If you think Honda's can't be exciting, you haven't been behind the wheel of the new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring. It can handle an F1 track like a winner and has the looks to back it up from its flaring built-in spoiler to the balanced aggressive lines throughout.
Transmission and Handling
I recently took the Civic Hatchback Sport Touring to task around the Circuit of the Americas at this year's Texas Auto Roundup. My bright red model was an automatic using Honda’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). While the top-level Touring trim is only available as an automatic, a six-speed manual is available on the base LX and Sport trims. At the track, Honda, of course, talked up its fun-to-drive performance. "My favorite thing about the Civic Hatch is it's handling. The manual transmission option is, even more, go-cart fun to drive," said Kathy, the Honda rep there to answer any questions. [gallery size="large" link="file" ids="190882,190883,190886"]
CVT more than brings the go-carting feel though. It's easy to drive in the sense of spatial control over the model on the track. It took the sharp entry on the track corner after the launch point way better than expected. So much so that I didn't have to break as much and found it cruising through the rest of the curves and took the course like a pro. You really feel oneness with the car. My rep calls the hatchback the best handling Civic out of all the different versions in the lineup including the coupe. "It's actually more fun to drive than the coupe. They just did the tuning and everything really well on this car."
The Civic Hatch's interior is super comfy and feels standard sizewise for a hatch. Space in the front is comparable to a compact sedan. But as with most hatchbacks, you get more room in back over a standard four-door. Rear seats with a 60/40 split fold give it more accessible cargo space.
A note about the front seats though. While comfy, they aren't very deep so they may not be a great fit it for someone who is on the taller side. (I'm 5'6" and had more than enough room.)
All the Trimmings
Trims are another thing Honda does well with the Civic. You simply pick a trim with the features you want, rather than deal with adding on a bunch of packages to get where you want to be. There are five trims: LX, Sport, EX, EX-L Navi, and Sport Touring. The base LX model starts at a reasonable $20,575. My top-of-the-line Sport Touring press vehicle starts from $29,175 and you get a lot for that nearly $10 grand more. The Sport Touring throws in style flares including gorgeous 18-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof (standard size only, not panoramic like we're seeing on compacts and SUVs right now), and front AND rear heated seats. "Front and rear heated seats for $29K?" I say to the rep. "Yes. Really. The Civic is all about not having a bunch of different add-ons and rather just have good trim levels." I'm a fan. Nothing like that kick in the gut that comes when you realize you can't afford the car because the starting price is a joke.