Civic brings back the hatch
The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback brings back the model that set the stage for the brand’s 18 years as the best selling car in Canada.
THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: Amazing amount of cargo volume with good fuel consumption and stout Honda built quality.
- What’s Worst: Honda Sensing should be standard on a car at this price range.
- What’s Interesting: Civic is being spun out to five different models from mild to wild.
With its 2017 Hatchback, Civic continues a product offensive that will eventually see five different models to choose from on Canadian Honda dealership floors.
The Hatchback joins the Sedan and Coupe and will be followed soon by a higher performance Si and the first-ever Civic Type-R model offered in Canada.
Now in its 10th generation, Civic and the VW Golf really kicked off the hatchback in this country and it has never looked back, being the best selling car heading into its 18th straight year.
The difference with the Hatchback is it’s seen by Honda as approaching the near-luxury segment, an arena that Canadians are increasingly being drawn to particularly when it comes to compact CUVs.
Also Read: VW Golf offers comfort in a reliable hatch
As I noted when I drove the Coupe recently on these pages, Civic got to where it is by being tough, frugal and dependable but also a bit on the drab side when it came to styling and finish.
Basic used to be good, but not anymore — when you look at how Hyundai and Kia in particular (just named best overall in the U.S. J.D. Power satisfaction survey) have upped the content and looks game. Honda has taken notice.
Of course, the hatchback name of the game is cargo volume. When it comes to looks, the Hatchback gives an extra injection of the new styling language with bold character lines with over-the-top faux air ducts up front and air extractor inserts at the rear.
There is a double spoiler at the rear, one at the top of the liftgate and another at the rear beltline. The rear window extends below the mid-spoiler for a better review and a rear-view camera is standard with a moving grid.
Open the liftgate and it is huge back there with 727.7 litres behind the 60/40 split/fold seat and 1,308.2 litres folded. Bonus is a full spare below the cargo door, which is a major buying decision for me.
And thank you Honda for installing a full spare, not a dinky or ludicrous inflator kit.
Also Read: Scion goes mainstream with 2016 iM hatch
There are three trim levels, beginning with the LX with a starting price of $21,390 followed by the Sport starting at $25,190 and the Sport Touring at $29,390.
The Hatchback is available with its new top engine, a 1.5-litre twin turbo direct injection inline four-cylinder driving the front wheels through a standard six-speed manual or optional CVT transmission.
Interestingly, the 1.5-litre produces 174 hp on the base LX and 180 hp on the mid-trim Sport and topline Sport Touring with either the manual or CVT. Torque is the same 162 lb/ft on all three CVTs. With the manuals it is 167 lb/ft on the LX and 177 lb/ft on the Sport/Sport Touring only because regular fuel is recommended on the LX and premium on the other two.
Tested here is an LX with CVT that comes pretty well equipped with seven-inch touchscreen, eight-speaker/180 watt sound system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control, heated front seats, Bluetooth and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Optional, and well worth the expense, is the Honda Sensing suite of safety aids that includes Adaptive Cruse Control, Low Speed Follow (LSF), CMBS Sensing (Car and Pedestrian), Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS), Road Departure Mitigation (RDM) and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Lane Departure Warning (LDW).
Not available on the LX but fitted to the Sport/Sport Touring is Honda’s innovative LaneWatch. It has a camera on the underside of the passenger outdoor window that turns on the centre stack monitor when the right turn signal is turned on, giving a tremendous view of what is on the right — great for passing.
All hatchbacks have an Econ Mode activated by a button on the centre console that changes things such as the shift points to improve on the already good fuel economy.
Also Read: Chevrolet hatches a new Cruze model
You notice it most when, on the highway at speed, you hit the button and you’ll feel the hatch noticeably slow. The reverse is true if you switch out of Econ.
Compared to the new Coupe I drove few weeks ago, the Hatchback seemed somehow bigger on the inside, maybe because of the higher roofline.
Taking a friend out for an afternoon ride in the last balmy days of fall was super enjoyable with leaves swirling across the roadway.
The feel through the steering wheel is very “Euro” being taut and responsive.
I was in Econ all the way, so passing made the 1.5-litre engine work for it. I should have switched into normal mode but I just forgot.
The only other thing out of the ordinary was a rushing wind sound from behind my head at highway speed. My friend, a former auto writer, surmised it was probably the double spoilers doing their thing, which makes sense.
When you get down to it, with 1,308 litres of cargo room and seating for five, the new Hatchback offers everything a compact CUV has, but without the higher price.
Also Read: Civic Type R bows at SEMA
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
BODY STYLE: Compact five-door hatchback.
DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, standard six-speed manual or optional CVT with paddle shifters
ENGINE: LX, 1.5-litre DOHC direct injection turbo four-cylinder, (174 hp, 162 lb/ft), Sport and Sport Touring, 1.5-litre direct injection turbo (177 hp, 162 lb/ft).
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) Manual 8.0/6.2/7.2L/100 km city/highway; (Premium recommended) LX CVT, 7.7/6.0/6.9L/100 km; Sport/Sport Touring CVT, 7.9/6.6/7.3
CARGO: 727.7 litres behind rear 60/40 seat, 1,308.2 litres, seat folded
TOW RATING: Not recommended
PRICE: LX manual/CVT, $21,390/$22,690 (Honda Sensing, $1,000); Sport, $25,190/$27,490; Sport Touring, $29,390/$30,690
WEB SITE: www.honda.ca