Even though the hatch lives within the Civic family, it stands out with an individual personality.
MUSKOKA, ON – The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback has landed and Civic fans are going nuts. Being the tenth generation of one of the most notable cars in the world, the Civic is returning to its roots with the return of the hatchback. Honda Canada invited select members of the media to join them in the first media launch in the world. We are among the lucky few members of the press that will experience Honda’s newest family member.
The new hatchback stands as the third body style within the Civic lineup, behind the standard sedan, and sporty two-door coupe (reviewed here). The Si and Type-R are to be released in the near future, which will then complete the Civic lineup – don’t get too excited, as that is the only information regarding the two performance models. The hatch is targeted to entertain customers who seek versatility in their vehicle of choice. Prospective buyers are described as living an active, sociable lifestyle. They look for a vehicle that’s nimble, but offers a generous amount of space for all of life’s little adventures. Remember, the Civic is the highest selling vehicle in Canada ever, and one of the world’s best-selling cars, being the recipient of many awards over the years.
Even though the hatch lives within the Civic family, it stands out with an individual personality with the help of distinctive design elements. The front fascia for instance, boasts much more aggressive vents, and a blacked-out signature grille. The hood curves down more towards the bumper, giving the hatch a much lower, and wider looking stance at the front, resulting in a sportier look. The hatchback happens to be 135mm shorter than the sedan, even though both cars have the same wheelbase. Height between the two vehicles remains near identical as well, with the hatch being a mere 13mm taller at its highest point on the roof. To add to the car’s sporty appeal, Sport and Sport Touring models get a centre-exit exhaust on the rear bumper.
Even though this car is shorter than the sedan, cargo space is anything but disappointing. With a total of 728L of space in the boot, the hatch once again leads the pack in cargo space by a significant margin. The Ford Focus (reviewed here) follows in second with 674L, and then the Volkswagen Golf with 646L. The Civic’s 728L translates to either four 25”x21” suitcases or three full-size golf bags; pretty impressive considering this is still a compact car. The engineers at Honda have also crafted a unique privacy cover that expands from left-to-right, or vice versa, as opposed to the stands front-to-back covers. By adopting this side-to-side concept, it eliminated the need for a bulky bar that stores the cover when not in use. To increase storage space beyond the confines of the trunk, the back seats offer a 60/40 split folding capability.
Three trims will be offered in hatchback form; LX, Sport, and Sport Touring. Starting with the LX, the base price is $21,390 with a six-speed manual transmission. Opting for the CVT (which most buyers will want) ups the price to $22,690, and ticking off the Honda Sensing safety tech will cost $23,690. The Sport Touring starts at $25,190 with the manual transmission, and $27,490 for the CVT with Honda Sensing. Last but not least, the top of the line Sport Touring costs a whopping $29,390 for the stick-shift, and the automatic CVT with Honda Sensing breaks through the $30K barrier with a price of $30,690.
As expected, the interior is unchanged from the rest of the Civic lineup, with great use of materials throughout. In typical Honda fashion, the fit and finish is excellent, and space management is also on point. The LX and Sport models get cloth upholstery, while the Sport Touring, as expected, gets leather. Sport and Sport Touring trims get leather-wrapped interior panels and faux-carbon fiber inlays strategically placed throughout the cabin.
The same engine will be utilized across the board for the hatchback, which is big news. The 1.5L turbocharged inline four-cylinder that debuted on the Civic last year, is back. With 174 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque, the engine itself is now old news, but the hatchback marks the first implementation of this motor with the manual transmission! The Sport and Sport Touring models boost power to 180, and 177 lb-ft of torque. These are marginal gains, but a pleasant bump nonetheless.
LX models with the six-speed manual transmission are rated at 8.0L/100km city, 6.2L/100km highway, and 7.2L/100km combined, while the CVT sees 7.7, 6.0, and 6.9, respectively. The slightly sportier tune in the Sport and Sport Touring worsen fuel economy marginally, but the performance gain more than makes up for this. It’s also worth mentioning that while the LX gets regular fuel, the sportier variants require premium 91-octane.
Our route consisted of winding bends covered in the falling leaves, surrounded by the changing colours of the autumn season, and hundreds of kilometers of some of the best roads Ontario has to offer. As expected, this new variant of the Civic drove nicely, with delightful steering response and a punchy powertrain. Ride quality is also good, and the Civic does not disappoint in any regard. If the Sport Touring is this good, I can’t wait to see how the Si turns out.
The route that was taken to reach our lakeside destination stands as a perfect representative of what this car is; a spirited road filled with colour and adventure, waiting to be explored with utmost enjoyment. It may not be the conventional route, but it’s certainly one that will make you grin. The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback certainly is the new pride of Civic Nation.
First Drive: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Gallery