Which 2022 Honda Civic should you buy?

When Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) the 2022 Honda Civic last year, it changed the game – not just in the compact sedan segment but the local automotive landscape as a whole.

And that’s not because the Civic was a beautiful machine, nor was it because the popular sedan is the best car on offer today. It’s because HCPI made two things uniform across the range – the Honda Sensing suite of safety features and the turbocharged 1.5-liter engine.

For the first time, you don’t need to go for the top-spec variant to get the best safety features around. You also don’t need to spend so much just to get a Civic with the force-inducted VTEC engine. 

With an almost-even P200,000 difference between the variants, this leads up to the question: which Honda Civic variant should you buy? 

Luckily, I was able to test all three Honda Civic variants (base S, mid V, and top-spec RS) side-by-side to give you a rundown. Hopefully, you’d be able to decide on which one after reading this story.


Safety features and power plants are not the only things common across all three Civic variants. All three variants look similar on the outside during the day, except for their badges and some marginal differences.

The differences are prominent at night. Both the V and the RS are equipped with LEDs all over; the S, on the other hand, makes do with just halogens. That isn’t much of a problem since there are aftermarket solutions if you prefer the white light, with some brands offering a replacement for around P8,000, including a 3-year warranty.

The S and the V are differentiated by their wheels, with the base S equipped with a smaller set of 16-inch alloys wrapped in Dunlop Enasave economy tires. The V gets a beautifully-styled 17-inch set wrapped in Yokohama Decibel tires.

Apart from the red RS badge, the top-spec Civic RS differs from the lower variants with its piano black trims on the side mirrors, trunk spoiler, shark’s fin antenna, and the set of BBS-looking matte black 19-inch rims wrapped in sporty Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires.

If looks are a primary consideration, it’s a tough choice between the S and the V. But if you want to stand out, the sporty Civic RS is a no-brainer.


Again, the S and the V don’t differ much in the interior. They have the same dashboard layout, including the honeycomb design that runs across the fascia. Both have fabric seats with manual adjustments, urethane tillers, and more-than-adequate cabin space that’s expected from a Civic. I appreciate the lack of fingerprint and dust magnet piano-black accents on the center console.

The Civic V, however, has the advantage of having rear A/C vents, a better-sounding eight-speaker infotainment system, and ambient lighting. While all three variants come with huge, expandable trunk space, the S lacks a trunk release button on the outside, which both the V and the RS have on top of the key fob button and customary interior lever.

Speaking of the RS, expect a posher cabin in the top-spec Civic. You’ll get sporty aluminum pedals, while the seats are upholstered in leather with suede inserts and the driver’s seat has electronic adjustments. The steering wheel is also wrapped in leather, while the biggest upgrade is the Bose 12 speakers which provide a superb sound.

The upgrade from S to V is more of functional, especially for the rear passengers, while the move from V to RS is somewhat just an extra but not necessary.

Tech & Safety

As mentioned, the Honda Sensing suite of safety features is available across the range, so you’re pretty much covered on all ends in terms of active and passive safety. However, the Civic RS gets the advantage of having an extra set of curtain airbags, along with a better rear parking camera display due to a bigger touch screen.

Speaking of which, only the Civic RS gets the huge 9-inch touch screen infotainment, while the S and V make do with a 7-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The RS’s infotainment also comes with wireless smartphone mirroring, perfectly partnered with a wireless charging function. The top-spec Civic also comes with dual-zone climate control and a 10.2-inch fully digital instrument cluster with a clear and crisp display. 

All Civic variants come with an electronic parking brake with auto brake hold function – a heaven-sent feature, especially during stop-and-go situations.

The Civic RS gives you the best in terms of tech, but I already appreciate the convenience that the V variant brings to the table.

Driving, Handling, & Riding Comfort

Again, as mentioned, all three Civic variants come with the turbocharged 1.5-liter VTEC inline-four gasoline engine connected to a CVT. Fuel efficiency is similar between the three cars, averaging 9-10 km/l in the city and 17-18 km/l on the highway at an average speed of 90 km/h.

In terms of power delivery, it’s similar between the three variants despite their weight differences. The pull was abrupt and immediate, with the CVT not really acting like a typical, cumbersome CVT. All the more with the RS with its paddle shifters, allowing easier access to “gear” changes, which is very useful on winding roads.

The weight differences, however, were felt in terms of handling. The Civic RS, which was the heaviest of the bunch, felt sharp around the corners, especially with its sticky tires. The Civic V was similar, but the lightest Civic S marginally felt better to throw around the corners. It’s more responsive to inputs and frankly, more fun and peppy on spirited runs.

Cabin noise insulation was remarkable across all three, though it can be noted that tire noise was subtly louder in the Civic S and its econo-tires. The suspension was uniform among the three – pliant and able to absorb road inconsistencies nicely without sacrificing the rigidity you’d want during sporty drives.

If you live in the city and will use the Civic more for commutes to work, the V should already satisfy your senses; the S if you drive like a kid high on sugar. However, the RS is your best bet for provincial roads as you can push it more.

Personal Choice

Before we come down to my preference if I were to choose between the three, let’s discuss the price first. The base 2022 Honda Civic S sells for P1,290,000, while the mid Civic V has an SRP of P1,498,000. The top-spec Civic RS has a sticker price of P1,690,000.

Personally, I would go for the mid Honda Civic V since I live in the city and don’t really need the extra niceties found in the Civic RS. The rear A/C vents are its biggest selling point, at least for me, considering that I have kids who will likely want a cold breeze right through their faces.

But I can’t deny the fact that the Civic RS is a compelling choice, especially the wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless charging combo. The posher cabin was a nice place to be in, as well; I just find its price tag a bit too steep considering that bigger vehicles are already within its price point (hello, CR-V).

Then again, you’ll buy the Civic RS not because you need one or because of sheer logic. You’ll buy one because you want one and you can, and nobody – no, not even your significant other – can fault you for that.

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