Traditionally, Honda has reserved the sportiest iteration of the Civic for the hatches, and they’ve done this again with the latest version.
“Coming off the heels of the all-new, Canadian built and very successful 11th-generation Civic Sedan, the Civic Hatchback is the most fun-to-drive five-door Civic we’ve ever produced,” says Steve Hui, Honda Canada assistant vice president. “It’s sleek, fastback design and available six-speed manual transmission makes it another exciting offering in the new Civic family, with the Si and Type R to come.”
Though the model continues to get larger and look more and more like an Accord, the new Boost Blue Pearl paint colour is very striking. Designers have moved the A pillars back almost 50 millimetres, stretched out the wheelbase by 35 millimetres and widened the rear track 12 millimetres giving the profile a distinctive appearance. Even the roof is 50 millimetres shorter than the predecessor thanks to the liftgate being made of a lightweight composite material, allowing the hinge mechanism to be pulled outwards thus flattening the area.
One benefit of a bigger footprint is additional interior space, and the second row passengers enjoy 36 extra millimetres of it. Fortunately, head room hasn’t decreased either with the above modifications. The hatch opening is 40 millimetres wider than before making loading and unloading cargo an easier task. In fact, the vehicle makes a decent small family hauler as our loaner accommodated a baby seat in the back fairly well.
The interior is pretty much the same as the sedan featuring the interesting metallic honeycomb trim spanning the width of the dash that hides the air vents. A seven-inch touchscreen display is standard, while a nine-inch is optional. I wouldn’t say the infotainment system is the most intuitive example on the market, but gets the job done (hey, at least there’s a volume knob). The top Sport Touring grade also benefits from a booming 12-speaker Bose premium stereo.
Base LX cars utilize the entry 2.0-litre four-cylinder mill, however stepping up to any of the Sport badges gets drivers the high-output 1.5-litre turbocharged four cylinder, which makes a decent 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque and delivers stellar fuel economy. The peppy engine is even more fun paired to the solid six-speed manual transmission buyers can equip for the same price as the CVT. The former feels great even if not quite as tactile as Honda sticks of old.
A whole host of suspension enhancements keep the vehicle ranking high in the handling department. Front MacPherson struts boast low-friction ball joints and front damper mount bearings to improve steering response, and new rear lower control arm bushings increase ride stability. Despite all the upgrades, the hatchback has a poor turning radius compared to others in the segment.
For the first time, the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback will be built at the brand’s US auto plant in Greensburg, Indiana. Prices range between $28,000 and $35,000 MSRP.
Highlights (as tested)
Motor: 1.5-litre turbocharged four cylinder
Horsepower: 180 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 177 @ 1,700 rpm
Gearbox: six-speed manual
Layout: front engine, front-wheel drive
Fuel economy: 8.8 L/100 km mixed city/highway (observed)