By on February 26, 2020

Those of us in a certain age bracket, which is to say rapidly approaching our fortieth year or more, recall the Honda Civic as a primarily hatchback form of transportation. Sure, a few weirdos went and got the sedan or coupe but, by and large, the Civic was a hatchback. At least in our town.

Then, it suddenly disappeared from dealer lots in North America. The seventh-gen car was available in coupe or sedan form on this side of the pond, save for the slightly oddball Si and its bent-nail gearstick. Mercifully, it reappeared in volume for the current model.

We’ve studied the Civic sedan and coupe in this series but not the hatchback. Let’s right that wrong today.

Right off the bat, we’ll point out that the base Civic hatchback is only available with Honda’s CVT, a decision which almost scuppered this post before it even started. Its absence is conspicuous thanks to a tasty six-speed manual offered in the one-rung-up Sport trim, which is a $1,100 walk from the $21,750 LX. Consider it carefully.

Under the hood is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four banger making 174 horsepower. An EPA estimated 40 mpg highway is more than enough to conjure memories of another Civic hatch — the high mileage VX from the ‘90s which, incidentally, was rated at a high-sky 55 mpg.

Honda’s proud of its Sensing suite of technologies, a raft of driver assistance kit that is surely a boon to young or new drivers. Adaptive cruise control is on board, along with lane keeping assist and road departure mitigation. These features were the domain of expensive German machinery not too long ago.

Elsewhere, the LX includes features one would expect in a $20k hatchback, such as air conditioning and all manner of power accessories. One vexing item is the infotainment system which, on the base car, is woefully understaffed compared to all other Civics. Its 5-inch LCD screen is smartphone sized and is absent of CarPlay, Android Auto, and even SiriusXM. The Sport, mentioned earlier in this post with a stickshift for an extra $1,100, has a 7-inch screen plus both Apple and Android interfaces. Still no SiriusXM, though.

It’s that final feature (or lack thereof) which robs the 2020 Civic hatch its Ace of Base trophy. A good infotainment is nearly as important as fuel economy and powertrain to some folks; the one found in the LX trim is lacking a few important tools. Take a gander at the Sport trim instead, especially one with the manual transmission. Call the Civic hatchback an “Ace of Base +1,” then.

[Image: Honda]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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31 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback LX...”

  • avatar

    Doesn’t the Sport get the cool center exhaust, too? That and a larger screen would be well worth another Grand to me.

  • avatar

    SiriusXM wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me. We had it for a year with our car and it wasn’t much better than the local radio here in small town America. I would pay $15 per year at most for it.

    With AA or BT, I could play music off the phone if we were on a road trip.

    The Civic would be on my radar but they are a little small for us.

    • 0 avatar

      Not only that but every year you have to call and go thru a song and dance to get the price down. Like you say it’s all available on your phone mostly for free.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        Hear, hear. I was a 15-year subscriber and I just got tired of the annual dance for a reasonable rate. Discovered these past 5 months that NPR, Spotify, a number of digital stations and podcasts fulfill my needs. I do miss XMU and The Beatles channel on occasion but not that much….

    • 0 avatar

      “SiriusXM wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me. We had it for a year with our car and it wasn’t much better than the local radio here in small town America. ”

      I find that very hard to believe. IME “small town radio” is either country garbage or “And unto him, JESUS SAID…”

      • 0 avatar


        ….the capper. You know you are in real hickville when, Tradeo comes on.

        I must have XM. If a new car doesnt offer it, the manufacturer is trying to screw you.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Even when I drive rental vehicles with ‘free’ Sirius I never use it. CBC Radio for me. And I have yet to drive somewhere in Canada where I cannot receive it.

          As for the Civic, hate the styling. Hate those sloping rooflines and chopped off hatch. Without a more vertical back window/hatch a hatchback is not much more useful than a sedan/coupe with a trunk.

        • 0 avatar

          I recently got into a new CLA 250 loaner. It did not have sat radio and required a chip for nav. The dash was a singe screen but no sat radio. I was amazed that a 46k sticker car could miss this. Dont the manufacturers still subsidize installation ? That and no way to turn off stop/start.

      • 0 avatar

        We have 4 Christian stations, 3 classic rock, 2 hard rock, 3 country that I know of for sure, NPR on a couple frequencies, a teenie bop and easy listening on FM and a ton of crap on AM plus oldies. Those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head.

        XM had the same music for classic and hard rock and replayed the stuff about the same frequency so it isn’t worth paying for. It does have less christian music overall than our local stations.

        Dad wants it for the Elvis station but his XM can’t get to work.

      • 0 avatar

        JimZ chill out. I had SiriusXM. The audio quality sucks big waay to the point that it hurts my ears. I much more prefer local HD Audio FM stations. There are plenty of them. BTW I listen rock/new wave from 80s/90s, alternative rock, jazz and “classical music”.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I play their games and haven’t had my monthly bill be more than 7 bucks a month since I got it in my truck in 2015. The app now has a lot of extra channels and shows I find myself listening to. There was one on early Grunge the other day where they played a lot of Green River, Mother Love Bone, and the bands thet were there before Nevermind hit and it became cool. I like that sort of stuff (they do that stuff for other genres too).

      Additionally I enjoy Stern’s interviews if not some of his more juvenile stuff. It’s like old school Playboy interviews (and I mean that as a positive).

      I have that for most of my listening and YouTube Music/Google Play music for when I want to hear an album I don’t physically own (it came with Youtube TV or Red. CD collection is ripped to lossless and on a USB stick for the stuff I care about.

      Anyway, XM is good at 7 bucks a month for me. Probably wouldn’t pay more though.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Nothing it has gets me past the Godzilla meets Mothra styling.
    Still love the ‘06 generation. Everything since then has been boring or horrifying.

  • avatar

    Compared to my 2000 Civic hatchback, this one is an ugly blob of boogers. Plus it’s a turbo. No go.

  • avatar

    I like the practicality of the hatchback, but the styling is too “hump back” for my taste.
    If only Honda would make the Accord into a hatchback…

  • avatar

    I’m admittedly not much of a Honda fan (outside of the Odyssey) but their 1.5T/CVT combo might be one of the most overrated powertrains in recent automotive journalism history.

  • avatar

    While the screen and capabilities of the base audio are meager, it’s still compatible with aftermarket audio, unlike it’s upmarket cousins.

    If you get the more-advanced system a lot of the car-control functions (climate, locks, maintenance minder, light controls, safety features, etc.) migrate at least somewhat onto the touchscreen, meaning you can never swap out the factory stereo for something else, ever.

  • avatar

    It kills me how the styling of this thing was lauded after the last design was so hated. This thing is fugly AF.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’m a fan of the British made imported to the US 2002-05 EP3 Civic Si three door. The more cab forward styling and dash with the protruding shifter was when Honda still showed its quirky edge.
    I know three doors are less popular these days but a new version of this based on the current five door would be neat.

  • avatar

    This is [email protected], not AOB
    – NO variable wipers — Two-Speed Intermittent Windshield Wipers
    – NO Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
    – NO Passenger-Side Seatback Pocket

    What AOB? trash

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    I find Satellite radio bashers generally live east of the Mississippi and have no idea that out in “The West” you can drive three hours without a radio, or cellphone signal.

    That’s what makes the $80.00/yr subscription to XM radio very appealing to those of us who live in that part of the country.

    XM will give you a radio-but you would need to install it. Honda has always been “funky” about option packages-what option comes with what model. So-yes lack of satellite radio could be a deal breaker for me.

    • 0 avatar

      I live in Michigan and listen to Sirius every day I drive. I used to have a big collection of MP3s – that I got tired of so Sirius, though not perfect, is usually good enough for me.

      but please, First Wave, stop playing so many Talking Heads songs!

      • 0 avatar
        Menar Fromarz

        I thought it was too many TH, Morresey, and Adam Ant. At least they haven’t played Parachute Club. I may have to cancel over that one.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Lithium and Stern Interviews are worth the 7 bucks a month IMHO.

        • 0 avatar

          I have decent cell coverage, so I can get away with streaming. Streaming Amazon Unlimited with an Echo Auto in the car is awesome. Just think of a song or album and call it out. Chances are it will have it and play it. On one of my cars, it’s even integrated with the steering wheel controls if I want to skip a tune. You can even pull up radio stations via tune-in. If you have a compatible smart home system, you can control that too, like asking for lights to be turned on as you near home.

  • avatar

    Has Honda resolved the oil dilution problem and how reliable do you think the 1.5L turbo will be? Will it last me ten years without spending money on repairs? I understand maintenance but I don’t want to worry about repairs. I drove the 2020 Civic SI and loved the way it drove, seriously considering one of them but it doesn’t have a spare tire!

  • avatar

    So ugly.

  • avatar

    When this generation of civic came out in Canada, the hatchback was the cheapest way to get the turbo engine and it was a good deal as it also came with the 6 speed. Last time I looked they increased the price by several thousand dollars so its a lot less appealing.

  • avatar

    It really is an inelegant little pierce of styling rubbish, this hatchback. A general lack of them in these parts compared to the sedan, itself no visual delight. Excrescense City with built in fake fan jet intake and exhaust defines the hatchback as a toy. Made to appeal to a seven year old with a sci-fi cartoon fantasy obsession – a sense of taste develops at a later age, but not at Honda Styling these days. I mean look at that broken back Odyssey with whimsical side scallops; it’s dreadful too, and they don’t export them to Japan becoause it’s also a minor elephant – they have their own smaller vehicle by the same name and its front end is proof that bad taste never rests there either.

    If one can get past the looks, I can’t, it still shows that Honda can make technically advanced vehicles in the UK to include the CTR at prices well below what BMW apparently needs to knock together a MINI of only average quality in the same country. MINI has a lengthy option list for stuff that should be there in the first place. No three cylinder doohickey in the Honda either – it isn’t even a fair fight, a K20 versus a 3 cylinder turbo in the Ace of Bass stakes.

    So, there’s that. Can’t stand cutesy MINIs either – I don’t get their schtick at all, nor am I convinced they do themselves.

    Glad I got that of my chest today. I feel much better now, thanks.

  • avatar

    Awful car. I could not believe how tinny this thing was compared to my Elantra. It is made like tin foil – the doors weigh nothing. It has poor seating position – awkward dash with gimmicks – and the sightlines to the outside are awful.

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