With the death of the Hyundai Elantra Coupe and Kia Forte Koup, the tenth-generation Honda Civic now stands as the only compact car that you can buy as a sedan, coupe AND hatchback. In addition to this class-leading versatility, the all-new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback also offers buyers an impressive level of choices from the budget-minded Civic LX to the sporty new Civic Si and even the upcoming, performance-tuned Civic Type R. After our recent seat time with 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport, we were able to experience the more luxurious EX-L Navi trim level.
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Exterior:
No matter which trim level of the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback you are considering, this radically styled hatchback definitely has a polarizing design, but the EX-L is a little more toned-down without the lower body kit and center-mounted dual exhaust found on the Sport models. While Honda didn’t play it safe in any of the design aspects of its tenth-gen Civic, the Hatchback is by far the boldest interpretation of the Civic with a blacked-out grille, dual liftgate spoilers and massive mesh-patterned vents on the front and rear fascia. As a side note, these vents are obviously fake, but they do a great job of giving the Civic Hatchback a more in-your-face presence – something necessary to go up against hatchback versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza. Love it or hate it, you’re not going to confuse the new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback with anything else on the market, and the White Orchid paint job and contrasting black trim gives this five-door a sporty outward appearance.
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Interior:
The biggest difference between this 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback EX-L tester and the Sport model we reviewed back in March is the interior with the “L” standing for luxury. This spacious cabin upgrades to leather seats in addition to the faux-carbon fiber inserts, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and the EX-L also adds an eight-way power driver’s seat, an eight-speaker audio system and the seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with SiriusXM Radio, HD Radio, Pandora, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Of course, the key benefit of the hatchback design is added passenger and cargo space. The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback provides more rear-passenger headroom and hip room than the Civic sedan and cargo capacity is 25.7 cubic feet with the rear seats in place versus just 15.1 cubic feet to the sedan. Fold down the Hatchback’s rear seats and you’re looking at 46.2 cubic feet of unimpeded cargo space. Better yet, the design of the car provides for a low load-in height, but the retracting side-to-side cargo cover looks and feels extremely cheap.
One of my favorite parts of Honda interiors as of late is the center console, and the Civic Hatchback carries over the same center console design of the other Civic models including the two-tier storage tray and the reconfigurable storage compartment. Smartphones can be stored on the upper tier just behind the shifter, while its charging cord can be kept out of the way on the lower tier (using either the 12-volt power outlet and USB charging port). The storage compartment features a removable cupholder as well as an extra-tall cupholder that easily accommodates even the largest of water bottles.
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Powertrain:
Another advantage of the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback is that the peppy 1.5-liter turbocharged and direct-injected inline-four is standard even on the base model (the Coupe and Sedan both start off with the carryover 2.0-liter inline-four). This engine is rated at 174 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, but if you want more power, the Sport models increase output to 180 horsepower and up to 177 lb-ft of torque; there’s also the Si and Type R models for a true hot hatch experience. This power output of the EX-L marginally less than the Sport, and in all honesty, most drivers probably won’t even notice the difference.
What they will notice, though, is the better fuel economy with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway**, which is better than the Sport with the manual transmission (30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway) and the available CVT (30 mpg city and 36 mpg highway). On top of that, this car runs on Regular grade gasoline while the Sport models recommend Premium. During my week with this 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback EX-L, which comes standard with the CVT, I saw an average of just over 37 mpg in combined driving.
Perhaps the only reason to choose a lesser trim level over the EX-L is the fact that LX and Sport both offer a six-speed manual transmission, but this CVT is still much better and more enjoyable than CVTs found on the Civic’s rivals. This car was definitely tuned with a certain level of driving enjoyment in mind with a nimble suspension setup, responsive steering and strong brakes. Bottom line, if you’re looking for an entertaining compact car that is roomy and versatile, then the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback is the way to go.
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Safety:
Like Coupe and Sedan, the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback is an extremely safe car with a five star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it should achieve a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This tester was also equipped with the optional Honda Sensing suite of driver assist technologies, which includes Lane Keep Assist System, Road Departure Mitigation System, Collision Mitigation Braking System and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.
2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Overall:
The 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback is the perfect complement to the existing tenth-gen Civic lineup, and it gives the iconic compact a European flair the U.S. Civic has been lacking since 2005. With a starting MSRP of $19,700* for a base Civic Hatchback (about $1,000 more than a Civic Sedan), the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback is competitively priced in its market undercutting rivals such Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. The added luxury of the EX-L trim level still won’t break the bank with a $25,300* starting price, and this well-equipped Civic Hatchback had an as-tested price of $26,300.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Honda dealership and test drive the exciting new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.