2020 Honda Civic 1.8L NA vs 1.5L Turbo, worth paying more for the power?

Shaun · Nov 18, 2020 11:52 AM

The 2020 Honda Civic has two engine options – a 1.8-litre naturally aspirated (NA) engine and a 1.5-litre turbocharged unit. Now, should you pay more to get the turbocharged Honda Civic or go for the cheaper Honda Civic 1.8 S?

Prices without SST for 1.8 S, 1.5 TC, and 1.5 TC-P are RM 109,326, RM 125,081 and RM 134,661 respectively. Valid until 31 December 2020.

The answer is - as is often the case – it depends.

Do you really need the extra power?

If your daily commute involves minimal highway driving and it’s mostly driven around town, then really, the less powerful 1.8-litre NA engine will suffice.

The simple i-VTEC SOHC is a well proven unit, and has been in use for more than 10 years, since the FD generation Civic. Even our own PDRM have elected to use the Civic 1.8 S instead of the turbocharged Civic 1.5 TC-P for their high mileage patrol duties.

And here comes the but, if you’re frequently travelling on highways or you live in a particularly hilly area, then the turbocharged Civic will suit your requirements better. The additional torque makes sustained high speed driving more effortless and overtaking less of a chore.

In terms of maintenance, the Civic 1.8 S will cost you less a tad less to service it. According to Honda Malaysia’s website, it costs RM 226 for regular oil changes and CVT fluid costs RM 127.17. As for the turbocharged Civic, normal service is priced at RM 252.84 and CVT fluid comes in at RM 141.50.

While we haven’t tested the Civic 1.8 S for its fuel consumption, owners have reported fuel consumption figures of around 8-litre/100 km in mixed driving conditions. The Civic 1.5 TC-P we tested returned 7.9-litre/100 km. So, both are actually not far off in terms of fuel consumption.

Let's say more power is needed. Which variant should you go for – 1.5 TC or 1.5 TC-P?

Between the two, we reckon you should go for the range-topping 1.5 TC-P. The Honda Sensing ADAS enables level 2 semi-autonomous driving with the Adaptive Cruise Control and Low Speed Follow, not to mention the added safety of AEB.

Conclusion

The Honda Civic 1.8 S variant gets all the necessary safety features – six airbags, ISOFIX, ESC (VSA), Auto Brake Hold, Hill Start Assist – missing out only on Honda Sensing ADAS and LaneWatch camera. Power is adequate and doesn’t consume significantly more fuel than the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine.

If you don’t require the additional power, the cheaper 1.8-litre naturally aspirated 1.8 S variant is a decent buy and you get to save over RM 25,000.

Of course, if your budget permits and you want the latest and greatest features, then you should go straight for the Honda Civic 1.5 TC-P.

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