2017 Honda Civic – Test Drive, Review, Ratings, Specs

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Some Form of Sex Appeal

For those born in my era, the Civic used to be just a Civic. Fast forward to modern times, the 10th generation now shows off new and wild looks that is sure to turn heads while driving down the block. A closer view or even a squint of an eye will reveal some of its visual genetics derived from the glamorous NSX. Yes, it really does look that good. There’s deep and heavy sculpturing happening in and around the front hood that gives off that visual harmony of elegance and athleticism. Add points from its deep mascara and slim-line LED headlights to its cosmetic scorecard.

Honda attempts to further the versatility of its crown jewel with the introduction of the 5-door Civic hatchback model for 2017. Other than fresh looks from the back, the inner workings remain the same as last year’s with all models offering a one and only 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected and turbocharged in-line 4-cylinder engine. Power output is rated at 174 horsepower for the LX, EX, EX-L and Navi models. The Sports, and Sports touring model manages to squeeze out a bit more juice by pushing up the power output to 180 horsepower. Gear shifts are managed by either a CVT available in all trims, or a more engaging 6-speed manual transmission offered only in the LX, and Sports trims.

The Interior

The LX test model in hand comes with an interior stitched with mediocre black cloth fabric and layered with lower grade plastic injection molded plastic throughout. The center console doesn’t have much going on either with a basic 7″ infotainment touchscreen that was finicky, a basic driver dashboard, and the usual media and entertainment button controls mounted on its steering wheel. While lacking in quality touch and feel, there are some basic tech features included such as heated front seats and also available in rear seats, side-view cameras, wireless phone charging that I could never seem to get working, and a rear view camera. But in terms of versatility, the 60/40 rear folding seats makes things easier and more accessible especially for the 5-door hatchback model. The Civic lives up to its name with astonishing EPA ratings of 31/40/34 mpg city, highway, and combined respectively.

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Rear seating arrangement is tight, but manageable. As a 5’7 adult, I had little trouble getting in and out of the rear seats, though legroom can be a slight squeeze, and may become uncomfortable for longer duration rides.

A Controllable Fun Ride

The Civic dashes like the skinny, but athletic kid in high school. There’s minimal hesitation in acceleration from standstill thanks to its feather light curb weight of just a sub 2,900 pounds and the turbo starts to kick into gear when the engine speed breaches 6500 RPM into the red zone. Quick turns are of no problems with the Civic. Although a front wheel drive configuration, understeer is minimized through Honda’s Agile Handling Assist technology available in the Sports Touring model that automatically applies braking on the inside wheels to produce more yaw moment under high lateral G turns. Overall, the Civic is quick and responsive, and that’s what elevates the driving excitement.

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Ride comfort isn’t the best, and wind and road noise is noticeable within the cabin space during city and highway driving. Still, the Civic is quiet and composed under most scenarios without too many complaints. The base price of the LX model is priced competitively at just $21,490, the Sports model at $25,920, and finally the Sports Touring at $29,490. The base LX model comes jam packed with a plethora of standard options including the majority of safety tech features, bluetooth audio and streaming, and even front heated seats. The Sport feature starts to up the game with dual climate controls, walk-away door lock, and leather wrapped steering wheel. Only until you opt in on the Sports Touring model do you get leather interior. And unfortunately, that’s where things start to get expensive if you want a more quality interior.

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What ultimately counts is the fun factor and ultra responsive driving charisma and excellent fuel economy. Coupling that with sharp looks funnels down to a car that is of proud ownership.

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Specifications

  • Vehicle : 2017 Honda Civic
  • Model : Honda Civic Hatchback
  • Vehicle Type : 5-door Hatchback
  • Seating Capacity : 2+3
  • Powertrain Configuration : FWD
  • Engine : 1.5-liter DOHC direct-injected and turbocharged inlined V4
  • Transmission : 5-speed manual, CVT
  • Fuel Economy: 31/40/34 mpg city, highway, and combined

Pros

  • Elgant and sporty exterior styling
  • Quick and nimble driving characteristic
  • Excellent fuel economy

Cons

  • Cheap quality plastic interior
  • Basic ride quality