By on June 24, 2021

The Honda Civic hatchback has arrived and managed to match the 11th-generation sedan’s clean looks so completely, that we’re wondering how many people will be able to spot the differences from afar. It’s a major departure from the previous generation, where the hatchback represented some of the boldest styling the company ever tried. Honda has clearly tried to build something less polarizing this time around, with current Civics taking a lot of influence from the fifth-generation cars — which are best known for their tastefully understated exteriors, general ubiquity, and being one of the most frequently modified automobiles in history.

Those Civics were also largely indistinguishable from each other when viewed from the front. That’s true today as well, with the only glaring distinction between the body styles being the modern hatchback’s bubble butt and unique taillights. There are also a few trim pieces that separate the two. But the most meaningful differences revolve around packaging, with the hatchback offering more options than it used to.

There is an unfortunate exception, however. 

According to the Civic11Forum, Honda Canada has confirmed that the performance Si trim will be exclusive to the sedan. While that may not be true for all markets, the trim has primarily targeted North America (previously as a way to offset the absence of the Type R) and often resulted in Honda making interesting choices. This one is odd because the manufacturer has actually decided to expand the availability of manual transmissions (a Si staple) on the hatchback but not the sedan (pictured below).

Despite the standard hatch previously coming with turbo 1.5-liter inline-four, the 2022 model’s LX and Sport trim levels default to the 158-hp, naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter unit that’s found within its trunked sibling. Meanwhile, the turbocharged 1.5-liter has been installed within the EX-L and Sport Touring trims, offering 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. While a CVT is standard, Honda will be offering a six-speed manual on any trim that includes the word “sport” in the title — making it an option for either engine.

Interiors are basically identical to what can be found with the sedan until you get into the back half of the car. With the seats raised, the hatchback offers 25 cubic feet of space. It’s about 10 more than you’ll get inside the trunk of the sedan and the hatch’s rear seats can do the 60/40 fold if you find yourself needing to haul more cargo. But the company probably could have made stowage better if it had pursued a true hatchback design, rather than the more-modern clamshell liftback shape.

Someone at the design department definitely prioritized style over substance, here. However you’re still getting substantially more space than what’s available on the sedan and the hatch is technically 4,9 inches shorter overall, so it’s difficult to get too bent out of shape that it’s not slightly easier to load. Though some of us do still prefer the look of a blunted dumper — at least when it comes to cars.

Upfront, drivers will find a 7-inch touchscreen and plenty of driver-assistance features via Honda Sensing. But a few of the ones you’ll actually use are locked into higher trim levels. For example, you have to option the EX-L if you want blind-spot monitoring and low-speed braking control (ideal for traffic jams) is only available on the fancier Sport Touring model. Those opting for a manual transmission will also find themselves going without Honda’s trio of selectable driving modes so they can have more personal control over the vehicle.

Customers can also upgrade the center screen into a 10.2-inch display, splurge on fancier wheels, add wireless device charging, or upgrade to a fully digital gauge cluster and slicker Bose audio system. But this is again largely dependent upon trim choice. The Civic LX comes with 16-inch wheels, the EX-L yields 17 inchers, and the Sport and Sport Touring both come equipped with blacked-out 18-inch wheels with wider rubber (235/40R18 91W).

Pricing is TBD but relatively easy to predict. With the 2022 Honda Civic sedan retailing around $22,000, we’re expecting the hatchback to start very near to it with pricing peaking in the very low $30,000 range — assuming you’ve added all the bells and whistles. They’ll begin appearing at dealerships in the fall.

[Images: Honda]

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32 Comments on “Honda Civic Hatchback Arrives, Si Will Be Sedan Only...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    So Much Better than the last one.

    But I still want to see the Si. I’m fine with it being sedan-only.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    HUGE improvement. Kudos to Honda.

  • avatar
    Kyree

    I love this. Honda did such an excellent job moving past the tortured-origami look of the previous-gen Civic.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    The sedan body has more torsional rigidity than the hatchback, which has a big gaping hole in the back. So making the SI sedan-only is understandable from a performance standpoint.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Looks good from all angles, except for that trendy center display.

  • avatar
    2kriss2kross

    Coming from a 10th gen hatch owner, I definitely wouldn’t mind trading mine for this one. Both gens pull off their respective looks just fine and the improved interior is gravy. Don’t get the hate though for the 10th gen because I get compliments on my ‘19 Sport Touring from all kinds of people. Good job Honda for staying on course and making this hatch much more pleasing than the frumpy new sedan.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Somewhere deep inside me I hope there is still going to be a wild Type R out there. For me I’ll take a nice Si hatch with manual.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Much better than the old one. If they improve the horrid interior noise of the old model, it is just perfect! I don’t really understand the hatchback vs liftback comment. In my experience, liftbacks have longer cargo area and are thus way more practical.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Liftbacks also don’t swing out past the bumper (although most hatchbacks don’t really do that anymore either, yet liftbacks still does so even less…). Hence making them easier to (un)load in really tight spaces.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I don’t expect a quiet interior; that’s rare in this class. The first gen Cruze is the only compact car I can think of that suppressed noise well, and everyone whined that it was too heavy as a result.

  • avatar
    Tirpitz

    I would never have considered the previous generation Civic- too loud for my tastes. This one I’ll consider. I especially like that they have offered a naturally aspirated engine. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the CVT as my previous experience with a Honda CVT on our 2014 Accord was not pleasant from a driving perspective. I suspect there have been some improvements to that transmission so I’d give Honda another shot.

    I’m going to be in the market for a new lower priced vehicle once the market goes back to something more normal and I will put the Civic hatch on my list along with the Ford Maverick. I know, strange pair to cross shop but both seem to offer good utility at a price point I’m willing to pay. Also want to see the price and specs on the new Toyota Corolla Cross as that might be a good option as well.

    • 0 avatar
      spookiness

      I’m on a similar wavelength (and budget). I like all the cars you referenced.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      I know the 1.5-liter turbo will be faster. But part of me thinks the way to buy this car is the Sport Hatchback version with the 2.0-liter non-turbo powerplant and manual transmission. That’s the kind of car Honda knows how to make and represents the best Civics of yore. It’s likely to be more reliable as well. Either that or wait for the Si. Maybe I’m wrong. Have the bugs really been worked out of the 1.5 turbo?

      • 0 avatar
        Tirpitz

        This is exactly what I’m thinking though I would probably stick with the CVT. A 2.0 naturally aspirated will not have the performance of the turbo but will last a heck of a lot longer. If I’m buying a new gasoline powered car it is going to be a non-turbo powered one. For my use case I don’t need the performance. And I’d want to know I was unlikely to have issues for 10-15 years.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        This is my thinking as well. I really like the looks of this hatchback, the way they hinged the hatch and the practicality and utility it offers with the seats folded and ability to carry long and awkward items in a pinch. My only objection is the large 18” wheels and 235 tires that come with the sport package, I’d prefer something a little more ordinary with more sidewall.
        But 2.0 + 6-speed is the way to go, I want one.

  • avatar
    Drew8MR

    Oh, FFS Honda, if you are offering a stick offer it on all the trims. I have an easier time making a case for either an LX stick or a loaded stick, rather than something in the middle. But I hate buying tires for street cars, so maybe that’s just me.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The Sport Touring is pretty much loaded.

      • 0 avatar
        Drew8MR

        Are we sure you’ll be able to pair it with the touring package? Never have been able to before. I’d think it more likely to be just the “Sport” like it was last time. I’m happy to be wrong though. I’d buy the sport anyway and just throw on a set of steelies and sell the alloys.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          They will be selling separate Sport and Sport Touring models, each available with the stick. I’m sure there will be some minor difference between Sport Touring and just plain Touring, but Sport Touring should at least be almost fully loaded.

  • avatar
    DungBeetle62

    While I’m sure someone will bring up an “Avoidance of complexity” in either manufacturing or regulations, it always seems a little goofy when one of these decisions gets foisted on us and yet something like the VW Golf comes with a dozen different engines worldwide.

    Just seems very 1990s where if you wanted the 5-speed you HAD to get the four-banger. And if you wanted the V-6 you HAD to get the automatic.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    I definitely like the hatch tail better, even though it looks like a Stinger; At least it’s not the Jetta clone the sedan is.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Dear Honda:

    What is the third CGI image purporting to show, beyond the 90-inch vertical reach to the liftback? (Situation depicted looks unsafe *and* fishy.)

    Bonus:
    I spy with my little eye, vehicles with fender skirts, right here [never a good omen]:
    automobiles.honda.com/

  • avatar
    deanst

    Is hoping for a hybrid wagon manual expecting too much?

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Both body styles are a huge improvement, but especially the hatch. I think it looks great.

    It’s interesting that Honda is thinking sedan only for the si. Subaru did the same for the current wrx. Prior to the current generations, I associated both with hatches.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I really like this Civic, especially in the hatch form. Even though I will not be looking in the compact car class or really in this price range, I would want a Civic Hatch Si with manual. Of course the one they wont be making.

    I am sure Honda has devised its trims, engine options, etc all with the goal of securing the most buyers and of course that rarely caters to the all the people online who say “I would totally buy it if it offered this”….. because they rarely do.

    Great looking car, nicely done.

  • avatar
    revjasper

    Front wheel drive. Turbocharged four cylinder. Stick shift. Hatchback with 60/40 back seats… I never thought I’d be looking at a Honda as a direct replacement for a Saab!

  • avatar
    Roader

    “While a CVT is standard, Honda will be offering a six-speed manual on any trim that includes the word “sport” in the title — making it an option for either engine.”

    man•u•mis•sion

    n. Liberation from slavery, bondage, or restraint; a setting free; emancipation.
    n. The act of manumitting, or of liberating a slave from bondage.
    n. release from slavery, freedom, the act of manumitting

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