2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Road Test Review

By : Brian Armstead
  Want a Civic but need more functionality? Honda’s been listening and the reborn Civic Hatchback is here, complete with five doors and more eye-catching style than anything else in its class. Available with 1 hatch, 4 doors, 2 engines, 2 transmissions, 3 trims, and loads of standard and optional features including LED headlamps, passive access, pushbutton ignition, TFT gauges, a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, a reverse camera, Garmin navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, 540-watt audio, and active safety galore, you’ve got t.......
                   
                   
   
 
Take a look at the all-new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback, and if you're old enough, you might fondly flashback to the 1970s, when
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
the Civic CVCC first debuted in North America. It was a tiny affair -- dependable transportation for four normal sized adults, and chock full of the latest fuel saving technology that saw the Civic earn 48 mpg on the highway (yes Canada used miles per gallon back then, albeit with smaller imperial gallons).

Given the fact that pre-gasoline crisis of the 1973, gasoline was the equivalent of about 12 cents per litre. Yes, 12 cents. Due to the 1973 oil crisis, consumer demand for fuel-efficient vehicles was high, and leaded fuel was being phased out due to environmental and public health concerns. During this transition, the Civic had a trump card over other vehicles like Ford's Pinto and Chevrolet's Vega. The super efficient "stratified charge" CVCC engine debuted in 1975 and did not require
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
a catalytic converter or unleaded fuel to meet Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards for hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. First-gen Civics also featured a transverse-mounted engine with front-wheel drive (other than the Mini and a few others, very rare technology in the '70s), a fully independent suspension, and a peppy four-cylinder engine.

The fuel-sipping Civic earned its stripes as an urban commuter, though rust issues and safety concerns would ultimately force Honda to address those issues head on.

Travel through the decades that followed
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
the '70s, and the Civic grew in popularity and in size. Each model year the Civic fights for economy car supremacy with the venerable Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla, as well as with upstarts from Mazda, Ford, Chevy, and Kia, amongst other brands. What has remained true over the years is the fact that when you buy a Honda Civic you are purchasing a vehicle that will transport a young (at heart) couple or young family in style and economy, with the added bonus that Honda has paid serious attention to the safety deficit the Civic used to bear. Today, the 10th-generation Civic, as well as Honda products across the board, are among the safest vehicles you can purchase.

So
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
what does Honda offer Civic-wise for 2017? A new Civic Hatchback joins carryover versions of last year's new Civic Sedan and Coupe for a third body style in the Civic lineup. It offers five-door hatchback versatility with superior driving dynamics and Honda's super efficient direct-injected turbo engine technology.

The Civic Hatchback is available in three trims: LX, Sport, and Sport Touring. All models are equipped with a 1.5-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine outputting 174 horsepower in LX trim, and 180 horsepower in the Sport and Sport Touring trims.

The turbo four can be mated to either a six-speed manual or optional Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). In LX trim five-cycle EnerGuide fuel economy
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
ratings of 8.0/6.2/7.2 L/100km (city/highway/combined) for CVT-equipped models, and 7.7/6.0/6.9 for the LX with manual transmission put the five-door Honda Civic Hatchback at the top of its class. The Sport and Sport Touring models equipped with the manual are rated at 7.9/6.6/7.3 L/100km.

Available on LX and Sport trims is the "Honda Sensing" suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning integrated with CMBS, Lane Keeping Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation (RDM), Lane Departure Warning integrated with RDM and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow. Current Honda models are always highly rated in U.S. Government and Insurance Industry crash testing. With this comprehensive suite of safety tech, and with Civic's
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
rigid "ACE" unibody architecture, expect high ratings for all Civic models, including the 2017 Hatchback.

A bit more on ACE, which allows large car crash performance in the smaller Civic footprint. ACE channels frontal crash energy to both upper and lower structural elements, including the floor frame rails, side sills and A-pillars. The ACE structure also features "Crash Stroke" technology. With the Crash Stroke structure, in a frontal collision the lower section of the front vehicle frame hinges to direct the engine down and rearward, helping direct crash energy into the vehicle's floor while also minimizing cabin intrusion. Very impressive.

On the road, the Civic Hatchback really excels. In 1973, Civic sported a then advanced
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
MacPherson front strut/rear tube shock fully independent suspension. Today's Civic Hatchback also features high-tech underpinnings, including a MacPherson strut front suspension, multi-link rear suspension, front and rear sway bars, and variable ratio electric power steering. Power from the 1.5-litre turbo four comes on smoothly and authoritatively, without the sudden rush sometimes associated with on-boost turbocharger performance. And yes, you can feel the difference in horsepower and torque between base and Sport models.

The Civic platform has long been a favourite, and I do mean favourite, for tuners who love Japanese cars. Think of it as a Japanese BMW, which is quite a compliment. It looks great, has awesome road dynamics, has an endless supply of go-fast and handle-well goodies available in
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
the aftermarket, and is a Honda, which means you can purchase this tunable platform without giving up birthrights to your first born.

Don't want to tune your Civic Hatchback or pack it with aftermarket gear? Even straight off your dealer's floor all Honda Civic Hatchbacks come with more than enough "wide smile" features to satiate the appetites of most seeking Civic's near perfect blend of performance, comfort, efficiency and safety.

Step inside and you'll not only be surprised with the amount of room people of all sizes can enjoy, including big fellas, but you'll appreciate the standard content at your disposal,
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
even in base trims. The Civic Hatchback offers as standard or optional all of the latest in-vehicle connectivity technologies. Available features include a seven-inch capacitive touchscreen Display Audio interface with an Android operating system, and an all-new Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System developed in cooperation with Garmin. The Civic Hatchback's Display Audio system is compatible with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms, and provides integration of key smartphone features and functions, including smartphone-powered GPS navigation and voice-controlled search capabilities. Streaming Bluetooth audio, HD Radio, Pandora and available SiriusXM satellite radio are among entertainment options.

Key interior features can include, amongst others, proximity access with pushbutton start, an electromechanical parking brake, an auto-dimming rearview mirror,
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photo: Honda
a seven-inch Driver Information Interface (DII), integrated HVAC controls within the Display Audio touchscreen, driver preference settings, steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters, and multiple stereo choices from 160 watts with four speakers to 540 watts with 12 speakers including subwoofer.

It all comes in very well designed cabin featuring ultra-thin A-pillars for enhanced visibility, up to 2,752 litres (97.2 cu-ft) of cabin space (2,684 litres/94.8 cu-ft with the moonroof), 728 litres (25.7 cu-ft) of cargo volume with rear seats up (640 litres/22.6 cu-ft for the Sport and Sport Touring), and up to a 1,308-litre (46.2 cu-ft) cargo area with the 60/40 split rear seats folded.

The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback does everything well, and provides mini-ute capability with the cargo capacity enhancing hatchback. Fold down the back seats, toss in your bicycle and go! The Civic Hatchback is a complete, very competitive vehicle at a very agreeable price point, starting at $21,390 for the LX with the manual transmission and topping off at $30,690 for the Sport Touring model with the CVT.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)
 
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