Modern Motoring: A first drive in the all new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback

The folks at Honda have brought back the Civic Hatchback after nearly a decade and for those who want functionality without having to move into the crossover/SUV/CUV world, this offering is right up your alley.

Modern Mississauga was invited to be a part of the official media launch that took place in beautiful Muskoka and with the autumn colours beckoning us, the nearly 200 km drive through the winding roads of cottage country - Southwood road specifically - was stunning.

Some highlights of the 2017 Civic include: all three trims (LX, Sport and Sport Touring) are available with a manual gearbox (#savethemanuals); there’s but one strong and fuel efficient 1.5 litre Turbocharged four-cylinder engine; a full suite of safety technology is available via the “Honda Sensing” safety package; and the design work on this car is absolutely stunning.

While there’s one engine, there are two power offerings. The LX sees 174 horsepower and 167 lb-ft. of torque, while the Sport and Sport Touring get a slight bump to 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque.

On the road, the Civic Hatchback LX (the trim we were given for the media launch) handled extremely well, held the road firmly, and cornering was accurate. Steering-feel was very responsive and comfortable with acceleration from both a dead stop and between 80 km/h and 120 km/h (passing speeds) being impressive.

As we drove a combination of highway, city and rural routes, both the automatic and six-speed manual provided ample power when we needed it without the feeling of the engine screaming for mercy. Personally, we favoured the manual box as the shifts were smooth and accurate. Realistically, we know that about 75-80% of hatchbacks will come with the CVT transmission. 

Inside, the fit and finish, even in the base model, were impressive. The design is modern, smooth and upscale with soft touch materials, and a large infotainment touch screen frames the interior quite nicely. Although we wish there was an actual volume knob on the console, the counter to that is that we ended up using the volume control button on the steering wheel. 
Speaking with Alen Sadeh in the PR department at Honda Canada, he explained that this is being positioned as a premium hatchback and it gives drivers the best of both worlds between fashion and function. There’s a new powertrain, a new platform and an exciting driving feel here. Road noise barely seeps in through the acoustically treated glass and the cloth seats have a great comfort level. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, as do heated front seats. 

Personally, I love hatchbacks because you can fit a whole whack of stuff in there: skis/snowboards, IKEA's boxy furniture, drum sets/guitars/amps, camping gear for a few folks and, well, Costco trips for both you and your neighbour!

With the Mazda 3 being one of the popular choices in the compact hatch segment, Honda’s newest offering for the 10th generation Civic family is raring to go in an attempt to add their to the already well awarded and established Civic lineup. The Civic is a powerhouse in the market as it’s the number one selling car in Canada to date, and now adding a very utilitarian offering to the existing sedan and coupe models, Honda’s aiming to further strengthen their place atop the Canadian market.

Stay tuned for the full review in our Holiday issue.

Enjoy the gallery below: