2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Review

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 17 years since a hatchback version of the Honda Civic was last sold in North America.

Sure, there was Honda’s half-hearted attempt at reviving the beloved bodystyle in the early 2000s with the niche three-door Civic Si, but even that was discontinued more than a decade ago, leaving a huge gap in the automaker’s lineup. But Honda is ready to make up for lost time with an all-new Civic hatch aimed at fun and function.

Finally a Five-Door

In bringing the Civic hatch back to North American shores, Honda has cranked up the car’s practicality with the addition of two rear doors. It rides on the same platform as the sedan and coupe models, but measures about 4.5 inches (114 millimeters) shorter than both, giving the Civic hatch a sportier stance than its stablemates thanks to wheels that sit closer to the corners. Matching that athletic posture is a new design from the B-pillar back that is almost coupe-like in execution, as well as a slightly revised front fascia that includes a black grille with larger openings, and larger bumper inserts front and back.

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ALSO SEE: 2016 Chevrolet Cruze Review

Despite the abbreviated proportions, the Civic hatch weighs 2,815 lb (1,277 kg) in base trim, and 3,003 lb (1,362 kg) in loaded Sport Touring guise — as much as 100 lb (45 kg) more than equivalent sedan models thanks to the added heft of the tailgate. Lift the tailgate, however, and the weight gains are quickly forgiven, with the car boasting what is easily one of the largest cargo holds in its class. With 25.7 cu-ft (728 liters) of space behind the rear seats, the Civic hatch offers more cargo-carrying ability than hatchback versions of the Mazda3 (20.2 cu-ft, 572 liters), Chevrolet Cruze (22.7 cu-ft, 643 liters) and Ford Focus (23.3 cu-ft, 660 liters). It’s only with the rear seats folded that the Honda is surpassed, with the Mazda3 (47.1 cu-ft, 1,334 liters) and Cruze hatch (47.2 cu-ft, 1,337 liters) besting the Civic (46.2 cu-ft, 1,308 liters) in terms of volume.

When the rear seats are up, the Civic hatch also benefits from an industry-first rear privacy cover that rolls out from the side, saving space by staying tucked out of the way until it’s needed. This is one of the neatest interior features of the car, and has the ability to be mounted on the left or right, with no need to remove it when the seats are folded.

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Turbo Time

Unlike the Civic sedan and coupe, which get the choice of naturally aspirated 2.0-liter or turbocharged 1.5-liter engines, the hatchback relies on the latter across its trim range. More importantly, though, a manual gearbox can finally be paired with the forced-induction four-cylinder, a welcome addition to what has quickly proven itself an impressive engine.

Output varies slightly depending on trim, with 174 horsepower on tap to go along with 162 lb-ft of torque in cars equipped with the continuously variable transmission, or 167 lb-ft of torque with the six-speed manual. Sport models, meanwhile, get a slight bump to 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque (the same 162 lb-ft is on tap with the CVT). With the first batch of cars only recently making landfall on this side of the Atlantic, only the base LX model was available on our two-day test. Regardless, the combination of the 1.5-liter with a six-speed manual was worth the wait, providing a level of fun the turbocharged Civic has been lacking since its launch.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Honda Civic LX Review

The clutch is light and easy to modulate, while the shifter might be lightest on the market, and slots into its gates with little effort. Playing the two-step takes a little getting used to, with the clutch and throttle a little tricky to balance at first, but once you get the hang of it the setup can be appreciated by novice and veteran manual drivers alike.

With the full breadth of the engine’s torque coming online at 1,800 rpm, turbo lag doesn’t last long before boost kicks, while all 177 lb-ft sticks around until 5,500 rpm for your driving pleasure. Winding the engine out above 4,000 rpm can sound like it’s putting strain on the engine but it certainly doesn’t feel that way, with throttle response only dropping off as it approaches the 6,500 rpm redline.

As expected, the Civic’s continuously variable transmission displays a moderate amount of the rubber band effect typical when the pedal is pressed hard, but quiets down when cruising. The opposite was true of the manual, which displayed a tendency to rev high at highway speeds, spinning at 2,900 rpm at 75 mph (120 km/h). It didn’t, however, seem to impact fuel economy much. With more than 300 miles of driving split evenly between both transmissions, the Civic hatch managed an impressive 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) of combined driving with the CVT and 38 mpg (6.2 L/100 km) with the manual between the seats, both of which are close to the car’s highway fuel economy ratings. While far from an accurate sample size, those numbers were achieved over a mix of highway and in-town driving, as well as more spirited driving on quiet backroads.

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Sporty and Smooth

Driving the twisting roads of Ontario’s cottage country put the Civic hatchback’s taut chassis to the test and it responded well, behaving more like the coupe than the sedan. The brake-based torque vectoring system, which is featured throughout the Civic lineup, successfully quelled much of the understeer typical of a front-driven car, helping pull the car towards to the inside of the tree-lined chicanes and esses.

Steering feel is still a little numb, but the variable-ratio setup helps tighten it up as the car reaches higher speeds and responds well to input.

ALSO SEE: 2016 Honda Civic Coupe Review

Despite its playfulness when pushed, the Civic hatch offers the same upscale cruising ability noted in the Civic sedan. The suspension soaks up uneven pavement with the same cool confidence as the sedan model, providing a ride worthy of a higher price tag. Like the sedan, the Civic hatch also features an incredibly quiet cabin, with little road noise making its way inside.

In short, the Civic hatch drives a bit like a mash-up of the coupe and sedan, feeling sporty enough to have fun while offering the all-important commuter comfort that’s key in this segment.

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Different Form, Familiar Function

The front of the Civic hatch’s cabin looks and feels a lot like the sedan’s, and that’s because it is a lot like the sedan’s. In base LX guise, it looks every bit as modern as the rest of the Civic family, though it could benefit from some soft-touch materials in place of the hard plastics found on the doors and dash. Likewise, the cloth seats don’t feel great to the touch and are supportive but not exactly comfortable.

The center stack is well laid out, and leaves everything well within reach of the driver, while a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes into play on EX models and above (that system is standard on all Canadian cars). Unfortunately, it still features the touch-sensitive volume slider in place of a more practical volume knob, which can be difficult to use — particularly from the passenger seat.

ALSO SEE: Feature Focus: How the 2016 Chevy Spark’s Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Works

When it comes to safety features, the Civic leads in the segment. Features like cruise control and automatic headlights are standard, while the Honda Sensing suite adds forward collision warning with collision mitigation braking, lane-keep assist, road departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Open the rear doors and the hatch begins to separate itself from its four-door sibling. With a roofline that isn’t sloped as steeply as the sedan’s, the Civic hatch boasts reasonable rear seat headroom that is actually more comfortable than its 37.4 inches would suggest and offers enough room to accommodate a couple of adults with ease. By comparison, the Civic sedan offers 36.8 inches of rear headroom, but feels much smaller, forcing taller passengers to slouch. Legroom in the back, meanwhile, comes in at 36 inches, or about an inch-and-a-half less than the sedan.

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The Verdict: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Review

With a starting price of $19,700 ($21,390 in Canada), the Civic hatch has been positioned at the top of the Civic heap, acting as a halo of sorts for the popular compact. By comparison, an entry-level LX sedan will run you $18,740 (the LX is stickered at $19,290 in Canada, while a bare-bones DX is also offered for $16,390). But the turbocharged engine and added practicality might just be worth the price of admission.

The car also plays into the nostalgia of an entire generation, stirring up high school memories of shameful Fast and Furious mods and unadulterated fun. It’s a much more mature car now, so it’s not the same Civic hatchback we grew up with, but rather a grown up car that’s still fun and not too grown up.

Discuss this story on our Honda Civic Forum

  • duncan macrae

    With the gawky pentagonal cutouts front and rear, the new Civic hatch displaces the Ford Focus to become the next ‘ Ugly Grille Champion’ !! All the style and panache of an oversized vacuum cleaner! Yechh!!

  • canali

    what an ugly looking car…getting alot of thumbs down, too, from what i’m reading over the web….honda should have taken this back to the drawing board…looks like it’s still in ‘rough draft’ status.

  • Graham Ditchfield

    I bought the Fit Sport in ’07 cause it was the ugly car to me at the time. But by golly its a fine car. I got 320,000km on her now and only changed the alternator. That’s it. When its time I’ve got the Hatch in my sites. Ugly…..be damned, it’s a Honda. Best vehicle on the road.

  • Willy05

    I think it looks good. Would be nice to get the manual transmission and safety features in EX trim.

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!

  • AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!!

  • td0g

    This thing looks like it was designed by the same software that made the Pontiac Aztek.

  • canali

    That’s exactly the model I was thinking of but couldn’t name it ..thanks

  • Jonny_Vancouver

    Amen.

  • canali

    just like your english is bs…back on the boat, dude

  • Christopher Evert

    Looks nice in white.
    With the huge grille openings (front and rear), I think the wheels in the pic don’t work with the styling. Needs wheels with a similar solid black expanse in the center (maybe excepting the rim itself) to feel cohesive with the car’s design.

    Other than that, very cool.

  • Dustin Elizondo

    Did the author forget about the 2002-2005 Civic Si hatchback with the 17 year comment?

  • Mike

    The new Fits won’t do that. HORRID CVTs and drastically declining reliability. Even the new Honda Civic has CVT and turbo engine issues. Honda has been dropping the ball big time. Can’t trust them anymore.

  • I definitely didn’t forget, Dustin. In fact, if you read the second paragraph you’ll see that I wrote, “Sure, there was Honda’s half-hearted attempt at reviving the beloved bodystyle in the early 2000s with the niche three-door Civic Si, but even that was discontinued more than a decade ago.”

  • noahwayne0

    Can you comment on the clutch engagement point/bite point? Is it vague or is it well defined? Is the engagement/bite point high up, in the middle, or low ?

    Is there hill start assist?

    Doesn’t seem to have a physical emergency brake…………that seems like a deal breaker for a manual, especially when you’re on a hill/incline in stop and go traffic

  • The engagement point is pretty well defined despite how light the pedal is. And you’re right — the emergency brake is electronic, just like in the rest of the Civic lineup. The hill start assist system works well, and should quell any concerns about the lack of a mechanical e-brake.

  • Kelvin

    Is there a difference in the ride & handling between the hatchback and the sedan? Which one would handle better when driving on twisty roads and which will feel more engaging to drive? I’m trying to decide one between the two with the 1.5t manual.

  • Ji Dosha

    To our US friends, the Civic LX tested appears to be the Canadian version and not the US version with the same LX badge. Honda uses the same trim name in both countries, but they have different content and features.

  • Sorry, Kelvin, didn’t see this until now. Definitely go with the hatch if you’re looking for a more engaging ride. With the wheels pushed closer to the corners, it just feels that much more agile than the sedan.

  • 12Gd34

    Why do they have to make it so da ugly. Just like the Prius, Toyota made it uglier and uglier every year. I won’t go near it now

  • I’m wondering if it’s some limitation on whether US/Canadian sites can say but I’d really like to know the rough 0-60mph in both the manual and CVT.

  • I’ve just read that the UK version Type R will have a normal handbrake. But I’m actually quite looking forward to using the electronic one. Honda’s hill assist is actually quite good but if you’re used to driving manual gearboxes it is easy to balance the car on the clutch for the second or so before you press the throttle and go.

  • Maybe Honda should have taken the design department away from the US and back to Japan or Europe? To my European eyes, US vehicles always seem to be designed with a ruler and set square. and if it doesn’t move, chrome it.

  • You seem to use the same words in upper case in most of your postings on forums. Can I suggest you ask for a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus for your birthday/christmas present? Hart’s Rules for Compositors and Readers would also make a good present.

  • Cody Beisel

    The hatch was designed in Japan and is built in Europe the coupe and sedan were designed by USA Honda

  • Thanks Cody, so the Civic is so ugly as it’s a Euro/Japanese/American mishmash. I wonder who did the front and back ends? They need a lesson in good taste IMHO.

  • Alan

    What would you know about ugly? You a professional ugly expert? OK, then I’ll back off.

  • Alan

    That would just take up space, get in the way & weigh a bit more.

  • Alan

    That’s one reason to like the darker colors – those disappear quite a bit, but some like that look! More racy.

  • Alan

    There’s no accounting for taste, but as usual Honda will sell these like hotcakes!

  • Alan

    Hatch is from England & it’s a European car!!

  • Alan

    Safety features are coming, maybe in January I heard.

  • Alan

    Nasty, nasty. He calls it like he see it. What, you never heard someone called a shit? To call someone shitty just means contemptible, worthless, & that would be exactly worthless to hear such harsh judgment to hundreds of millions of people. Contemptible, racist & manipulative also fits along with the boat comment.

  • Alan

    You can put your money where your mouth is, I bought min 14 hours ago, & it’s great! 🙂

  • Alan

    That got a laugh out of me. He’s speaking loudly so all can understand. Smart sounding put-down raises question of the negative ugly authorities. Like, what’s in it for you/them? More cars to see other than one of the most popular brands – the Honda?

  • Alan

    Honda & Toyota, the best out there. America LOVES the CIVIC! CVTs are great. Small gas engines with turbos that have no/little lag are great. Hatchbacks hare great. Getting 40mpg & MORE from car magazines is really great especially with the acceleration this car has & great handling too! I’m not keen on American cars they just built bigger & bigger cars because of subsidised gas for bigger profits. I blame them for killing the station wagon & keeping us addicted to gas (vs. diesel), & how GM made electric cars in the 90’s & then bought them back & smashed them to smithereens. No, I don’t trust THEM nor their allies saying nasty things about a great looking car that deserves millions of buyers to buy them up – like I did 14 hours ago.

  • Alan

    says who? You?

  • Cody Beisel

    It was designed by Honda of Japan and produced in Europe look it up Alan!

  • Alan

    Duh! Made to be a European car for Europeans to drive. Engine from Thailand, put together in England west of London 2/3 from the coast. Interesting, but who does that matter to? For those who want to be in the know, or the ego? Whatever. One doesn’t have to know it all to feel in control, safe & dominate. Reply pages, full of…trolls & worse. All good. If one can suck the energy out of someone else is there life in that person, drama, value? That’s rhetorical

  • Mike

    Says me, smarty pants. Google it!! Consumer Reports no longer recommends the Civic due to horrid quality. Hahaha

  • Mike

    Good luck with your piece of garbage. Should have bought a 2017 Toyota Corolla SE or above. You’ll learn.

  • Alan

    Ur behinds the times! Lots of good reviews, except for the angry man 🙂 What do you drive? Garbage in, garbage out…of the (reactive, Reptilian) mind.

  • Which did you buy? 1.5 or 2.0, Hatch or saloon? CVT or manual?

    Regular reports please. 🙂

  • Are those the ones with regular recalls for airbags, brakes, insufficient oil and other things? The other problem with the Corolla is that it isn’t a hatch and in Europe, the engine choices are miserable. Sadly Toyota 2016 isn’t a patch on Toyota past. I had a 14 year old Toyota HiLux 1.8 petrol pick-up that I shed many a tear when I sold it on eBay – for more than I paid. But it was a 1990 vehicle and was all but perfect except for a few scars. I haven’t seen a Corolla reach that age here. My bro-in-law’s is about 12 years old and is literally falling apart.

  • Mike

    Dude, admit it. You screwed up. Honda quality is HORRID lately. This is coming from a guy who LOVED his Element. Btw, I had a 13 Avalon Limited that was $42k that was totaled a few months back. So I just got a a 17 Corolla. Looked at the Civic. Nice body and interior. Bad quality. The Corolla comes STANDARD with adaptive cruise, automatic brights, LED headlights, automatic braking as well as well as auto braking for pedestrians, and Lane assist. And a car that will go a LOT FURTHER than the new Civic. Honda is the new Nissan. JUNK. You drive your Honda and I’ll stick with trusted and proven ‘Yotas.

  • Alan

    And it designed by both Europeans & Japanese. They wanted to challenge the traditional look of European Hatchbacks is what I read concerning the Geneva Auto Show of Spring 2016. The enthusiast/tuners are really excited about the Civic – most desirable, specially the new Si, yet to come. And the Type-R is a monster for speed!!!

  • Alan

    Agreed. I’ve also read the 0-60mph is done in 6.5 seconds. I say I have more like European eyes & yet have never been there…physically. 🙂

  • Alan

    The Hatchback handles about the same although it’s shorter but is about 80 more pounds as I recall. The turbo is the way to go & if you don’t have stop & go traffic slowdowns, you might like the manual transmission for a tiny more power. The Sport is a tiny faster also with wider tires/tyres. Or WAIT for the Si, for a bigger jump in speed. OR if you’re on the wild & crazy side with big money after the Si comes out early next year (Jan.?), the monster engine/car is the Civic Type-R. HUGE engine! But thieves love these cars!!!! Number 1!!!!

  • My son lives in Chicago so I’ve been to the US. You will find cars are far smaller in Europe compared with in the US and predominantly hatchbacks. The average American small family vehicle would be one of the largest on the road here. Most BMWs and Audis, Passats, etc, are considered very large cars. Thankfully Europe hasn’t got the huge pick-ups, eg Ford Ranger, much favoured in the US. If there were any, they wouldn’t be able to drive in many places and especially park as they are too large and would be hampered by width restrictions and hight barriers. In parts of Europe they would literally be stuck, jammed against the building either side of the road. It’s always a laugh to see huge American motorhomes here as they are too large to get to the tourist locations they were brought here to see, or around towns and cities.

  • Alan

    Actually, I believe that ‘it’ (the second brake whatever that’s called) is exactly what it was designed for!!!!

  • Alan

    Mike, you guys remind me of being surrounded by the hounds (of hell) taxi drivers in the Guatemala City where unexpectedly I found a very loud voice inside of my shout something like “For Christ’s sake, get the fuck out of here”. They immediately cleared. This is an auto comment page, not a venting for self-righteous, inconsiderate, egoic boys playing ‘penis wars’. And Consumer Report laid it on with the reliability report attacking the new civic (which has shown no such problems since it’s NEW) because they were expecting/demanding options that were available till next month, PLUS they were crying over the lack of a volume knob when the more convenient control was right underneath their left thumb on the steering wheel.

  • Alan

    My Toyota bottomed out constantly (6+ times a day) going down or up a small inclimb like driveways, bumps. And they said that was within correct, acceptable parameters. And the brakes were undersized for those carrying a bit of weight, since they were obsessed with selling the public a high gas milage car – the Prius. They came down in reputation for other reason written here. From November 2009 through 2010, Toyota recalled more than 9 million cars and trucks in several recall campaigns, and briefly halted production and sales. In October 2012, Toyota announced a recall of 7.43 million vehicles worldwide to fix malfunctioning power window switches (the largest recall since that of Ford Motor Company in 1996). The move came after a series of recalls between 2009 and 2011 in which it pulled back around 10 million cars amidst claims of faulty mechanics. In March 2014, Toyota agreed to pay a fine of US$1.2 billion for CONCEALING information and MISLEADING the public. In early November 2014, Toyota USA enlisted a recall involving More than 7 million vehicles defective inflaters and propellant devices that may deploy improperly in the event of a crash, SHOOTING metal fragments into vehicle OCCUPANTS.

  • I read that and wondered on the quality of the journalism. I also laughed when they moaned about the volume control. For me it’s going to be whether the Civic 1.5 turbo runs out of energy at 70mph. I’m open minded about the CVT but haven’t liked any I’ve driven so far, including Honda’s ‘stepped’ version in the latest Jazz/Fit. The one in the Insight (dunno what it was called in the US) was horrible.

    A dual clutch gearbox would be my preference as long as it’s wet clutch rather than dry (as in new VW/Audi/Seats in Europe). I’ve driven the latest VW box in a Skoda VRS, (think Golf GTi), and it was very acceptable. Honda has a dual clutch box but hasn’t put it on a European car. My second choice after the new Honda will be a Renault Mégane GT or an older Golf Gti. Both with dual clutch boxes.

    This assumes I cannot afford to run an Aston Martin or maybe a Jaguar F-Type which my daughter has and I just loved when I drove it. Trouble is, no space for luggage, passengers, trips to Ikea, bags of fertiliser or our annual booze run to France.

  • Alan

    Yes,yes, I know. And all nations have their dream/delusions I would guess. Here we’ve been sold & ‘bought into’ the corporate socialism that even President Eisenhower (yuck) warned us against – the military-industrial complex. Our gas prices are subsidized (corporate socialism) so people buy huge. My previous cars were the Sportwagen & before that the 05 Prius. Too many hate the Prius in the States (wanting a vehicle to enhance their big self-esteem). Thanks for the info. Laughter is good. There’s a lesson there that could have been learned long ago.

  • Alan

    I see no problem with the CVT. What’s your issue with it? From a 05 Prius to a 14 Jetta Sportwagen there’s an obvious gain of acceleration and a loss in gas mileage. And from there a gain in acceleration in the Civic turbo but at 70mph a bug lost in gas mileage, although gas is cheaper than diesel a bit. And if you notice, it’s the Prius drivers that don’t have a care to worry about as they fly down the road passing all the muscle image car drivers are holding back traffic flow kind of like a VW van – ouch!

  • Mike

    Go worry about Honda and their airbags killing everyone with fragments flying into the cabin and killing the passengers. Try HARDER.

  • So you bought the CVT? I’m still hoping for regular reports. Here or off site. The UK built Civic will not arrive until next year here in the UK. I think they want you to find all the faults before I buy one. 🙂

    I bought the new Civic in ’06 with a superb 2.2 diesel. It gave a thrust in the back at 70mph when you floored it in 6th gear. Top speed was an easy 130mph. Now I have a ’12 1.8 petrol which I’m close to hating but love the gearbox and don’t want Honda’s current diesel engines or the environmental problems associated with them. Next year is new car time and I’m looking for honest reports from new Civic owners. I wish they had a turbo or supercharged 2.0 VTec on their non-type Rs.

  • Alan

    Suck, suck, suck in the great penis wars. That’s for losers with low self-esteem issues that look to scary to deal with so they project their poo* to anybody who stir up the suppressed issue, and so to try to feel better & dominate others/everything but that never really works at all, especially for a smarty pants so you got to dumb down & yet feel right & justified about it all. What a drag of a burden – more guilt, more shame suppressed with more ‘stuff’, endless cycle. Worry is for wussies, fear of worry & sorrow is for losers. So, get lost. Take a walk. Give it a break & chill looking into a mirror constantly for a long time.

  • Alan

    My 2014 VW Jetta Sportwagen has good acceleration & brakes nice being diesel which is stingy on fuel too. So I like diesels & hybrids do well to. My Civic has almost 300 miles & I like it, looks great in dark gray with very dark windows too. At that mileage I’ve gotten almost 36 mpg at 70 mph on level pavement, not what the EPA indicated. but still beats other cars of that quickness. Doesn’t need a volume knob with the control underneath your left thumb. The gas tank is small & doesn’t allow long range of driving. Seats are great. I suppose I have high standards & want even a quieter ride. The faster the car goes, the worse the gas mileage & the slower drivers go in them! The rear window wiper assembly blocks view of a car behind you! Overall, I love the car so far, yet hope the reliability is great. Oh, & it’s too sensitive/responsive with the steering. Corners fine, as well as high speeds! A lot going for it!!! Got mine way below MRSP, at $22,762!

  • I like the price. Here it will be full list but they haven’t been seen in the wild yet. I have passed some strange Hondas in Zebra paint and boxes stuck over them but they are probably under development at Ricardo engineering which is just a mile or so away. Glad you like yours