Sedan or coupe used to be the only choices you had when buying a Civic the past few years. But the Hatch is back.
With its European flair, this Civic is even assembled in jolly old England. And dare we say it—the Hatch is the perfect choice for enthusiasts, and especially enthusiasts seeking practicality.
For those that opt for the Hatch in its Sport guise must be prepared for a highly-tunable machine that gets the goods right from the get-go. The Sport offers a bit more horsepower and torque from the factory, but also adds niceties such as a leather steering wheel, leather shift knob, sport aluminum pedals, red dashboard lighting, and the very-important, killer-looking center mount exhaust. This thing needs a performance cat-back, stat! The exhaust looks so cool, why does the center exhaust from the factory need to be so quiet?
Somebody tuning at the factory happens with a cool front splitter and some additional design cues out back. Luckily, they are colored black so for those wanting a VeilSide kit when it becomes available will not feel too bad about adding additional body cladding.
The days of VTEC of yore are dwindling, but have no fear. The company never known for forced induction from the factory has turned to turbocharging for reduced engine size and better economy. Direct fuel injection in the Civic keeps emissions low, economy up, and the proper air-fuel ratio for turbocharging. The 180-horsepower 1.5 liter in the Hatch Sport pulls pretty darn good—and the six-speed manual even gives enthusiasts willing to row-their-own gears a touch more horsepower—but the aftermarket will crave more boost.
This block designed for boost will respond even more favorably than the old R16, R18, and R20 variants of the last generation Civic. Those engines could take boost without being specifically designed for it.
Another real nicety of the new Civic is the quieter cabin that is getting closer to that of a midsize vehicle. Acoustic glass and integrated carpet insulators keep the noise level down and add some more solidity to the vehicle. The end result works nicely—one passenger I gave a lift to was amazed that the total package price of my tester came it at $22,175.
The Sport Civic wears 18-inch gorgeous wheels from the factory. It would be tough to justify changing them, but a 19-inch wheel would give a touch more grip and better looks. The stance of the Hatch sits a bit high so 19-inches with a little drop from a lowering spring or entire upgraded suspension would be amazing for the enthusiasts. It is a far cry from when we had to do +3- or +4-inch wheel upgrades just 10 short years ago to get things ‘looking tight.’
Economy comes in at 33 MPG overall with the manual transmission, and I got about 32 MPG so Honda’s figures are right on the money. So even customers who will be tuning and ‘beating on’ the Hatch should still get some decent numbers.
About my only complaint with the Civic during my testing was the inability of the HVAC to produce warm air quickly. Heated seats are not available in this trim level, but added on as an aftermarket addition they would be perfect…the heat coming from the vents takes its sweet time.
The texture of the ‘Sport Seats’ look great, are resistant to staining, and would benefit greatly by aftermarket heating elements. Aftermarket seat heaters would warm up the fabric quickly.
Overall the Civic Hatch is an ultimate sport compact tuning platform.
Its comes from the factory well-equipped. But that will not hinder today’s Civic enthusiasts of taking the vehicle to the next level.