2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Driven: A lot more Civic Goodness

Honda Civics used to come in a lot of diverse shapes and sizes, from the stubby little CRX to the tall, four-wheel-drive Civic wagon. But extended ago, the funneling effect of mainstream customer tastes (yet another way to say that we are all sheep) brought on Honda to pare the Civic line to its two most significant sellers, the sedan and the coupe. America even got its own Civic platform, whilst Europe and other overseas markets continued to enjoy a hatchback physique style, which was last seen around these parts as the 2002­­–2005 U.K.-constructed Si.

British Invasion

Nicely, that Anglo-American pipeline is back in organization as Honda’s Swindon, England, assembly plant once once more swings into action to generate a Civic hatchback for America. The return of the hatch as a younger, sportier, and much more male-oriented option to the sedan and coupe was made attainable by last year’s introduction of a widespread Civic platform for all international markets.

Now that there is One particular Civic to Unite Us All, Honda can bring much less-well-known variants to the U.S. much a lot more cheaply. Here, the hatchback, which carries a $ 500-and-up premium more than the sedan, is getting plugged into the compact segment as a way to develop incremental volume—basically, it’s discovered money—and possibly as a way to stanch the outflow of compact-sedan purchasers to crossovers. Honda lastly sees some movement in America’s lengthy-dormant ardor for hatchbacks and is hoping for 40,000 to 50,000 sales per year, a number that would give total Civic volume a healthful bump certainly, assuming they aren’t largely swiped from the Civic sedan and coupe purchaser pool.

A Sedan with a Garage Door in Back

This is not the return of the CVCC or any of the other thrifty hatchback versions of the Civic that have come here over the previous four decades. Along the lines of the Mazda 3 and Ford Concentrate hatchbacks, the new Civic hatchback is generally a sedan with a garage door in back. Except for the roof, rear doors, and rear quarter-panels, all of the outer sheetmetal is in common with the sedan. Inside, the structure was strengthened considerably in back about the large hatch hole to maintain things rigid, but the wheelbase and width are identical, and general length shrinks by just 4.three inches.

The most obvious physical difference, in addition to the lack of a trunk, is the goth black face paint for the exterior trim and the faux duct inserts in the bumpers, which make the hatchback seem much less like a auto and far more like a robot with terminally flared nostrils. As we mentioned, it’s supposed to appeal to youth, who, apparently, want to be seen as possessing a lot of hot gas to expel.

There are two trim-level tracks for the hatch, with the mainstream LX/EX/EX-L with navigation on 1 side and the Sport/Sport Touring on the other. The latter have gauges illuminated in red alternatively of blue, faux-carbon trim, aluminum pedals, and leather wraps for the gearshifter and the steering wheel. Honda’s new and increasingly ubiquitous direct-injection 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (it is in the new CR-V, also, and odds are the Accord will quickly have it) is the sole engine available, but the horsepower output rises from 174 hp in the mainstream models to 180 hp in the Sport. A six-speed manual transmission can be ordered to sub in for the constantly variable automatic (CVT), but only on the base LX and Sport. As soon as again, as on the Civic sedan and the Accord, Honda punishes you for wanting a manual by locking out access to the upper trim-level functions such as navigation and the Honda Sensing suite of electronic security aids. That may be a sacrifice, but it is worth it.

The Sport with a six-speed is a pleasure to drive, the 1.5-liter creating powerful torque across the rev variety (rated peak torque in the manual is slightly higher, at 177 lb-ft, up from 162). The requisite lag and dropoff of an engine pressurized up to 16.five psi have been earnestly, if not perfectly, smoothed more than, and the car goes like a dart. If you want, you can be the quickest car on the freeway, as lengthy as every person else is in ordinary cars, and when the road turns, the Civic likes to play. The grip is tenacious, the brakes are stout, and body motions are properly dampened, just as you’d discover in a Civic sedan or an Accord. The biggest wheels you can get are the Sport and Sport Touring’s 18s, with 235/40 Continental ContiProContact tires—neither the fanciest rubber nor the least expensive, but a solid tire for the hatchback’s modest price point. The sportier tires produce some noise, but for this class of car, it is not excessive.

Because this is essentially a Civic sedan, the controls have the usual Honda delight in their weight and precision, and the gearshifter, if not quite S2000 good quality, slips tightly from gate to gate with a gratifying really feel. Opt for the CVT, and it behaves more or significantly less like a standard step-gear transmission, executing “shifts” in between what seem to be fixed ratios. It’s all a pantomime, but it eliminates the complaint that CVTs make the engine drone endlessly. Most owners will have no clue that it is a CVT, which surely is Honda’s intention.

Open Wide

The hatchback opens wide, and the cargo area is reasonably deep even with the rear seats up, producing just below 26 cubic feet of luggage space (23 cubic feet in the Sport trims). That’s a bit more than in the a lot more wagonoid Mazda 3 hatch. Fold the Civic’s rear seats down, and all trim levels give you 46 cubic feet, about the exact same as the Mazda, which is, let’s face it, the car most likely to be cross-shopped against the Civic hatch. A single novel function in the Civic is its roll-up cargo cover, which comes out of a scroll that can be mounted to the left or appropriate side of the cargo region, per your preference.

The Honda Sensing suite of radar-based security countermeasures, need to you spring for it, brings down to the Civic level a lot of capabilities that formerly have been the domain of luxury vehicles, including automated emergency braking, lane-departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. Currently, costs range from $ 20,535 for the base LX to $ 26,135 for the EX-L with navigation each are on sale already. When the $ 22,135 Sport and loaded Sport Touring arrive in January, the best cost will notch up to just over $ 29,000. The costs closely track these of the more established—and considerably prettier—Mazda three, and that’s probably not by accident.

Honda’s notion of what dudes want in their styling might look a small overwrought to some, and the center-mounted twin exhaust pipes of the Sport and Sport Touring only additional accentuate the race-boy elements that the stylists thought necessary to throw in. Nevertheless, if two giant ducts are very good, 4 aren’t necessarily far better. It seems that the a lot more a automobile proclaims its sportiness with fake racing gear, the significantly less likely it is to be correct. The existing Mazda 3 has a swoopy elegance that strikes us as exhibiting what Honda employed to have: self-assurance. Nonetheless, in spite of the unnecessary theater, the Civic hatchback has the goods and will match up well against the Mazda, 1 of our favorite compacts. That’s as excellent for shoppers as it is for the Civic, and for Honda.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *