2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Review Dec 28, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
For the first time in more than eleven years, there will be a new Honda Civic Hatchback in 2017. It’s been even longer than that since the Civic offered a five-door hatchback. The most recent ones had been three-door hatchbacks, which have all but disappeared from the market. The latest edition will be an improvement over other five-door hatchbacks that have had their share of issues over the years.
Styling and Trim
The Civic Hatchback has similar styling to the sedan and coupe with bolder lines, thin lights, and tight curves. With a 106-inch wheelbase, the Hatchback is more than 4 inches shorter than the Civic Sedan. The car will be offered in five trim levels: the LX, Sport, EX, EX-L, Navi, and the top-of-the-line Sport Touring. The Sport and Sport Touring trims boast the most horsepower; however, the difference is barely noticeable between the various trims. The base Civic Hatchback weighs in at 2,815 pounds while the fully loaded Sport Touring tips the scales at 3,003 pounds. The comparable Civic Sedan comes in some eighty to 115 pounds lighter, but the Hatchback is lighter than most of its competitors.
The new hatchback sports the same 1.5-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine under the hood as the Civic Sedan and Coupe. The Honda Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) pairs with that engine, as does a six-speed manual transmission on the Sport and LX trims. The Sport and Sport Touring models top out at 180 horsepower, while the other trims ring in at 174 horsepower. In a test drive down the curvy and mountainous roads between San Francisco and Monterey, California, the Sport and the Sport Touring both handled well, feeling stable and lightweight.
The six-speed manual transmission may be the preferred option for those who only want the base trim, or for those who live on twisting roads—or just live to drive. While the CVT does feature a “manual” mode that allows you to paddle-shift through the gears, the throttle response and engine braking are still stranger than normal on the CVT. The six-speed manual provides the most control and driving feel. At the same time, the six-speed is not without its issues. When you shift near redline, removing your foot from the gas feed and clutching, the engine occasionally surges.
According to Honda, the Civic Hatchback features a unique steering tuning with decreased large-angle assist and an increase in the on-center boost. 18-inch wheels on the Sport and Sport Touring trims hold 236/40 tires. The trunk has 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space (more than the competing Volkswagen Golf), folding rear seats, and a sliding cargo cover. There is also an available Honda Sensing safety suite on upper trims.
The Honda Civic offers a solid five-door hatchback at a reasonable price. You’ll find the Civic LX at a starting MSRP of $19,700. The Sport trim starts at $21,300, while the Sport Touring trim comes in at $28,300. If you choose the CVT in the LX or Sport model, expect to shell out another $800. But if you enjoy modestly sporty driving, the base Civic Hatchback LX provides a fun and responsive drive on a budget.