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The five-door Honda Civic RS hatch – subtle sports performance with a suite of new safety features

Talking about the updated Honda Civic five-door hatch. The two 1.5-litre turbo mid-range Civic models now getting Honda Sensing as standard, a suite of intelligent driver assist and active safety technologies, previously only available on the top spec VTi-LX. I tested the Civic RS – now $1,200 dearer at $33,540 – A well rounded package from a performance and package sense, available in a rather appealing one off colour of pearlescent Phoenix Orange matched to black 18-inch alloy wheels – inside 10-way power leather seats with red stitching. The CVT transmission with a sports mode now improved, benefits from manual paddle shifters – but whilst the Civic RS has sporty pretensions its not a boy racer and can be driven in a leisurely way.

Ride quality a high point while the only performance negative was the rather jumpy nature of the cruise control at times. Honda disappointingly skimp on seat height adjustment on the passenger seat which is a real minus this aside the styling, comfort, safety and convenience features are a real benefit As I said yesterday Honda Australia intends to drastically reduce its dealer network over the next 15 months and from July next year will concentrate on three core models the CR-V and HR-V SUVs and the small Civic sedan and hatch range. The Jazz and City models will be dropped, Honda adopting a one price-no haggle system across all outlets.

I’m David Berthon

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