It’s like an early Christmas for the multitude of evergreen Honda Civic Hatchback fans. The press release says it all: “New Euro-Inspired 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Arrives from Across the Pond.” Yes, yes! Many implications in that headline, no? For many years now, the Euro Hondas have gotten many cool doo-dads and performance goodies that they kept to themselves.
Let’s see what we’ll be getting in the United States, shall we?
For starters, Honda says the new model continues the rollout of the 10th -generation Civic lineup by introducing the new Sport and Sport Touring trims. Impressive this is the tenth generation. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that the Civic hatchback performance option was the darling of the import tuner crowd – I mean, like, before Vin Diesel was Vin Diesel.
Honda goes on to say “the Hatchback provides appealing combinations of sporty styling, efficiency, versatility, and premium content.” That point, which is of course largely subjective, might be debatable. The styling has already drawn some criticism for being a bit too over the top and a bit too boy-racer. Given how bland a lot of Honda’s offerings have been, perhaps this is an overreaction of our fellow gearheads? Perhaps it’s also a good thing; a sign that Honda is moving away from the safe and predictable?
Engine & Chassis
Say what you will about the styling, Honda does not mess around in the engine bay. All trim levels will be powered by a 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected turbo engine. This is a rather dry way of saying “get your credit cards ready, cause you know there’s some mods coming from the aftermarket.”
The body is sophisticated, featuring a fully independent suspension with liquid-filled bushings, and sport-tuned electronic power steering (EPS) with a variable gear ratio. Honda also notes the new Civic Hatchback has a more rigid and lightweight chassis. Built on the same platform as Honda’s Civic Sedan and Coupe, the 2017 Civic Hatchback comes in five trim levels: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L Navi, and the new top-of-line Sport Touring.
The aforementioned 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected and turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder engine cranks out 174 horsepower in the LX, EX, and EX-L Navi versions; 180 horsepower in the Sport and Sport Touring. The Sport and Sport Touring also feature a dual-outlet, center-mounted exhaust and run on premium fuel.
Transmission & Cargo Capacity
The Civic Hatchback’s plant comes with two transmission choices. First, there’s a CVT (ugh) gearbox, available for all trim levels and for the LX and Sport trims there’s a 6-speed manual transmission.
In certain configurations, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback has class-leading EPA fuel economy ratings of 31/40/34 mpg (city/highway/combined; LX, EX & EX-L Navi w/ CVT models).
When it comes to providing additional controls for the driver, there’s a 4-channel anti-lock braking system with Electronic Brake Distribution and Hill Start Assist. On the inside there’s a slew of high-grade materials and finishes. The 2017 Civic Hatchback delivers class-leading volume and cargo capacity, including 97.2 cubic feet of interior space and best-in-class rear seat legroom of 36 inches.
Additional Options & Availability
There’s a good audio system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (standard on EX and above trims) heated seats, power driver and front-passenger seats, remote start – usual modern day stuff, you know. All this and a ton more goodies are available starting at $19,700 for the LX model, all the way up to $25,300 for the EX-L Navi. As of this writing, there is no word on the MSRP for the Sport Touring.
These Euro inspired Civic Hatchbacks should be in Honda showrooms as you’re reading this.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life around racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.