The Honda Civic hatchback has arrived and managed to match the 11th-generation sedan’s clean looks so completely, that we’re wondering how many people will be able to spot the differences from afar. It’s a major departure from the previous generation, where the hatchback represented some of the boldest styling the company ever tried. Honda has clearly tried to build something less polarizing this time around, with current Civics taking a lot of influence from the fifth generation cars — which are best known for their tastefully understated exteriors, general ubiquity, and being one of the most frequently modified automobiles in history.
Those Civics were also largely indistinguishable from each other when viewed from the front. That’s true today as well, with the only glaring distinction between the body styles being the modern hatchback’s bubble butt and unique taillights. There are also a few trim pieces that separate the two. But the most meaningful differences revolve around packaging, with the hatchback offering more options than it used to.
There is an unfortunate exception, however.
According to the Civic11Forum, Honda Canada has confirmed that the performance Si trim will be exclusive to the sedan. While that may not be true for all markets, the trim has primarily targeted North America (previously as a way to offset the absence of the Type R) and often resulted in Honda making interesting choices. This one is odd because the manufacturer has actually decided to expand availability of manual transmissions (an Si staple) on the hatchback but not the sedan (pictured below).
Despite the standard hatch previously coming with turbo 1.5-liter inline-four, the 2022 model’s LX and Sport trim levels default to the 158-hp naturally aspirated 2.0-liter unit that’s found within its trunked sibling. Meanwhile, the turbocharged 1.5-liter has been installed within the EX-L and Sport Touring trims, offering 180 hp and and 177 lb-ft of torque. While a CVT is standard, Honda will be offering a six-speed manual on any trim that includes the word “sport” in the title — making it an option for either engine.
Interiors are basically identical to what can be found with the sedan until you get into the back half of the car. With the seats raised, the hatchback offers 25 cubic feet of space. It’s about 10 more than you’ll get inside the trunk of the sedan and the hatch’s rear seats can do the 60/40 fold if you find yourself needing to haul more cargo. But the company probably could have made stowage better if it had pursued a true hatchback design, rather than the more-modern clamshell liftback shape.
Someone at the design department definitely prioritized style over substance, here. However you’re still getting substantially more space than what’s available on the sedan and the hatch is technically 4,9 inches shorter overall, so it’s difficult to get too bent out of shape that it’s not slightly easier to load. Though some of us do still prefer the look of a blunted dumper — at least when it comes to cars.
Up front, drivers will find a 7-inch touchscreen and plenty of driver-assistance features via Honda Sensing. But a few of the ones you’ll actually use are locked into higher trim levels. For example, you have to option the EX-L if you want blind-spot monitoring and low-speed braking control (ideal for traffic jams) is only available on the fancier Sport Touring model. Those opting a manual transmission will also find themselves going without Honda’s trio of selectable driving modes so they can have more personal control over the vehicle.
Customers can also upgrade the center screen into a 10.2-inch display, splurge on fancier wheels, add wireless device charging, or upgrade to a fully digital gauge cluster and slicker Bose audio system. But this is again largely dependent upon trim choice. The Civic LX comes with 16-inch wheels, the EX-L yields 17 inchers, and the Sport and Sport Touring both come equipped with blacked out 18-inch wheels with wider rubber (235/40R18 91W).
Pricing is TBD but relatively easy to predict. With the 2022 Honda Civic sedan retailing around $22,000, we’re expecting the hatchback to start very near to it with pricing peaking in the very low $30,000 range — assuming you’ve added all the bells and whistles. They’ll begin appearing at dealerships in the fall.