2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Review

Written by Anqoinette Crosby

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Running my obligatory Saturday morning errands, I encountered a strip mall parking lot packed with SUV’s drivers had squeezed into spaces clearly meant for compact cars. As even more of them looped the lot looking for a sizable space into which they could wedge their behemoths, I nonchalantly whipped the tidy little 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback into what felt like a narrow canyon between two of the humongous vehicles.

That’s when I noticed the “Going Out of Business” sign in the window of one of the stores. Darting inside to bargain hunt, I emerged an hour later with two shopping carts full of everything from light bulbs to table lamps—and the store’s manager helping me manage my huge haul.

When he saw the Civic, he politely suggested all of my purchases might not fit inside the petite ride. Outwardly, I maintained my poise and appeared undaunted. Inwardly, I muttered to myself, “Uh-oh, I may have brought the wrong car.” 

 

(Editor’s note: Funny how it didn’t occur to her she’d bought too much stuff instead. Hey, I'm just saying...)

Happily, the five-door Civic quickly proved us wrong. With its rear seats folded flat, the cargo space measured an impressive 46.2 cubic feet and came fitted with a convenient retractable cargo cover to hide my treasures from prying eyes. My windfall suitably stashed, I motored away with a big smile on my face.

Alas though, this prowess came at a price. Throughout that day, I must have opened and closed the rear hatch at least a half-dozen times and each time it felt heavier. Further, people of short stature may have to raise themselves up onto their tippy toes to pull it closed. By the end of the day, my arms and shoulders had experienced quite a workout.

Still, that minor inconvenience did not overshadow the fact the Civic was just as sporty as it was practical. The ride was a blast to drive with its brisk acceleration and terrific handling. A few days into my time with the Honda, once I’d developed confidence in its abilities, I found myself taking tight corners like I was in a racing car.

Power was derived from a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine good for 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. While the engine will accept regular fuel, if you want to get everything it has to give, feed it premium. A six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters routed power to the front wheels. Honda also offers a six-speed manual transmission for the Civic Hatchback. I saw an average of 32 mpg.

What’s more, the Honda fan-boys seemed to know all about the handsome little hauler. Throughout my week-long test run, I encountered a series of thumbs ups, long stares, nods of approval and comments from guys in their 20’s about the Civic's ultra cool exterior appearance. 

Honda’s modern interior treatment was aesthetically pleasing too. One of my favorite elements was the exceptionally deep hide and slide center console, which was commodious enough to stowaway my large purse. The leather-upholstered seats were heated and offered both comfort and good support, particularly when I leaned the Civic Hatchback sharply into a tightly curved freeway ramp.

What’s more, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration both worked like a charm. Still though, all is not entirely civil inside the Civic. Honda really needs to abandon the touch controls it uses for the audio system and bring back good old-fashioned knobs.

However, one contemporary development I really liked is the Honda Sensing suite of safety technology. The package included adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning. With that said, you should be prepared to get a bit of a jolt the first time you get too close to a vehicle in front of you. The Civic delivers an overly aggressive braking alert in bright orange block letters reading, “BRAKE.”

Overall though, I found the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback to be a handsomely crafted ride with a cool attitude and a surprising abundance of carrying capacity. With something like this out there, why city-living people think they need a huge SUV is beyond me.

Pricing starts at $19,700.

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