What’s sporty, fuel-efficient, fast, turbocharged, fun-to-drive, and has the utility of a hatch? No, it’s not a new Subaru WRX hatch, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s the new Honda Civic Hatchback Sport.
It offers up a lot for the money, and it could be Honda’s best new launch in years.
We recently drove a Rallye Red 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport with the 6-speed manual gearbox.
What’s New For 2017
The Honda Civic received a complete redesign last year, and now comes in a hatchback body style, making it a compelling compact that offers up plenty of utility. The available turbocharged engine produces a bit more power in the hatch model too.
Hatchback Sport Features
The Honda Civic Hatchback Sport has a starting MSRP of $21,300 and comes loaded with standard features: automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, an expanded-view driver’s side mirror, automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and manual front seats with driver height adjustment.
Electronic features include a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth capability, and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port.
The Sport gets a more powerful version of the turbocharged four cylinder engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a center-outlet dual exhaust, aerodynamic bodywork, a rear center armrest with cupholders, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Total MSRP including destination: $22,175.
Stepping inside reveals a sporty cabin and a driver-focused cockpit. Everything is easy to reach and the controls are straight forward. The highly adjustable seats, and standard tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel made it easy to find a comfortable driving position as we headed out for a weekend drive.
The Honda Civic Hatchback Sport we tested offered top-notch materials throughout and comfortable cloth seats, along with Honda’s typically tight finish. We liked the Civic’s extra storage spots up front for our gloves, cell phones, and sunglasses. The large backseat allows 6-foot-tall adults to sit with sufficient leg and headroom.
The rear hatch offers extra utility for loading larger items after the setbacks are lowered flat. Overall, the Civic Hatch features a well planned out space, with everything packaged so you can store smaller things as well as large cargo items in the back.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The Honda Civic Hatch Sport is powered by a sweet 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged direct injected engine. It produces 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque. Get the 6-speed manual rower if you are a driving enthusiast. It comes with 15 more lb-ft of torque than the CVT automatic.
Fuel economy is excellent with an EPA estimated 30/39 city/highway and 33 combined mpg.
We were all over the city of Denver, and even took a couple trips to Colorado Springs over the last week in the new Civic Hatchback. In the city, it was easy to maneuver through narrow streets, and we were able to squeeze into tight parking spots with ease. We navigated some congestion and had no trouble getting around slower traffic on the highway.
The 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the manual transmission is more powerful than you would think. It comes with a sweet exhaust note and solid power delivery, which is nice to see in a Honda powerplant. We did plenty of miles on the highway, and the Civic Hatchback offered a composed ride that wasn’t too floaty or harsh on the bumps.
The cabin is a bit noisy at high speeds, but far better than Civic models of the past.
Up in the high country west of Denver, the extra power and torque of the turbo engine kicked in and we could down-shift the 6-speed manual to find the perfect gear for passing. The Civic with the 6-speed manual rower is the way to go if you like to drive. It has quick throws and smooth shifts making it a joy to drive. The 1.5-liter turbo feels extra quick, thanks to the additional, steady low-end torque. The side visibility is a bit less than previous models due to the raked roofline, but that’s the price you pay for the sporty hatch look.
If you want an affordable, sporty, fuel-efficient, fast, turbocharged, and fun-to-drive compact with utility, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport with the 6-speed manual gearbox is the way to go. Add in a comfortable, roomy interior filled with upscale materials, and you have a great city commuter that you won’t get tired of driving.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter:
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2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Gallery
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback
Photos: Honda North America