Proof that practicality can be stylish too.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens. There are always more photos at the end of my reviews.
Pricing: 2023 Honda Civic
Base price (of specific trim): $37,130
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $39,186
Yeah, I thought I’d get that out of the way first. Yes, the 5-door Civic Sport Touring is almost $40,000 and well over the $40K mark when you add taxes and the various other fees the dealership will throw at you. Yikes.
If you know me, you know I love hatchbacks and wagons, so it should come as no surprise that this 5-door Civic is my personal favourite. I love the styling. The sedan’s boring lines get tossed around the back, where this car gets curvier and far more interesting to look at. It has a very short rear overhang and lovely sloping roofline.
Lighting is all LED, all the time – headlights, daytime running lights, tail lights and even foglights are all LED.
The Touring’s 18-inch rims are stunners and looks really good.
To finish things off, I like the integrated exhaust tips – they look great!
What seemed incredibly fresh and modern a couple of years ago has now become the norm for Hondas, but it’s still a great interior design. It’s clean and open and works well. I still love the mesh swath across the dash that contains the hidden air vents. Materials are quite nice – plenty of soft-touch plastics around the cabin, many of which are beautifully textured.
The heated perforated-leather seats are both comfortable and very well bolstered.
The excellent steering wheel – it’s fat and grippy – is heated. Behind it sits a 10.2-inch fully digital dash, which allows the driver to determine what information they want to see inside the “gauges” using scroll wheels on the steering wheel.
Sticking out of the dash is the 9-inch touchscreen – it’s Honda’s new system, which is very easy to use and works very well. The 12-speaker BOSE sound system sounds fantastic. The Touring trim has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which seemed to work flawlessly for me.
I like that Honda keeps the climate control system mostly manual with three knurled knobs and a few buttons covering all the functions.
There is a standard sunroof overhead and a ton of driver assistance technology here – back-up camera, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic monitoring, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and lane keep assist, forward collision warning and collision mitigation braking, road departure mitigation and adaptive cruise control.
You’ll need to watch your head a bit getting into the back – that gorgeous swoopy roofline drops down and makes it a bit easier to whack your head if you’re not careful. Once I was in, at 5’10”, I found about an inch and a half of headroom to spare. There was plenty of legroom though.
The two outboard seats are heated and quite comfortable. Rear passengers get two USB-A charging ports. The middle seatback folds down to become an armrest with two cupholders.
There are two sets of child seat anchors.
At the front of the centre console is a wireless charging mat and rubberized storage area – above it are two USB-A ports as well as a 12V plug. Under the armrest lid is a movable organizer tray and a bin.
That hatchback isn’t just about style. In terms of practicality, it’s hugely functional with a wide, low opening and tons of cargo space – 693L to be exact.
The roomy trunk is versatile and can be made significantly larger by folding the rear seats down. They split 60/40. There’s a bit of a raised hump behind the rear seats – when they’re folded down, they are level with that raised part.
For visual security, there’s a partial cover that is attached (but removable) on the underside of the hatchback, covering a portion of the cargo space. If you want to cover all of it, there’s an interesting sideways scrolling tonneau cover to secure the front-most part of your trunk from prying eyes.
Under the Hood
All upper trims of the hatchback (above the LX) get a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 180 HP and 177 lb.ft of torque at a low 1700 RPM. A 6-speen manual is available, but this one had the CVT and of course it’s only available as a front-wheel drive.
Fuel economy is rated at 7.7/6.3 L/100 km (city/highway). We ended up averaging 7.8 L/100 km during our two weeks with the Civic.
The performance is pretty good. It’s no rocket, of course, but in Sport mode and with the accelerator down, the Civic will accelerate impressively and will do whatever you ask of it. Driven normally, it has enough power, although I wouldn’t be looking at racing anyone on the highway.
The gear selector is lever-based – thank you! The transmission is smooth, as one would expect of a CVT. You can control the experience using the paddle shifters to access ratios simulating gears if you want to pretend to be sporty.
There are selectable driving modes – you can choose between Normal, ECON and Sport.
Honda has tuned the Civic’s suspension perfectly. There’s a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension and combined with the front struts it has an almost perfect balance of a very composed ride, incredibly nimble handling and highyl competent and predictable stability. There’s some minor choppiness over some rougher surfaces, which I attribute more to the super-low profile tires than the suspension.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. I love that Honda includes factory remote starting. It works well and it’s fantastically convenient.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was middling. She liked the practicality of the hatchback, and said it drives like a more expensive vehicle. But she wasn’t a big fan of the styling.
I really like the Civic, and in particular this 5-door hatchback. It’s a smart vehicle, offering plenty of style and practicality. It’s easy to live with and performs admirably, while remaining spacious and comfortable. You just have to get past the fact that it’s going to ring in at over $40,000. For a Civic.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Honda Canada.
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