Published on October 15th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Honda Civic e:HEV RS With 315Nm Test Drive At Sepang Circuit
This Civic e:HEV RS targets European rivals costing RM50k more.
We are quite sure Honda Japan management have been looking at how the European car manufacturers have been able to price their basic sedans so much higher than equivalent Honda models and still command good sales numbers.
It is called badge snobbery. Meanwhile, this latest Civic has arrived and it is taking the segment with strong sales numbers, but there is still a sizable selling price gap.
Launched in January 2022, this 11th generation Civic was offered in three variants. Prices start from RM125,634.64 for the E variant and the V variant is priced at RM138,043.36.
Meanwhile, Honda customers can buy the high specification 1.5L RS variant at the price of just RM144,350.09 which is still much lower than the German rivals with 3-cylinder engines.
Now comes another variant, the Civic e:HEV RS which we were allowed to exploit around the Sepang Circuit two weeks ago and there is no information yet on its selling price but we are guessing a selling price of around RM168,888 when it is launched before Christmas this year.
Honda’s proven e:HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) powertrain technology is offered in this latest variant which sees the deployment of a new 72-cell lithium-ion battery and two compact, yet powerful electric motors paired with a newly developed 2.0-litre direct-injection, Atkinson-cycle engine.
Yes, this is a new powertrain combination as the HR-V and City e:HEV variants use a 1.5L engine.
This new powertrain delivers a maximum output of 185PS and 315Nm of torque. This latest Honda internal combustion engine (ICE) has several new elements within its architecture to help achieve a thermal efficiency of 41 percent, one of the highest figures within the automotive industry for a production road car.
The two powerful electric motors work together to provide the primary drive force for this Civic. The engine is controlled by a new, compact Power Control unit which now sits under the bonnet with the rest of the powertrain.
Sitting under the rear seats is the latest version of Honda’s Intelligent Power Unit and whilst smaller and lighter, it benefits from an increased energy density.
This system delivers a feeling of instant torque and powerful acceleration whilst still offering outstanding fuel efficiency.
This advanced powertrain is capable of shifting seamlessly between EV, Hybrid and Engine drive with no input from the driver.
There are 4 drive modes – Eco, Normal, Sport and a new Individual mode, which allows separate control of the engine, transmission and cluster gauge display and can be selected by the driver to tailor the vehicle response as required.
Central to the e:HEV system is the fixed gear system which has been designed to minimise mechanical friction and is controlled by an intelligent power control unit, which optimises the vehicle to each driving situation.
The e:HEV Civic sips just 5 litres of fuel for every 100km driven in WLTP testing (perfect driving conditions).
e:HEV Sepang circuit drive
Careful attention has also been paid to the drivetrain and noise management to create a premium, well insulated, calming cabin environment, whilst enhancing the overall vehicle driveability.
Since its launch in 1972, the Civic has sold more than 27.5 million units across 170 countries.
Step inside this Civic and you will be greeted with a high quality looking cabin with typical Honda quality materials and finishing in all areas. The seats are well bolstered for all sized drivers. The rear seats offer comfort for 3 adults and even with the sloping roofline.
Start the engine with ‘push’ of a button and it is whisper quiet as the petrol engine is not used, just the battery system. Accelerate hard and then the petrol engine fires up with little audio notes as the cabin is well insulated.
Outward vision is good and you sit low and in a sporty position almost like in a sports car. Drive this Civic with average speed and you will quickly appreciate its ride comfort.
Interestingly as you build up speed, there is little noise that enters the cabin and only when you go past 5,000 rpm the engine note gets ‘raspy’. We speed up to illegal speeds and the cabin remains quiet as very little wind and road noise travel into the cabin.
This new engine does not feel lethargic or in need of more power. It delivers in spades around the circuit for its segment.
Straight line speed is very impressive and will reach 180km/h very quickly. Honda chassis experts have chiselled out the driving experience with this Civic with the same passion and uncompromising approach that characterized the development of all their new vehicles.
The launch will be before Christmas and we are sure it will be another best seller for Honda whilst closing the gap with its 3-cylinder European rivals.