Honda Canada is calling 2016 the “Year of the Civic.” And for good reason: it was named the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) Canadian Car of the Year, the North American Car of the Year, and it is currently the best selling passenger car in the country. Now, the manufacturer caps off the good news off by announcing the arrival of the hatchback variant.
A hatchback has almost always been present in the Civic lineup, since the time the very first model was released in the early 1970s as an entry-level subcompact. Only in recent years did the five-door disappear from showroom floors, but returns again in the 10th generation.
If the front end looks familiar, that’s because the majority of the B pillar forward is shared with the sedan, minus the grille and front bumper. The other half, however, is completely new. Inspired by European styling — the hatch is built in the U.K., after all — the liftgate steeply rakes downward, intersecting with the upper corners of the taillights that blend into a flared lip section. A cool discreet spoiler sits on top of the rear window, and the rear bumper features a pair of large blacked out vents giving a distinctly aggressive appearance.
Sold in LX, Sport and Sport Touring trims, the latter two receive a little extra differentiation such as a full aero kit, 18-inch alloy wheels and a centre exit dual exhaust system.
Due its practical shape, this Civic can hold up to 728 litres of cargo behind the second row seating, which is 82 L more than the Ford Focus and 156 more than the Mazda3. For privacy, the hatchback has a tonneau cover hidden inside a housing mounted off to the side that slides across, rather than a conventional cover retracting outwards from a bulky bar that needs to be removed when hauling large objects.
The interior remains largely identical to the sedans and coupes, and the engine is also familiar. In Canada, all hatchback versions of the Civic use the same 1.5 L turbocharged four-cylinder engine similar to the unit found in upper level 10th gens. Outputs vary slightly between the grades: the base LX generates 174 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and via performance tuning, a different exhaust system and the requirement of premium fuel, Sport and Sport Touring eke out an additional six horsepower for a total of 180. Both a six-speed manual transmission and CVT are offered.
Slotting in above the other two body styles in terms of features and pricing, the LX starts at $21,390, the Sport at $25,190 and the Sport Touring at $29,390. All come with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, as well as optional Honda Sensing safety suite with technologies including a collision mitigation system, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.