2020 Lexus RC vs. 2020 Honda Civic Si

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/06

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RC have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Honda Civic Si doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RC’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Civic Si doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RC offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Civic Si doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

To help make backing safer, the RC’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The RC’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the RC and the Civic Si have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The Lexus RC weighs 831 to 1002 pounds more than the Honda Civic Si. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

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The RC comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Civic Si’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RC 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Honda covers the Civic Si. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Civic Si ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The RC’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Civic Si’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the RC has a standard 580-amp battery. The Civic Si’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RC’s reliability 33 points higher than the Civic Si.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 40 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Honda is ranked 12th.

Engine

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The RC 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 36 more horsepower (241 vs. 205) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 192) than the Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The RC 300 AWD’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 55 more horsepower (260 vs. 205) and 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 192) than the Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The RC 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 106 more horsepower (311 vs. 205) and 88 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 192) than the Civic Si’s 1.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The RC has 5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Civic Si (17.4 vs. 12.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission and Drivetrain

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The RC has a standard automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. The Civic Si doesn’t offer an automatic transmission.

All wheel drive, available in the RC, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The Honda Civic Si is not available with all wheel drive.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the RC’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Civic Si:

RC

RC F Sport

Civic Si

Front Rotors

13.2 inches

14 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

11.1 inches

The RC’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Civic Si are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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The RC has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Civic Si; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The RC has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Civic Si’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the RC’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Civic Si (107.5 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the RC is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Civic Si.

The RC’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (54% to 46%) than the Civic Si’s (60.3% to 39.7%). This gives the RC more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the RC’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Civic Si’s (34.2 feet vs. 37.8 feet). The RC AWD’s turning circle is 3 feet tighter than the Civic Si’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.8 feet).

Passenger Space

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The RC has 2.5 inches more front headroom, 3.1 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear headroom than the Civic Si Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

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With its coupe body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the RC offers cargo security. The Civic Si’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the RC. The Civic Si doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Servicing Ease

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The RC uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Civic Si uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the RC is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Civic Si. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Honda. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 66% lower rating, Honda is ranked 23rd.

Ergonomics

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The RC has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When three different drivers share the RC, the optional memory system makes it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a memory system.

The RC’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Civic Si doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The RC’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Civic Si does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the RC and the Civic Si have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the RC is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Civic Si prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The RC’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Civic Si’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RC offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Civic Si doesn’t offer headlight washers.

When the RC with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Civic Si’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The RC offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Civic Si offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RC keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Civic Si doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the RC’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Civic Si doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the RC and the Civic Si offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the RC has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Civic Si Sedan doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents and the Civic Coupe has neither.

The RC’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Civic Si’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RC owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RC with a number “3” insurance rate while the Civic Si is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RC is less expensive to operate than the Civic Si because typical repairs cost less on the RC than the Civic Si, including $17 less for a fuel pump.

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