The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback is a sporty new member of the Civic family [Test Drive]

Honda Civic Hatchback LSF

There’s a new kid on the block, in the form of the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback. The sporty hatchback joins this year’s tenth-generation Civic Sedan and Coupe body styles as the third member of the family.


The new hatchback is built on the same global platform as the Civic Sedan and Coupe, and it will be offered in five levels of trim, displaying Euro-inspired design cues, serving up a winning combination of sporty styling, operating efficiency, added versatility and functionality along with premium features. The base model or trim level is the LX, followed by the Sport, EX, EX-L Navi and top-of-the-line Sport Touring.

All Honda Civic Hatchback models will be powered by a 1.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, direct-injected and turbocharged in-line four-cylinder engine that delivers 174 horsepower in LX, EX and EX-L Navi models, and 180 horsepower in both the Sport and Sport Touring rides, which feature a center-mounted dual exhaust system. All models, while based on the 10th generation platform architecture, feature a chassis that is specially tuned and adapted to fit their role as an athletic, versatile vehicle that’s great fun to drive.

The suspension componentry consists of a MacPherson strut setup forward and a multi-link affair aft utilizing specially-tuned low-friction dampers and a tubular stabilizer bar in front that’s upgraded from the Civic sedan and a solid rear stabilizer bar. This arrangement serves up crisper turn-in along with flatter cornering ability. Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system with Brake Assist add to the Hatchback’s stability and capability.

A Straight Driving Assist feature reduces steering effort on sloped or crowned roads, while Agile Handling Assist utilizes the braking system to improve both turning response and cornering ability. An Electric Parking Brake, Automatic Brake Hold and Hill Start Assist add significantly to safety and convenience in traffic or on hills. The Civic Hatchback also comes with an indirect Tire Pressure Monitoring System which uses the ABS sensors and advanced software to detect low tire pressure.

All Civic Hatchback trims feature aluminum alloy wheels as standard fare, with diameters ranging from 16 inches on the LX trim to 17 inches on the EX and 18 inches on the Sport and Sport Touring.

An electric power steering system incorporates dual pinion gears and a variable gear ratio for steering feel, performance and comfort that is class leading. Compared to a traditional single-pinion steering system, the dual pinion EPS utilizes the physical steering input from the driver as well as from a supplemental electric motor. A non-contact torque sensor measures the driver’s steering effort and an ECU determines how much electric motor assist to add, with the result being a seamless, natural-feeling steering in all situations.

In terms of its design appeal, the new Honda Civic Hatchback shares its front-end styling and wheelbase with the current Civic Sedan, but from the B-pillars back it is totally unique. The rear roofline is taller than the Sedan’s providing class-leading cargo space, while the rear overhang is shorter, which adds to the its Euro-style sportiness.

The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback displays an ideal balance of form and function, utility and athleticism, perfectly complementing the current Sedan and Coupe body styles for Honda. Up front, the chiseled appearance is capped with Honda’s distinctive “wing” fascia and premium LED lighting (including available LED in-line headlights and integrated side-mirror mounted turn indicators on the Sport Touring trim). Fog lights are included on all but the base LX model.

With its long wheelbase, flowing roofline, decisive body-side character lines and short front and rear overhangs, the Civic Hatchback’s profile is purposeful and powerful, sporty and innovative. Stainless steel side window trim (black on Sport trims) and the three alloy-wheel choices, from 16 to 18 inches in diameter – the largest ever available on a Civic (excluding Si models) – contribute to the sporty image.

In back, the Civic Hatchback showcases its own interpretation of Honda’s characteristic LED “light pipe” taillights, a substantial flush-mounted rear window, and a spoiler mounted just above the window. On the Sport Touring trim, an additional rear lip spoiler rides just above the tailgate. The large tailgate is sized to allow easy loading of personal activity gear.

Inside, the new Honda Civic Hatchback delivers Honda’s latest advances in spaciousness, appealing design, comfortable fit and intuitive controls. In addition, its hatchback design gives it class-leading sedan-style passenger comfort coupled with added utility and versatility, making it an ideal fit for active lifestyles.

It offers the latest in-vehicle connectivity and audio performance with a new generation of advanced technologies. Available features include a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio interface with Android operating system, and an all-new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System developed in cooperation with the experts at Garmin.

The Civic Hatchback’s Display Audio system is compatible with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms, giving customers seamless integration of key smartphone features and functions, including smartphone-powered GPS navigation and voice-controlled search capabilities. Featuring standard Pandora compatibility, streaming Bluetooth audio and other content choices, including available SiriusXM, the Civic Hatchback offers a wide selection of entertainment options.

There’s room for five with gear, and the 60/40 rear seat folds flat for added versatility and functionality.

The retractable tonneau cover of the Civic Hatchback extends from side to side instead of front to rear. The tonneau operation may be set from left to right or right to left, simply by removing the tonneau cover assembly and reinstalling it on the opposite side of the cargo area, which takes only a few seconds, with no tools required.

My driving partner and I were able to experience both the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport and Sport Touring models – both with Rallye Red exterior finishes and black interiors. The Sport model hatch was equipped with the 6-speed manual gearbox, while the Sport Touring version came with the CVT and paddle shifters. The base price for the Sport was set at $21,300 which came to an as-tested price of $22,135. The Sport Touring started out at $28,300 and finished at $29,135.

Not only is the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback easy on the eyes and easy on one’s wallet, it’s also emotionally stirring and a blast to drive especially with the short-throw manual gearbox. The CVT performs admirably as well with stepped advances simulating gear changes that are appropriate for engine revs.

Seating is comfortable and supportive and the ride quality is firm, but extremely compliant. Handling characteristics are crisp and precise and the Civic hatch stays planted and stable even when prodded with gusto over a twisty course.

This newest member of the Civic family is loaded with so many features and such a high level of technology, that space here doesn’t permit listing all of the advantages that are offered, let alone explaining them in depth. The Honda Sensing suite alone provides a myriad of driver assistance features that come as standard fare on the Sport Touring trim level.

Bottom line, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring delivers a high degree of functionality in a sporty compact package designed for both practicality and an elevated fun-to-drive factor. If more sportiness is desired, coming soon will be two more new kids on the block – the Honda Civic Si and Type R.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Specifications

Base Price: $21,300 (Sport), $28,300 (Sport Touring)
Price As Tested: $22,135 (Sport), $29,135 (Sport Touring)
Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
Horsepower: 180 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 162 lb-ft @ 1,700-5,500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual (Sport), CVT (Sport Touring)
Drivetrain: Front engine/front drive
EPA fuel mileage: 30 mpg city/36 mpg highway
Fuel capacity: 12.39 gallons
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length: 177.9 inches
Width: 70.8 inches
Height: 56.5 inches
Curb Weight: 2,970 lbs