The Honda Civic has always been a class leader. Honda has somehow managed to make the perfect all-around vehicle right from the beginning. It’s reliable, safe, practical, good looking and economical. It’s not only one of the most popular cars ever made, but one of the most customized as well. A broad spectrum of customers ranging from 18 to 88 years old have all owned a Civic at one point or another, and all of them loved the experience. Now in its tenth generation, featuring new underpinnings, an updated cabin and brand-new engines, the 2017 Honda Civic redeemed the mediocrity that was the last generation. The five-door Civic hatchback seems to be a popular choice, especially now since it’s manufactured across the pond in the UK.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
The 2017 Honda Civic hatchback comes equipped with a 1.5L turbocharged four cylinder engine across all models. While the lower models output 174hp, the sport models receive a brand-new high-flowing exhaust which releases six more horsepower to raise the figure to 180hp, and a few more decibels of noise too!
This well selected engine for the 2017 Civic hatch provides plenty of power even with a full load and allows for smooth cruising and a quiet cabin. I did notice the wind noise started getting into the cabin at highway speeds.
Newer Honda Civics have always been a great seller, but there was one thing lacking: a manual transmission. Thankfully, Honda realized the need for this and quickly offered a six-speed manual in the LX and Sport models of the hatchback. A continuously variable transmission is the alternative and end up providing us with 6.7 L/100km of fuel consumption over our 450km combined city and highway test drive. Enthusiasts have the option of the manual transmission, while commuters will typically go for the CVT.
For the most part, even the base model 2017 Civics are extremely fun to drive. The well-balanced chassis and lightweight body coupled with grippy tires means you have a ton of room to play with. With a full independent set-up and sporty electronic steering, it’s good fun in the corners.
In addition to the usual traction control, anti-lock brakes and stability control, the available driver aids make the 2017 Honda Civic one of the best hatches out there. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and forward collision warning systems all play their job in protecting the occupants well.
Styling-wise, the 2017 Honda Civic hatchback is closer to the coupe than it is to the sedan. Sure, it has four doors, but the sloping roofline suggests that it’s much newer and more unique than the sedan, not to mention sportier. The front still wears the funky/futuristic fascia with pride. It blends in a variety of chopped up lines, angles and cuts which give it an appearance like no other. Two creases at the sides give it a chiseled look, showcasing the sporty design. The rear, we thought, was fussy at first. With a ton of folds, creases and twists it takes time, but it will eventually grow on you as you begin to appreciate the complexity. Look at it this way: would you rather own something that’s conservative but bland and boring, or something that’s different but special and unique? Most people would go for the latter.
As available options your 2017 Civic can be equipped with LED headlights, heated side mirrors and many other features which improve the overall appearance of the vehicle. It’s not just aesthetically better than its older sibling, because now Honda uses a new assembling technique, where they assemble the inner frame first, followed by the outer frame and the joints. This means the new Civic receives a 52-percent increase in stiffness over the last-gen car, while actually losing 35 pounds in the process. Now that’s a win-win scenario for both manufacturer and customer.
FEATURE RICH INTERIOR
The interior, unlike the exterior, doesn’t have a lot more going for it compared to the sedan. That said however, it has the best interior in its class, so naturally Honda didn’t want to toy with it and change things. It’s simple, sleek and elegant. The fit and finish is of the best variety and there is no clutter anywhere you look. The materials themselves are high-quality and the general atmosphere and vibe is bright and elegant. This isn’t a Lexus, so don’t expect a ton of leather, but for its segment, it offers a lot of value.
The dashboard layout of the 2017 Honda Civic is focused towards the driver, as with any other great driving car. A beautiful digital instrument cluster is positioned right behind the steering wheel, broken up visually into three segments. The center display is used as a digital tachometer, speedometer and odometer. The left is a smaller digital gauge monitoring engine temp. Finally, to the right there’s a digital fuel gauge. It’s easy to dismiss it as being a bit over the top at first, but it’s really not. You get quickly accustomed to the environment and actually start preferring it to analogue gauges after a while, since everything is so clear at all times. The best part of everything being digital is the ease of customization and being able to choose what to show on which display.
The seats are comfortable and supportive at the same time, allowing for taller and wider occupants to find the perfect position easily. Legroom and headroom is the same as that in the sedan. You do lose some rear passenger headroom on the 2017 Civic hatchback compared to the sedan, but it’s barely noticeable, especially since the new model is so much bigger than the old one.
We’re glad to report that the 2017 Honda Civic still reigns supreme when it comes to the midsize segment. With plenty of options to buy it as a sedan, hatchback or coupe, nothing on the market can compete with it, especially at its entry level $16,390 pricing ($21,390 for the hatchback version). Some of the competition may beat it in certain areas, but none can match it overall.