Honda Thailand axes Civic RS Turbo, replaces it with Civic RS e:HEV

If you've been holding off on buying that Civic RS Turbo for the past couple of months, you might want to put down a reservation soon because there are some unusual developments over in Thailand.

Honda Thailand has officially discontinued the Civic RS Turbo, and what they will be doing is replacing it with the newly-launched Civic RS e:HEV. First previewed at this year's Bangkok International Motor Show, the electrified sedan is set to go on sale in Thailand this week and will serve as a significant push for Honda's electrification plans in the ASEAN region.

Is Honda axing Civic RS Turbo for RS hybrid? image

Unlike the non-hybrid RS Turbo which has a 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo, the Civic RS e:HEV comes with a 2.0-liter VTEC four-cylinder engine that's helped along by a pair of electric motors that run on lithium-ion batteries. The result is a total system output of 183 PS plus a whopping 315 Nm of torque. Compared to the VTEC Turbo, the hybrid version makes 5 PS more and has an extra 75 Nm of pull.

Some may be wondering why we're writing about the Civic RS Turbo being discontinued in Thailand, and the reason is simple: Thailand produces the Civic RS Turbo for the Philippines. If it is discontinued there, that represents a significant reduction in economies of scale for a particular model, and other smaller markets (e.g. us) could follow suit.

Is Honda axing Civic RS Turbo for RS hybrid? image

For fans of the 1.5 VTEC Turbo, don't worry as Honda is still offering the engine in the lower variants. In Thailand, the turbocharged engine is still available in the entry-level EL and the mid-range EL+ versions. While it may be possible that the Philippines might also stop offering the RS Turbo, it could also mean that the Honda Civic e:HEV is also on the horizon for our market. 

If ever Honda Cars PH does chop the Civic RS Turbo in favor of the Civic RS e:HEV, we're curious as to how they will be able to price it locally. The Civic RS Turbo currently has a sticker price of PHP 1.690 million which already makes it one of the most expensive compact sedans currently on sale along with the Toyota Corolla Altis Hybrid.

Then again, a hybrid does benefit from significantly reduced excise taxes, meaning it could be priced very competitively against Toyota. We'll just have to wait and see what Honda is planning for the Philippine market.