By on November 8, 2016

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white rear through trees, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

2017 Honda Civic LX Hatchback

1.5-liter turbocharged I4, DOHC, direct injection, Dual VTC (174 horsepower @ 5,500/6,000 rpm; 167/162 lbs-ft @ 1,800-5,500/1,700-5,500 rpm (6MT/CVT))

Six-speed manual, opt. continuously variable transmission

31 city/40 highway/34 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

8.0 city/6.2 highway/7.2 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $20,535 (U.S.) / $23,023.75 (Canada)

Prices include $835 destination charge in United States and $1,723.75 CAD for freight, PDI, and levies in Canada.

As I drive the new 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback through the yellow leaves of Ontario’s autumn, a very tired metaphor comes to mind. You probably know the one. It includes a guy with the initials R.F. — and no, not the one who founded this particular corner of the internet.

I’m going to refuse this inspiration. Leveraging The Road Not Taken in automotive journalism is as banal as quoting Dom Toretto.

Instead, let’s talk about something else entirely: The ’70s.

Disclosure: Honda Canada invited us to Muskoka, just north of Toronto, to put the new Civic Hatchback through its paces. We partook in food, drink, and axe throwing on the company dime. Oh, and they gave me a Civic Nation toque. How Canadian.

It was 1973. After successfully selling motorcycles and two-cylinder cars to Joe Everyman, American Honda introduced the Civic to North American shores. The new four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Civic was, by most accounts, far superior than the Vegas and Pintos Detroit was cranking out at the time.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white oncoming through the trees, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

As the oil crisis hit American checkbooks, Honda’s footprint in America grew. The Civic was a hit. Honda’s CVCC tech meant the Civic didn’t need a catalytic converter to pass emissions, thus ensuring the its diminutive four-pot was less restricted than the much larger engines propelling the Civic’s much larger competitors. Still, no car can go on forever without a refresh and, in 1979, it was time to follow-up the first Civic with a new and improved iteration.

But, just before the second-generation Civic went on sale at American Honda dealers, things got … interesting.

The first Civic was introduced as a three-door hatchback in America and American Honda needed to keep the Civic line fresh until the second-generation Civic arrived. So, American Honda imported a small number of first-generation five-door hatchbacks in 1978.

That, my friends, is the last time Honda sold a five-door hatchback Civic in America.

Seriously. 1978. 38 years ago.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white rear 3/4, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

That is until now.

Taking a page out of its own playbook, Honda is again bestowing us with a hatchback built in the United Kingdom (hold the “British quality” jokes), this time a five-door instead of a three-door hatchback a la seventh-gen Si (SiR in Canada).

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white front 3/4 closeup, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Less is more

Unlike the Civic sedan and coupe, the hatchback is powered solely by Honda’s new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, though it’s available in two different tunes.

I tested the LX model, equipped with the lesser of the two turbo recipes. But it’s not that simple. Your selection of transmission adds another level of complexity to the final output figures. Opt for the manual and you’ll have 174 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque on tap, which returns 30 city/39 highway/33 combined miles per gallon on the EPA five-cycle test. Go with the CVT and the torque number falls to 162 lb-ft, but fuel economy increases to 31 city/40 highway/34 combined mpg.

Should you want a bit more oomph, traverse up the trim ladder and buy a Sport or Sport Touring model, each good for 180 horsepower no matter the transmission choice. In this guise, a different engine map and freer-flowing exhaust increase torque output to 177 lb-ft — but only for the manual model, which is only available on the Sport. Option the CVT on the Sport or go for the Sport Touring that gets the CVT as standard equipment and the torque figure drops back down to 162 lb-ft.

This is one of the times when it pays in performance to row your own.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

But where’s the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder from the sedan and coupe, you may ask? Honda says it wants to position the hatchback as a premium product and the 1.5T is the Civic’s premium engine. Period.

Still, one wonders if the duties and tariffs applied to a UK import might have a bit to do with engine selection: if a car is already going to be expensive, may as well chuck premium gear at it and bring up the profit margin. But, even in Canada, duty is only 6.1 percent, which is barely enough to influence major decisions such as engine selection.

The most likely culprit is a bit simpler: Honda won’t be selling the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in Europe, so why bother going through all the extra effort of shipping 2.0-liter engines to the UK, only to ship them back in a base model car? Doing that is a logistical and financial nightmare — so why bother? Honda hasn’t.

This isn’t your high-school hatchback

As for the car itself, the new hatchback is no EG reprise.

Up front, a slightly more aggressive front bumper and blacked-out grille beak are the only defining characteristics separating the hatchback from its sedan and coupe brethren. Instead, most of the hatchback’s changes are aft of the C-pillar, with a slight change in the roof line behind the first row of seats.

2017 Honda Civic Sedan vs Hatchback, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Even with those changes, the hatchback doesn’t add much capability over and above the sedan. The hatch is more liftback than short wagon. Much like the Mazda 6 hatchback, which did nothing to improve cargo capacity, the Civic enlarged rear door gives one the ability to store larger widgets, but not necessarily more of them.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback cargo area, Image: Honda Canada

Open the rear hatch and you’ll be greeted by 25.7 cu. ft. of cargo space (22.6 in Sport and Sport Touring trims) with the rear seats up, which Honda claims is a 10.6 cu. ft. increase over the sedan. Putting the seats down nets you a total of 46.2 cu. ft. of cargo volume. However, with the seats up, don’t expect to fit more square objects, like luggage, in the hatchback’s trunk than you can in the sedan. This increase in cargo comes from the extra space above where the sedan’s decklid should be, and it’s an oddball shape to be sure.

Aside from that, the hatchback offers the exact same passenger space up front and a little less in the rear versus the sedan. Rear passengers will have a little more head and hip room, but legroom is where the hatchback loses ground to the sedan — 37.4 inches for the sedan versus 36.0 for the hatchback.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback black front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

More of the same, and the same is good — usually

Last year, I drove the 2016 Honda Civic sedan and was pleasantly surprised by its on-road demeanor. No longer did the Civic feel like a cheap tin can. No longer did it feel like the value option. No longer did I wonder if Honda had engineered the engineers out of one of its most important products.

And the same can be said for the hatchback.

If you’re looking for a firm ride, look elsewhere. The Civic hatchback is engineered with comfort in mind. The Civic smooths over small road imperfections and large bumps as best it can with its 106.3-inch wheelbase. Much of that comfort comes from the tall sidewalls surrounding its 16-inch alloys. But don’t let that fool you — the Civic wants to hustle.

On my drive over an incredibly bumpy, twisty country road, the Civic took everything I chucked at it: sweepers, tight corners, off-camber twists, and undulating apexes. Not once did it become unsorted. Not once did I feel on the verge of losing control.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback white front wheel, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

The Civic’s chassis may display understeer at the very limit, but I wouldn’t know. This is a public road test, after all, so I was nowhere near flirting with the limits of grip. But for your spirited driving on a Saturday afternoon, the Civic isn’t going to all of a sudden commit vehicular suicide into a ditch. Steering is light, as are all electric systems, but that didn’t slow us down.

That said, maybe we were pushing a bit too hard. After a particularly twisty section, we did notice a fair bit of brake fade after overheating the brakes — but that’s totally okay. The Civic won’t be enduring the same abuse during a morning commute unless you live at the bottom of the Rockies and work at the top of them.

For all of its technical, dynamic progress, the Civic does feel more staid to drive than its looks would make you believe. It’s not neutered — especially with the manual and turbo mill mated together — but it isn’t heart-pounding. That no surprise, though, and the forthcoming Si and Type R models should remedy that.

But there are two things the Si and Type R won’t fix: the volume knob and other controls in the Civic’s cockpit that are beyond infuriating.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback interior dash, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Hopefully, in the near future, Honda will come to its senses and bring the volume knob back to the Civic’s infotainment system. We’re beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel with the new CR-V (which we’ll be testing this week) that brings back the volume knob as God intended. But there’s another part of the Civic experience that will bug you to no end if you share the car with another driver: the adjustable steering column.

Most adjustable columns have a lever just behind the wheel, either under the column or to the side of it. The Civic’s adjustable steering wheel lever is way, way back, to the point where you’re almost eating the steering wheel reaching for it. If you have back problems, this is an issue — and not one that’s simply of the nuisance variety.

The rest of the interior, in base LX trim, is high-end for the price point. Fabric seats feel premium and offer copious amounts of support and adjustment. Honda has even gone so far as to put tweeter speakers in the rear doors.

2017 Honda Civic Hatchback rear door interior handle and tweeter, Image: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Unlike the other base model Civics, the LX receives a pretty digital instrument cluster. Even the damnation-worthy HondaLink is standard though without navigation, which you don’t need anyway. At least it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There’s one more trick feature Honda has up its sleeve — and it has to do with the trunk. Instead of a trunk tonneau cover that lifts with the hatch or one you much roll for and aft, the cover in the Civic rolls from side to side. The Honda reps said this will save people from removing their truck covers over and over again whenever they need to load large objects. I think it’s an ingeniously simple solution — a solution worthy of Soichiro Honda’s praise

Unfortunately, this rebirth of Honda’s first-generation five-door isn’t priced with ’70s economics in mind.

In the U.S., the Civic LX Hatchback starts at $20,535 USD including $835 USD for destination. In Canada, the LX starts at $23,023.75 CAD — including $1,723.75 CAD for freight, PDI, and levies — which is a whopping $5,000 premium over the sedan. Pricing for the top-end Sport Touring tops out at $31,158.75 CAD in Canada and has not yet been announced for the U.S.

[Images: © 2016 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars, Honda Canada]

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86 Comments on “2017 Honda Civic Hatchback First Drive Review – It’s The ’70s Again...”

  • avatar

    “However, with the seats up, don’t expect to fit more square objects, like luggage, in the hatchback’s trunk than you can in the sedan. This increase in cargo comes from the extra space above where the sedan’s decklid should be, and it’s an oddball shape to be sure.”

    I don’t get why they created a different model that is barely different and not really any more efficient than the sedan.

    • 0 avatar

      To add more utility and efficiency they would have to sell a real long roof wagon. Those don’t sell. I feel the 5-door is sold as the sporty alternative to the sedan, for younger buyers.

      • 0 avatar

        It is. The coupe is for older folk.

        • 0 avatar

          The Civic is for younger folks but is priced at $5k more than the old-folks’ sedan? Ouch; probably also the correct pricing strategy.

          The top end of $31k in Canada is about the cost of a GTI. They must believe that their fans will pay for the reliability reputation, and if so I think they’re correct. I guess they understand the Honda consumer is not a euro-car buyer.

          I wonder if the hot hatch buyer is different though, ie more open to non-Civics and will desert Honda because less value at the higher price. I wonder what other hatches attract those modded out whippersnappers.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike N.

      That’s one thing VW got right with the Golf/GTI over their hatchback competitors (well, at least most of the ones you can buy here), the squared off back that makes the hatch oh so useful.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep the back is all kinds of wrong, actually the whole thing is just too ugly and there are 2 too many doors. If Honda wants to sell a “sporty” Civic then they need to lose those extra doors and bring back the 3 door Si hatch.

        Previous 1985 Civic S1500 owner here.

      • 0 avatar

        Heck Nissan’s still trying to catch up with a Sentra turbo from the Juke hatch and there’s no room in that hatch…

    • 0 avatar

      It has more utility than the sedan, depending on what you use it for. If you are carrying people, it doesn’t. If you frequently go to Home Depot, IKEA, buy large furniture or items off of craigslist, or have dogs, it has MUCH more utility than the sedan.

  • avatar

    I’m looking forward to test driving the Sport…although a part of me wonders if I should hold out for the Si.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Not a compelling choice…

    1. Significantly less rear legroom (more headroom, maybe?).
    2. Bloated profile (“Civic Crosstour”).
    3. No gains in cargo capacity, except for loading ability.
    4. Same hideous looks.
    5. Same poor user interface.

    I predict a fate similar to the 1978 version.

    But the “Civic” – in all its forms – is way outselling last year’s model, regardless of the B&B’s feelings about it.

    • 0 avatar

      For months I’ve been trying to figure out what the designers of this model had in mind, and I think I’ve finally got it. Remember the odd force fields in the movie Dune? This car has the same overwrought angles and facets all over it.

    • 0 avatar

      Your prediction doesn’t seem too informed by the excitement that is being generated for this car in various automotive and consumer outlets.

  • avatar

    Well, I’m annoyed at the poor cargo capacity, and the ugly looks you’ve got to put up with to get said capacity. It has too many panel lines to work well in white, and the sports stripe over 3/4 of the seat is ugly. They could have made it a useful little wagon (you know, like the gen 1 Impreza or more recently the Hyundai i30), but chose to make it a horrible design exercise instead.

    I’ll be interested to see how it stacks up against the Cruze Hatch when someone tests one of those.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      Well, thats because wagons don’t sell. This is the first time I’ve seen where the hatch looks uglier than the Sedan. 9 out of 10 times, the hatch looks better.

  • avatar

    I saw my first one out in the wild on Sunday. It is just as ugly in person as in photos.

    Honda is trying way too hard to look “sporty.” Sometimes simpler is better. These are not going to age well at all. Which is a shame because looks aside it seems like the new Civic is an excellent car.

  • avatar

    The Sport trim has a significant 3.1 cu ft less storage than the non-Sport trims (22.6 vs 25.7). Is that due to the center-mounter rear muffler on the Sport model?

    At the end of the day, the 22.6 cu ft in the Sport is still competitive among other hatchbacks in the class (Focus 23.8, Mazda3 20.2, Golf 22.8).

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure. We didn’t get to drive the Sport. However, I bet it’s because of a trunk-mounted subwoofer or something like that.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s the center exhaust. If you look at the cargo area in the picture above, you can see there is a 2-3 inch drop between the lowered back seats and the floor of the rear cargo area. In the Sport model the floor of the rear cargo area is raised to be even with the laid down rear seats.

  • avatar

    Is it noisier inside than the sedan?

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t call it loud, but it definitely isn’t quiet.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        I am pretty certain that the 2nd generation Civic was also sold as a 5 door in Canada.

        We had two 2nd generations and then two 3rd generation hatches. Plus a Realtime AWD Wagovan and a mid 80’s Accord Sedan. Also in the family were multiple Civic Sedans and a late 80’s Prelude. Later some Acuras and more Accord sedans. For me the mid 80’s Accord with the ‘pop up’ headlights was a real game changer. A much better ride than the various Tauri, Celebrities, 600’s, Cieras and K-Car variants that my co-workers and friends were driving. Of course many of them did eventually switch over to Honda.

        One of our 2nd generation hatches did have the manual choke. None came from the factory with A/C. If you wanted it which in Ontario in the early and mid 80’s was still a ‘luxury’ item, it was a dealer installed upgrade.

        Here is an old TTAC article about the 2nd generation, with a comment from JB.

        One of my close friends had one of the very first Civics sold in Canada. Had a custom black paint job on it prior to taking possession. Compared to our mid/late1960’s and early 1970’s domestics, air cooled VW’s, Cortinas and rear drive Japanese vehicles it was something of a revelation. Only the one Mini in the group was comparable in spirit and the Mini was anything but reliable.

    • 0 avatar

      That ‘s one big reason I don’t like hatchbacks, they always seem to do a poor job with road noise.

    • 0 avatar

      Generally, Honda vehicles has and still NOT known for its quietness.

  • avatar

    So ugly. But at least it makes the sedan look better.

  • avatar

    I would love to read a Vellum Venom of the new Civic. To my eyes, it just seems so overwrought and aesthetically discombobulated…which is why I would love to see Sajeev analyze and break it down to see what the reason might have been.

  • avatar

    That, my friends, is the last time Honda sold a five-door hatchback Civic in America.

    Seriously. 1978. 38 years ago.

    Wow so I’m just old enough to say that “Honda has sold 5 door Civic hatches in the United States twice during my lifetime.”

    These compact sedans are getting to be so midsize they are showing up on my radar more and more. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have given them a second thought.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. I looked at the sedan-comparison picture and couldn’t stop staring at how ginormous the hatch is. I guess FiST and Fiat are the last small hatches standing.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        Spark, Sonic, smart, Mirage, Rio, Accent, etc.

      • 0 avatar

        Depending on how you categorize things, you could also lump in the new Cruze, the Soul, the upcoming Niro (170″ long, just a little bigger than a Golf), the Mazda 3, and the about to be released Impreza. You could add in the 4 door Mini, the Countryman, and, if you swing horizontally, the Clubman (which is almost the exact same length as a Golf). Yes, I’m shopping this segment now, once my buyback check from VW is arranged.

        The Civic hatch is longer than any of the cars above– nearly Prius and Volt sized. The Soul is the shortest (around 163″)

    • 0 avatar

      Honda Civic came as a 5 door small wagon hatch in the 80s and early 90s and a 3 door that could have been called a 3 door wagon or a 3 door hatch.

  • avatar

    I actually saw one of these in person the other day (a first) and it looked a lot better in person than in photos. Still flashy, still too loud for some, but it definitely is better in person than in pics.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Hands up if you had to look up what a toque is.

    -hand up-

  • avatar

    How did the CVT work out, Mark?

    I tried a base LX Civic with one and it was actually decent. Plus with the LX you don’t have to deal with the stupid touchscreen.

    And on the styling…this is one of those cars that looks a lot better in person than it does in pictures.

  • avatar

    “That, my friends, is the last time Honda sold a five-door hatchback Civic in America.”

    What about the Civic Wagovan? Or doesn’t that count?

    • 0 avatar

      That doesn’t count because it was a wagon.

      • 0 avatar

        I realize I’m several days late and at least a full paycheck short, but…

        Honda never offered the first gen 5door hatch in the US. All the US ever got was the wagon to go along with the 2door (with the N600-style trap door trunk panel below the fixed back glass) and the 3door hatch back. The wagon was available from 75-79, and was followed by the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gen wagons through 91.

        I won’t say there aren’t some grey market (or Canadian) 5dr hatches in the states, but American Honda’s parts catalog agrees with all the research I’ve done on my own. Honda never imported them to the US.

        Just for the sake of clarity
        1st gen civic 5dr hatch (note the lack of 1/4 window):

        1st gen civic 5dr wagon:

  • avatar

    I actually think Honda hit a home run with the styling on this generation of Civic. Those rims though are awful.

    • 0 avatar
      Quick Double Nickel

      Word. Honda and Hyundai have been moving in an odd direction with wheel designs. I’m actually in the market to purchase a new Civic, but the thought of having to spend at least another $1k to replace the wheels with something decent is definitely making me think again.

  • avatar

    My GF checked this car out as a possible replacement for her soon-to-be-boughtback Golf TDI. The styling was, er, polarizing. It pretty much polarized her right out of the showroom.

    It’s looking like the new-for-17 Mazda3 5-door hatch in Grand Touring guise will be her replacement of choice. We’re waiting for one to show up locally to give it a look-see and test drive. The only car in the class still available with a stick at the highest trim level, other than the GTI Autobahn, which is overkill and a lot more expensive.

  • avatar

    tl;dr It’s nice that other companies are catching up in the quality department so there are choices beyond Toyota and Honda,

  • avatar

    I bought a Black LX 4 days ago and like it a lot so far. It is really for my daughter and is her first car so she loves it. With black you hardly notice the panels.

    I am 6’3″ and fit in the back seats well behind my 5’4″ daughter.
    I paid $19,154 plus TTL so I am happy that they don’t seem too popular yet. Both my wife and daughter think it looks much better than the sedan and I agree. They just seem to look better in person.

    It is faster than my 2016 accord and handles better but yes you really need to put the seat down to get good use of the cargo capacity.. my xl bicycle still needs to remove the front wheel to fit in back but my wife’s small bicycle can manage without removing a wheel.

    I like the 16 wheels much better than the really ugly ones on the EX.
    So far we are getting 35MPG (accord to the trip computer)in about 50% city driving and 50% at 75MPH.

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    My 1990 4wd civic Wagovan is more of a hatch than a true wagon. 5 doors, more interior space than a Mazda3 (have owned both, the tale of the tape may be in Mazda’s favor, but usable space tips towards the Civic) and gets 30+ freeway MPG and 25 city MPG every tank.

    Having a usable 1-low gear is incredibly handy during stop and go city traffic and if your kids are bored in the back seat, they can roll the windows up and down for fun.

    The only need that the 2017 fills over the Wagovan is the need to haul around the 1,000 lbs of product bloat that 27 years have added.

    • 0 avatar

      In all honesty, the Fit is the real replacement for the Civic Wagovan.

      • 0 avatar
        Old Man Pants (nee Kenmore)

        “In all honesty, the Fit is the real replacement for the Civic Wagovan.”

        For now. If there’s a next generation it’ll most likely get HR-Ved in the back.

        • 0 avatar

          I’d definitely call the Civic Wagon a wagon, owing to the height of the car and the existence of a sizeable rear cargo area window (C and D pillars). My family went from a ’90 Wagon to an ’07 Fit as the replacement. The Fit has served faithfully, but it’s missing a lot of that old wagon. Namely that awesome low center of gravity and informative steering, as well as a total fishbowl cabin in terms of visibility, with an insanely low cowl and upright windshield. The closest I’ve come to it since has oddly enough been a Montero Limited. The Fit definitely feels more hatch-like, it has a shorter cargo area, and much less glass there as well.

  • avatar

    This car [in my mind] same as Nissan Juke – it has equal amount of things I like as those I don’t. And this is the problem for me.

  • avatar
    Henry Leung

    Wow, pricey. Touring Price is approaching VW GTI Territory. I guess you pay for Honda’s reliability reputation.

  • avatar

    Former ’83 Civic 1300FE owner. I lost interest in Hondas decades ago. I want to like this but I just don’t. If I buy new hatchback in the next few years, it is more likely to be a Cruze or a Mazda3. If they next Focus doesn’t have that transmission, I might consider it.

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Completely and utterly hideous.

  • avatar

    Nice to see Honda paying tribute to the 2003 Hyundai Elantra GT.

  • avatar

    Regarding the cargo area, I think if you carry a lot of small things they you will be disappointed. If you carry a few larger things than maybe not. I’d always choose the hatch just for the few times I need it.

  • avatar

    I would love to have my ’70s Honda Civic hatchback again. It was a ’77, yellow, with a 5-speed manual. Simplicity embodied.
    We all have a car from when we were younger that we wish were still in the garage.

  • avatar

    Big Honda fan. Owned about 7-8 of them so far. The looks of the new Civic never grew on me. Also, I fit better upfront in a new Corolla than in the new Civic. I am convinced that the Civic is the better driver, but if I can’t get comfortable behind the wheel, performance doesnt matter much.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    The styling is too busy – not like classic Hondas of yore.

  • avatar

    As a fan of compact hatchbacks, I’d take the sedan.

  • avatar

    Too bad it’s so hideous

  • avatar

    Fugly! I’d take the Cruze HB any day over this monstrosity.

  • avatar

    I won’t buy another new civic, I love my 03 but the wifes 11 seems like the build quality is not that good, and the rear suspension is horrible on her car. They lost me, and I don’t want any of that government mandated crap that comes with all the new cars, like that stupid screen and the horrible tpms system, ugghhh.

    • 0 avatar

      My wife has a 2012 Civic and she hates it. I do too. Uncomfortable and a tin can. A major flaw is when the battery dies you can’t unlock the car. It must be towed because they did away with regular door locks. It’s not just Honda but there are too many doo dads and gizmos.

      Don’t believe everything you read. This is not a good car.

      • 0 avatar

        1) Are you certain there’s not a keyhole in the driver’s door?
        2) You towed the car rather than getting a new battery for the remote?

        • 0 avatar

          I will clarify.

          We had a 2012 Honda Civic. In August the cars battery died. (It was 4 years old and heat kills a lead acid battery) This vehicle has no old fashioned keyed locks ANYWHERE. It’s all remote controlled. So my wife goes to the store and I get a call that the car is not responding to the remote. Thinking it’s the remote battery I bring one and replace it. Nothing. I check the button cells and both are good. The car won’t unlock and we can’t unlock it manually. SO I call the shop I deal with and they tow it in. As soon as my friend sees the car he said the battery is dead in the car and when it does that nothing unlocks. He sees it all the time. He also showed me the emergency unlock to the hood underneath. Once open the battery is changed and we are on our way. We had no clue. But it’s dumb. All cars should be able to unlock with the key. Manually. What if you can’t get underneath? Looking in the manual there is a small excerpt: If car does not respond have it towed to a Honda dealer for service.

          So to save money they eliminated the keylocks. Of course it’s also a way to have the dealer sell you a new battery. That’s not a bad thing but I’m sure it’s more profitable to sell parts and services than selling new cars. So Honda put some half baked hood release in place of a real set of keys making opening the car entirely dependent on a remote control. And less secure in the process. We just got rid of it. It seems many makers sell models like this but I think it’s not safe.
          We bought a Chevrolet instead. With keylocks LOL sometimes the old way is the better way.

          • 0 avatar

            According to the Honda parts catalog, every trim level of USDM 2012 civic has a key hole in the driver’s door. Base models have one in the passenger door as well.

            According to the Honda parts catalog, no version of the 2012 civic has a smart key.

            According to the Honda parts catalog, no version of the 2012 civic has an emergency external hood release.

            According to the Honda service manual, no version of the 2012 civic has an emergency external hood release.

            Honda gave the 2014 civic a smart key, but the fob houses an actual key blade and the car still has a hole in the driver’s door. The 2014 service manual and parts catalog also do not indicate an emergency external hood release.

            I’m in awe of this car your wife currently “has”, and that you guys currently “have”, but that you also “just got rid of”…it sounds like a rare piece. Where can I look for the emergency hood release on the car, so I can find it in the parts catalog?

          • 0 avatar


            You are my favorite person here today.

          • 0 avatar

            See, mom? Someone /does/ like a pedant!

          • 0 avatar

            As I said there were no keylocks whatsoever. We had the car until the other day. SMH parts catalog. You don’t know me or my experience but your name says it all. A psycho. Does Honda pay your bills? I doubt it. Grow up and stop being a geek.

            You all need to lighten up.

          • 0 avatar

            you are probably correct….you almost certainly had a car and an experience that is not reflected, in any way, by Honda’s official dealer-level information.

            Sure, I don’t know you. Likewise, you are unfamiliar with the fact that I’ve worked in the parts and service department of a Honda dealer for over a decade.

            So, I’m honestly asking…where was the emergency hood release located on your car? I really want to know why the catalog I use to sell parts to bodyshops in five states does not have these very important parts listed. I’ve sold a bunch of front ends of than gen civic, and I’ve never sold (or been told I missed) that part of the system.

            Thanks for the insight!

          • 0 avatar

            No problem.
            Like I said this is absolutely true. I sold the car so it’s too late but I would have taken pics for you to see.

            It was not clearly marked but if you knew where to look there it was. After it came off the flatbed and because the brake was applied the man slid under the car and released the hood. He showed me what to do. Just reach up and pull on the hood release. There was a handle.

            And there were absolutely no keylocks. This is a trend now it seems.

            My first car was a 1980 Honda Civic wagon with a 1500cc engine and a semi-automatic transmission. I had to shift gears without a clutch. No tach but had to listen to the motor. I loved that car. Simple. Basic. 340,000 miles and 2 tranny rebuilds. It was a problematic design.

            When I met my wife she had just purchased a 1993 Acura Integra 5 door hatch. Great car. She swears to this day I loved that car more than her…it’s a secret LOL

            Which leads us to the 2012 civic. I loved Hondas but this car really was a bad experience. Aside from the problem I had with the cars weird design. It was uncomfortable and Honda clearly cut corners with build quality and materials. That’s why I bought a Chevrolet Cruze. So time will tell.

            I was an industrial designer, now retired. I used to design and build assembly line machinery often from scratch. The company I worked for wouldn’t work with Japanese companies as they would “borrow” ideas. LOL

          • 0 avatar

            I will totally agree that 2012 was a turd…that’s why it’s one-year-only car. The 2013 is the same platform, but it got a far more aggressive styling package because the 2012 was universally despised.

            The rolling consensus around here is that your 2012 had a passenger side filler panel (from a car with keyless entry, so there’s no keyhole on that side) installed on the driver’s side. It seems to fit pretty well, and it covers the door lock to keep from having the hole.

            Lots of newer VWs come that way from the factory. None of the Hondas do, but Honda cannot control what owners do to the cars after they leave the dealership. If you bought it used, a previous owner may have swapped that garnish.

            I just pulled a 12-15 hood latch off the shelf, there is no “handle”. there is the tang that the cable attaches to, and yes…it is accessible from the outside so that broken hood cables can actually be replaced, but it’s not designed with “replacing a dead battery because I cannot get into my car” in mind.

            so…did you buy your car new?

          • 0 avatar

            That Honda I bought new and the car that replaced it I bought new.

            I never liked that Civic but my wife did. What do women know> You know what I mean. I wanted to replace it with a Fit. But in my area Hondas command a high price, new and used.

            I just saw a 2012 Civic and it was the same as the one I had. I’ll take a picture , but can I post here?

  • avatar

    The front and rear bumpers are hideous. Smooth surfaces without the fake doohickey panels of solid honey comb, dirt catching, never get clean I hate you forever surface would look so much better. It is like a 12 year old had a great idea and it went into production.

  • avatar

    The worst thing is that this was Honda’s first British-built hatchback:

    What I wouldn’t give to have the current Civic’s mechanicals in that body.

  • avatar

    Seriously that is ONE UGLY CAR.

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