2019 Honda Civic Si vs. 2018 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the Civic Si deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The Civic Si’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The RC’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the Civic Si and the RC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.


There are over 4 times as many Honda dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Civic Si’s warranty.


A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Civic Si’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC 300’s camshafts. If the RC’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Civic Si uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The RC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Civic Si has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The RC doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


The Civic Si offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The Civic Si stops much shorter than the RC:


Civic Si



70 to 0 MPH

159 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The Civic Si’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RC’s standard 45 series tires. The Civic Si’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the RC’s optional 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Civic Si’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The RC doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Civic Si Coupe handles at .97 G’s, while the RC 350 pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.


The Honda Civic Si may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 850 to 1000 pounds less than the Lexus RC.

The Civic Si Coupe is 7.4 inches shorter than the RC, making the Civic Si easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Civic Si Coupe a Compact car, while the RC is rated a Subcompact.

The Civic Si has standard seating for 5 passengers; the RC can only carry 4.

The Civic Si Coupe has 4.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RC (88.6 vs. 83.8).

The Civic Si Coupe has .2 inches more front hip room, 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, 8.6 inches more rear legroom, 3.2 inches more rear hip room and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC.

Cargo Capacity

The Civic Si Coupe has a much larger trunk than the RC (11.9 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The Civic Si has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RC doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Model Availability

The Honda Civic Si comes in coupe and sedan bodystyles; the Lexus RC isn’t available as a sedan.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Civic Si owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Civic Si will cost $1375 to $4745 less than the RC over a five-year period.

The Civic Si will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Civic Si will retain 52.64% to 54.77% of its original price after five years, while the RC only retains 48.32% to 49.27%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Civic Si is less expensive to operate than the RC because it costs $378 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Civic Si than the RC, including $335 less for a water pump, $118 less for a muffler, $5 less for front brake pads, $179 less for a starter, $379 less for fuel injection, $97 less for front struts, $780 less for a timing belt/chain and $998 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Honda Civic Si will be $15884 to $21734 less than for the Lexus RC.


The Civic Si was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2018. The RC has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Civic was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 2 of the last 22 years. The RC has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Civic as the 2016 North American Car of the Year. The RC has never been chosen.

The Honda Civic outsold the Lexus RC by almost 71 to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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