Honda’s announcement, two months ago, that it is “investigating” the possibility of making the new Civic available in South Africa will come to fruition next month with the debut of the new RS.
Despite details being limited at present, what is known is that the new Civic will once again be available solely as a sedan, bar the Type R based on the hatch, and likely only with a CVT as per the current model range.
“Civic is such an iconic model for Honda – one that is basically engrained into our DNA. Globally, it one of the best-sellers, so what would South Africa be without the Honda Civic,” Honda Product Manager for South Africa, Callon Locke, told The Citizen on the side-lines of the new HR-V launch in Cape Town in June.
Revealed in mainly Asian markets not long after its world’s premiere last year, the RS, unlike the Civic Si marketed in the United States, doesn’t come with any added performance and merely rates as an appearance package in spite of the nomenclature hinting the opposite.
Likely to mirror the Thai-market RS where models bound for South Africa are tipped to be sourced from, expect the visual applique to include sportier bumpers and door sills, gloss black mirror caps, 17 or 18-inch black alloy wheels, standard LED headlights, black door handles and a gloss black bootlid spoiler.
Inside, the changes from the standard model, if offered at all, will likely consist of specification instead of bespoke touches such as sport seats and colours.
This means the South African-spec RS will most probably come as standard with the nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system, the 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, electric front seats, a wireless smartphone charger, ambient lighting and possibly also the twelve-speaker Bose sound system from the conventional US-spec Civic and Si.
On the safety front, expect Honda’s Sensing system to feature, made-up of amongst others Autonomous Emergency Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Departure Warning and the LaneWatch left-hand side camera.
As for power, the South African RS is anticipated to retain the outgoing Civic’s 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine and not receive the 1.5-litre hybrid that replaced the petrol-turbo in Thailand earlier this year.
While it remains to be seen whether the current normally aspirated 1.8-litre unit continues in lower-end models, expect outputs for the RS of 132kW/240Nm compared to the 147kW/260Nm made by Si.
As mentioned, a CVT is expected to be sole transmission option with no manual forecasted like on the Si and Type R. While no 0-100 km/h times were divulged, the quoted top speed is 240 km/h.
Due to be revealed on 3 August, expect complete details of the RS, and also the rest of the Civic range, to become apparent then, along with final pricing.