Sunday, November 5, 2017

2017 Honda Civic 1.5L RS Turbo: A Superstar Reborn

2017 Honda Civic 1.5L RS Turbo - Damortis, La Union
 By Monch "Road Monchster" Henares

At First Glance

I remember test-dating the Honda Civic 1.8 E a short time ago.  Today, with the 2017 Honda Civic 1.5L RS Turbo before me, it felt like I was meeting my gorgeous, sexy date all over again... but this time she had some upgrading done to her already voluptuous body. A Wing Spoiler topped her ever so bootilicious rear, and a glossy jet black grill that complimented her sleek and squinty LED Headlamps (with Daytime Running Lights). This more provocative and aggressive sister stood symmetrically low with perfect aerodynamic proportions, too.  I just knew this romance was about to rekindle, but this time with the more sophisticated twin. Hand me the keys please!

The Interior

The Multi-Function Keyfob will not only lock /unlock the car doors and pop the trunk, but it could also Remote Start the engine and automatically turn the air-conditioning onA very convenient way to cool your hot car interior before you get into it. You could also quickly release all that interior heat by pressing the unlock-button for a few seconds. This rolls down all four windows. Now that's hot!

The car comes with a State-of-the-Art Alarm System, Immobilizer, Push-Button Start, and a Smart Key System. You never have to remove the Keyfob from your pocket or bag to open the doors, the trunk, and even to start the engine. Have you ever locked your keys inside a car? No problemo! A smart chip in the keyfob makes sure you never lock your car with the keyfob in it. It just wont lock! Walking away from the vehicle with the keyfob in hand locks all the doors, turns-off all the lights, and arms the alarm system. Just make sure you turned the engine off first.

The 2017 Honda Civic 1.5L RS Turbo is fitted with Leather Seats, Leather Shift Knob, Door and Dash Accents, neatly trailed with white stitching. The whole interior feels solid, and yet soft-to-the-touch. The ladies would love the Lighted Vanity Mirrors on the sun-visors.

The newly redesigned (tapered shoulders) front seats are actually very comfortable to sit on. They make the whole compartment look roomy. Great driving position and correct pedal placement made it a pleasure (with less fatigue) to drive in. The driver is rewarded with an 8-Way Adjustable Power Seat. Both driver and front passenger are protected with Front and Side Airbags. The rear passengers can rest assure they will also be safe with the Side Curtain Airbags installed on each side.

This is the largest Civic to date. There is so much leg and head-room at the rear. It can sit three adults comfortably. This is considered a sleek compact car, right? Your ergonomic design prowess truly amazes me Honda! The Rear 60/40 Folding Seats adds so much versatility to the already huge trunk space. What more can you ask for? Maybe a 3-Point Retractable Seatbelt and Adjustable Headrest for each of the 3 rear passengers? Yes! Yes! Yes! All that, plus ISOFIX  (the international standard for attachment points for child safety seats in passenger cars) as standard features.

The Tilt /Telescopic Steering Wheel did not really grab my attention. It looked like it had control buttons from a Nintendo 64 Game pad. It may look outdated but it was full of functionality. Cruise Control on the right and full Audio / Phone / Connectivity / Info Menu Controls on the left. The Paddle Shifters, just slightly behind two control panels, give you manual-override for the responsive Earth Dreams CVT Transmission.

As soon as you touch the Engine Start/Stop Button, the On-Board-Computer boots-up with a ballet of digital lights, and a well-laid-out LCD instrument panel comes to life. Every information you need such as Audio, Mobile, Connectivity, Fuel Efficiency, Turbo Boost, and a Compass is at your beck and call. It also is in sync with the main NAV reminding you when to turn using arrows and meters to go.

7-inch TFT-LCD Infotainment System Touch Screen seems to project itself out of the center dash. Some may like it flush with the dash, but I like the way it grabs your attention. It is a command center for Audio Connectivity, Smartphone Connection, Bluetooth / WiFi, Internet Browser, Settings, Info, Downloaded Apps, Dual-Zone Climate Control, and Rear Parking Camera. The multi-mode Screen is also used for NAVigation. Its main menu and features are similar in format of the high-end Garmin GPS brand. It's also Apple IOS CarPlay compatible.

I just love the Gadget Storage and Connectivity Tray with 12v Aux Power Outlet which sits below the center console and is hidden from view. A great feature to hide all the wire-spaghetti and gadgets, yet still remotely controllable through the infotainment screen . Use it to connect your smartphone via Bluetooth or USB to play your personal music. Use your phone's mobile data to listen to your favorite online music Apps or radio stations. You can even surf the internet via WiFi, or play downloaded movies via HDMI connection. I converted the 7-inch infotainment screen into a Television by connecting my Digital TV box to the HDMI port. A mecca of endless entertainment possibilities.

Strategically placed on the side of the CVT Shifter Lever are the Brake Hold button, Electronic Parking Brake switch, and the ECON switch. Its got a deep and large center console bin with two cup-holders and a adjustable sliding-armrest. Hidden inside is an Aux USB Charging Port for the rear passengers to use. In total, the Civic has four cup-holders, and four bottle holders.

This car can talk. Its warning system speaks through the audio system. For example, it warns you or your front passenger that your seat belts are unfastened. It keeps on telling you till you give in to its command. Sorry, but I did not wait for it to start yelling at me. I wonder if it would have warned me that my door was ajar, or if the engine was overheating.

The Journey

Starting from Pasay City, my 227 kilometer romantic interlude brings me to Bonoan Binloc, Pangasinan. Located in-between Dagupan City and San Fabian.

In its long stretch of beaches, you will find black sand with some traces of tiny gold bits that find their way from the gold mines of Benguet, through the Cayanga river. Yes, you can go gold panning at the mouth of the river. Did I just start a 21st century gold rush?

It is where you find the best-tasting Bangus in the country. Trivia time: How can you tell a Bonoan bangus from any other bangus? Answer - Its lower tail is shorter than the upper one. They say it is because the bangus from Bonoan drags its tail on the sandy bottom, thus scraping part of its tail.

I drove on high-speed highways, and paved provincial roads all the way to Bonoan, and it was the perfect chance to test the Honda Civic RS Turbo's power and speed. There never was a dull moment behind the wheel of this beautiful car. Under the bonnet is a 1.5 L 4-Cyl DOHC Earth Dreams VTEC Turbo Engine having 173 horses with 216 nm of torque. It was so responsive and quick. Its Turbo kicks in at about 1,700 rpm and that's when this big grin dominates my poker-face. It's like the power was endless. So, confident, I never doubted its ability to overtake on a whim. It just never let me down. I love this car!

It easily did 0-100 km/hr in 7.89secs. You should hear the roar the engine makes when that Turbo pressurizes. Yes, I floored it several times to get me to cloud 9. I'd bet that this car could do more than 180 km/hr without much effort. What made this ride truly magical was its economy...I averaged 21 km/l on my less aggressive drive back home to Manila. Amazing!

Steering it through tight turns was sharp and very responsive. It rides low and grips the corners with smooth cutting accuracy. It is equipped with Vehicle Stabilization Assist, 4-Wheel Disc-Brakes, and ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, thus making it reliable and dependable when you need it most. Also included features are One-Touch Lane Change Signal and Hill-Start Assist.

I drove over a lot of uneven patches of road, and I was pleasantly surprised with its low road noise. Even though it had large 17-inch wheels and tires, it rode pretty smooth, quiet, and comfortable. Honda has put a lot of attention to noise by adding sound deadening sheets underneath the carriage.

This variant has a price tag of  P1,403,000. For an additional P300,000 more than the 1.8L variant, you get thirty-five added horses and a more economical Earth Dreams 1.5 liter VTEC Turbo Engine. You also get Leather Seats with Side and Curtain AirbagsDual Zone Automatic Climate Control, Navigation, 8-Way Powered Driver's Seat, Rain Sensing Wipers, a Rear Spoiler, a Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror, Paddle Shifters, LED Fog lights, Talking Information System, Dual Exhaust Tailpipes, Chrome Door Handles, and of course you finally get the racing red RS and Turbo badges.

Road Monchster's Over-all Rating

This is the 10th Generation Civic. It's the most popular Honda model in the world, and it is back with a vengeance.... a Civic Reborn... larger, faster, sexier, and more economical. No wonder it was chosen as the 2017 Car of the Year by my good friends at Car Awards Group Inc. (CAGI).

In a scale of 1-10, I would rate the Compact 2017 Honda Civic 1.5 L RS Turbo a perfect 10.

More Photos

Turbo Boost Meter


Monch Henares is a tech and motoring specialist, and managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is now based in Manila, Philippines. You may e-mail him at
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