Hot or not? | 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback First Drive

Lukewarm is one of the most worrisome descriptors we can think of. It's not hot, it's not cold, it's middling. Iced coffee? Sure. Hot coffee? Of course. Lukewarm coffee? Gross. In automotive terms, nobody wants a lukewarm hatchback. There are economy hatches for people who want basic transportation, and there are hot hatches for driving enthusiasts who want to drive fast without giving up some semblance of utility. But where's the vehicle that offers a decent middle ground?

When we heard about the return of the Honda Civic hatchback, we wondered where on the hotness scale it would fall. Turns out we needn't have worried. The 2017 Honda Civic hatchback isn't a hot hatch, and it's not trying to be. What it is, though, is a useful addition to the brand's best-selling compact car, with an entertaining turbocharged engine and enough added utility that it might sway some would-be crossover buyers.

Up until the B-pillar, the Civic hatchback is nearly indistinguishable from its sedan-bodied sibling. And then there's the hatch. With the two parked side-by-side, the sloping rear glass of the hatchback doesn't look all that much different from the similarly sloped sedan. But looks are deceiving – there's 25.7 cubic feet of space behind the hatch's rear seat, which is more than the Ford Focus (23.8), VW Golf (22.8), or Mazda3 (20.2) hatches offer. With the rear seat folded, cargo capacity jumps to 46.2 cubic feet, which is a bit short of the Golf's 52.7, but lines up well with the Focus and Mazda3. For reference, a Civic sedan's trunk measures 15.1 cubic feet.

Check out the video below to see a Civic sedan and hatchback parked next to each other, and stick around to the end of the video to see the Civic hatch's clever side-mounted cargo cover. The second video shows the new Sport Touring trim. Read more...

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07 Jan 2017

By Jeremy Korzeniewski