The Honda Civic was first introduced in 1972 as a two-door coupe. Now in its tenth generation, the popular Civic enters 2017 with a sleek new Euro-styled hatchback body to appeal to buyers looking for the practicality of a rear door. It's a segment of the market that is still small, however it's growing more popular.
The 2017 Honda Civic Hatch is available in five trims -- LX, Sport, EX, EX-L Navi, and a new line-topping Sport Touring version -- all with Honda's appealing combination of sporty design, fun-to-drive performance, thrifty fuel economy, interior utility, safety, and premium features. Pricing starts at $19,700 for the LX with six-speed manual transmission, and tops out at $25,300 for the EX-L Navi (plus an $835 destination charge).
The expressive front hood shape resembles the sedan, but that's where the similarities end. The hatchback is 4.4 inches shorter than the sedan with a smaller rear overhang that makes the rear wheels look closer to the car's back end, and it gets a bespoke roof, front/rear fascia, and rear slant-back glass. Black honeycomb plastic inserts adorn the front and rear bumpers, while the chrome grille strip has been replaced by a black version.
Under the hood is a 1.5-liter direct-injected and turbocharged four-cylinder engine with peak outputs of 174 horsepower (in LX, EX, and EX-L Navi trims), and 180 horsepower in the Sport and Sport Touring trims. Power is transferred to the wheels by either a sporty CVT (available on all trims) or a six-speed manual transmission (offered on LX and Sport trims only); Sport Touring CVT models benefit from steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. EPA fuel economy is rated at 31 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 34 mpg (for LX, EX, and EX-L Navi w/CVT; other models drop slightly).
Inside, the versatile hatch delivers class-leading volume and cargo capacity, with a roomy 97.2-cu.-ft. interior, 36 inches of rear seat legroom, and as much as 25.7 cu.-ft. of storage behind the rear seats. That number jumps to 46.2 cu. ft. with the 60/40-split rear seats folded, giving it the largest available cargo carrying capacity among its competition, which includes the Ford Focus, Mazda3, and Volkswagen Golf.
Cargo space is what sets the hatchback apart from other small car models, says senior product planner Rob Keough. "Hatchback buyers are looking for an alternative to a CUV that allows the room to carry along DIY projects, sports equipment, or a weekend's worth of camping gear in a sporty package," he explains.
White ambient lighting and multi-angle rearview camera are standard across all trims. The LX and Sport trim levels have keyed ignitions; all others have push-button and, when equipped with CVT, remote start. Available features include Honda Display Audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (standard on EX and above trims), heated seats, power driver and front-passenger seats, remote engine start, and other premium features.
Standard on Sport Touring models is the comprehensive Honda Sensing tech package to add collision mitigation braking, forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control; it's a $1,000 option on other trims.
We recently drove the new Civic Hatch Sport Touring and LX models on a 100-mile ride-and-drive event from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. A stablemate to the best-selling four-door Civic, it's dressed in a manner similar to its sibling outside -- save for a few changes -- and feels entirely like the Civic once onboard, including its quietness.
We were impressed with the smooth-shifting CVT and loved the manual transmission as well, finding ample power to move quickly when needed in city traffic and along bustling freeways. We also liked the steering and suspension that proved competent when on a series of tight and twisty two-lanes in a picturesque swath of the Pacific Coast mountains. The top-of-the-line Sport Touring gets a power boost, a few unique styling touches outside and in, 18-inch wheels and dual exhaust pipes, and more uplevel content. Of note, the Hatch can carry a bike with the rear seat folded.
The Civic Hatchback has earned a 5-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and is anticipated to earn a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when equipped with Honda Sensing.
Copyright © 2016 Motor Matters
|Base price||$28,300 (as tested: $29,135)|
|Curb weight||3,003 lbs.|
|Engine type||16-valve single scroll turbo 4-cyl.|
|Epa mileage rating||31 mpg city, 40 mpg highway|
|Fuel capacity||12.4 gal.|
|Horsepower (net)||180 at 6000 rpm|
|Overall length||177.9 in.|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||162 at 1700-5500 rpm|
|Vehicle type||5-passenger FWD compact hatchback|
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