2022 Honda Civic Hatchback review: exceeding its civic duty
2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Review
Photos and in-depth review of the all-new Civic Hatchback by Mitchell Weitzman for The Road Beat
What is it?
The hatchback version of Honda's excellent new Civic compact sedan. This particular example is equipped as a highline Touring, meaning it has the 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine and equipped with basically everything you could have on a new Civic. There are no additional options available - this has it all, and costs $31,145 with destination. The hatchback shape will appeal to those looking to maximize the space of a compact vehicle, but also forgoes looking like your great-aunt's station wagon.
So much. Really, this is a fabulous car. If you wanted to, honestly, just stop reading and know that this is maybe the best compact car in the world right now. There is next to nothing that it does wrong, and so much that it does right.
For a small car, the Civic Hatchback is rather spacious, with ample front and rear seat space. Compared to the current Corolla, the back seats and leg room are enormous. How do I test that? I take my adult friends for drives in all the cars I test and I ask them for their real world opinion. They were way more comfortable in the Civic and weren't in need of chiropractors for their legs afterwards. The hatchback body also bestows extra cargo storage in the back and makes for easier access to things such as your recent Home Goods haul. Simply put, hatchbacks are more convenient and practical than sedans. To top it off, I think the hatchback shape suits the new Civic rather well. Which reminds me, the new Civic is, for my near-sighted eyes, vastly prettier than the old model. Whereas the past Civic Hatchback appeared like a Civic Hunchback, the new, bigger booty meshes seamlessly with the rest of the design language and looks thoroughly integrated. It's a nice looking car.
Admittedly, this is the Touring - the nicest Civic money can buy - but the interior is a bona fide lovely place to be for an affordable car. The seats (great and supportive chairs, by the way), steering wheel, and shifter are trimmed in nice leather that feels great to the touch, and the driving position itself is quite lovely, too. Yes, it's a comfortable car, and even reasonably quiet as well. I've done long drives in another Civic Touring (the sedan) that held up great over the course of a long day. Looking elsewhere, the rest of the cabin is finely trimmed and endowed with a serious quality that leaves Toyota's offerings in the last decade. Shoot, look at the detailing on the metal grate that helps hide the air vents, but also gives a well-executed industrial interior design flair (industrial lofts are all the rage these days) to it. There is very little in this car that, when you touch, feels cheap. The only competitor that meets this, and actually slightly surpasses the Civic, is the Mazda3 premium. But, compared to Hyundais, Volkswagens, Toyotas, and American offerings, the Civic wins here.
And lo and behold, the Civic Hatchback remains great to drive like other recently sampled Civics. The steering is expertly judged, with an intuitive response and weighting to make for extremely accurate and confidence-filled driving. You would also never know the Civic is front-wheel drive, with no discernible torque steer and minimal understeer when driven hard. Handling is exemplary for an everyday 'normal' car, easily besting most rivals and matching the ever-fluid Mazdas, with its commanding front-end and usable grip. It's just such as easy car to point through a corner at speed with no fuss. And yet, the ride quality is still refined and controlled. I still haven't driven a Civic Si, but it must be incredible based on how good these pedestrian Civics are.
Honda's 1.5-liter engine continues to be a standout of this competitive class, with enough performance (0-60 MPH takes 7.7 seconds) for the everyday driver and exemplary fuel economy. Shoot, even the CVT didn't draw any criticisms, and I hate CVTs traditionally. The engine is smooth with little, noticeable turbo lag, too. On the highway, the Civic returned 40 MPG and averaged 33 overall. With gas so expensive, that's sure to save you some coin.
What can be improved?
Not much. To be really critical, the infotainment and center display is easy enough to use, but it's on the small side of things. Other comparable rivals don't have larger screens, but the rest of the interior is so well put together that the screen becomes the weak point; It could be a way for a Civic to stand out even further. There are lots of digital buttons and controls on the screen itself that do take up some digital real estate and can make it 'crowded,' so a big 10 or 12" screen wouldn't be unwelcome.
And finally, perhaps the biggest and only red flag here for this Civic is the price. Now, this is still an affordable vehicle, but not quite like it used to be. With an as-tested price of $31,145, the Civic Hatchback Touring has certainly crept up in price. Now, you could save $5,000 on a cheaper Sport version, but the Touring is the Civic you'll want after spending time in one. Heck, even the sporty and powerful Si model costs less than this. Strange times we live in, where a Civic can cost over 30-gees.
The results are in, the Civic will be re-elected
The Civic, now in Hatchback form, remains one of the best choices for a compact car for many. It's stylish, has a wonderful interior quality (especially this Touring), and drives exceptionally well. Affordable, small cars have never been more desirable based on merit alone than this. I prefer the Hatchback model over the sedan just for the added space it does grant, while also making it easier access to larger belongings in the rear. To sum up, if you're wanting a new compact car, put the new Civic at the top of your list.
2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Touring 1.5T
As-tested price: $31,145
Pros: Great to drive, great interior...lots of great things
Cons: It costs over 30-grand?
Verdict: The price went up, but so has the quality and ability on display here