburg and had a chance to drive the latest Civic.

Those looks

The latest Civic is most certainly a looker, sporting an attractive sedan silhouette, a front end dominated by a grille that is integrated with the slim LED headlights and an elegant rear section with dual tailpipes that add some sporty appeal. The black 18-inch alloy wheels and various gloss black accents on items such as the door handles, boot spoiler, antenna and side mirrors round-off what is an extremely attractive sedan package.

New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review

Interior

Heading inside, the latest Civic is without a doubt the best Honda product in terms of material quality and fit and finished that we have seen here at AutoTrader over the past few years, which bodes well for the upcoming Type-R variant.

In terms of safety, the RS comes with 6 airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchor points,  a host of semi-autonomous driver aids such as collision mitigation system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, road departure mitigation and a lane-watch camera. The latest Civic was crash tested by the USA-based IIHS programme where it achieved scores of ‘Good’ and ‘Superior’ across all safety tests, making it one of the programme’s top safety picks. Other features include heated leather/suede seats, dual-zone climate control, and three driving modes (ECO, Normal and Sport). In terms of practicality, the rear quarters offer a great deal of legroom and reasonable headroom while boot space is rated at 419-litres, which is impressive.

The infotainment system features a 9.0-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and features an impressive resolution and is simple to use while the 12-speaker Bose sound system works a treat. There is also a fully digitised instrument cluster that features a 10.2-inch LCD screen and allows the driver to scroll through various functions. In terms of smartphone charging, there is a media USB port, a charging port as well as a wireless charger up front and two USB ports at the rear.

New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review

Engine and gearbox

Since there is only one model, there is only one engine and gearbox option available, with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine paired with a CVT. The engine produces 131kW and 240Nm of torque while the CVT features a ‘Step-Shift’ function that mimics changing gears while steering-mounted paddle shifters allow the driver to shift at will.

New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review

Driving impression

The media event started in the Waterfall Estate area in Johannesburg and went through Hartbeespoort and back again, affording us with an opportunity to experience the Civic across a variety of driving conditions.

The idea of a CVT gearbox often fills this writer with anxiety, however, Honda has calibrated this particular CVT very well, as it integrates so nicely with the 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Our drive in the newcomer resulted in a combined fuel con assumption figure of 7.2 L/100km, not quite the 6.2 L/100km claimed, but certainly reasonable. When pushing on a bit, the engine and gearbox work nicely together, keeping the typical CVT drone under control while offering strong overtaking performance.

In terms of refinement and cabin intrusion, the RS performs about as well as you could expect from a product at this price point, with a supple ride and very little in the way of road and wind noise for a product in this segment.

New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review

Pricing

The Civic RS comes with a 5-year/200 000km warranty and a 5-year/90 000km service plan.

Honda Civic RS- R669 000

Verdict

The Civic RS is a welcome return to form for the Japanese marque, managing to be wonderful to drive while being well made and packed full of features. The elephant in the room is most certainly its lofty price tag, which is a lot of money to pay for a Civic that doesn’t wear the ‘Type-R’ badge.

 Sean NurseWith a lifelong passion for cars, bikes, and motorsport, Sean knew that attaining a degree in journalism would allow him to pursue his passion, which was to be a motoring journalist. After graduating in 2012, Sean was awarded a bursary from the SAGMJ which allowed him to work for a variety of motoring publications. This was a dream come true for Sean, and after a year of gaining vital industry experience, he was hired as a motoring journalist at a local newspaper and worked his way up to editor. In 2020, Sean joined the AutoTrader team and counts himself lucky to wake up and genuinely love what he does for a living.View News & Reviews

New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review
New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review
New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review
New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review
New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review
New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review
New-generation Honda Civic First Drive Review

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