Fun and efficiency meet in the stylish Civic Hatchback
One of my favorite treats doing these columns, I’m needing to admit, is test driving the latest Honda Civics. Since Honda really kicked their design into gear adding style and, well, coolness onto their technically proficient vehicles known for their durability and longevity, I’ve really enjoyed seeing what they come up with.
The 2017 Civic Hatchback EX I picked up and tried out from Fuoco Honda (yes, they’re open, even though First Street is closed – you’ll have to come in the back way, down Hill Avenue, at least when I visited) certainly lived up to that promise, ever since I slid into the cockpit-like pliot’s seat so many years ago.
Civics, to me, again, since the mid-2000s, always looked like they were just a little bit from the future, which may just be a naturally smart design choice due to their reputation for longevity. After all, if you’re going to be on the street for a while, you might want to look like you belong there in the future.
Outside, the Hatchback EX Civic keeps the beveled flair and edges that make current Hondas stand out so easily. Inside, the effect continues with panels, swoops and consoles that keep the same flair. I keep half-expecting them to move and adapt to me, but alas, that may be not quite available yet. What it does have is gorgeous panel-work on the gauge panel, with simple and clean information and additional indicators, notably the ‘Eco’ lights that help you keep track of whether or not you’re burning a lot of fuel. They turn from green (good) to other colors (less good) and help you achieve that 40 mpg on the highway that’s so noticeable above.
And you might need a little help. The Civic Hatchback is fun to drive. You may get crazy 31/40 mpg mileage, but the 174 horsepower, turbo-charged engine manages to move the Civic with, shall we say, enthusiasm. The car is firm enough to feel stable, but has plenty of push when that turbo kicks in.
This is true even on inclines. I took it up Unaweep Canyon (through what the locals call the S-Curves and 9-Mile), in our own little imitation of Vail Pass. The Hatchback ate up the inclines. Turbo-charging is particularly useful here in Colorado, as it compresses the otherwise thin mountain air to get the most out of the power of the engine.
A unique feature that deserves special note is the Honda LaneWatch system that engages a camera on the passenger side as you activate the turn indicators (you can see the screen image to the left). Great for checking your blindspot, it was a feature that my mother noticed in particular when I gave her a short ride in the car.
Smartly designed, sharply designed from the inside out, the 2017 Honda Civic EX Hatchback is a powerful, friendly car that manages to provide exciting driving and notable fuel efficiency in one package. See it now at Fuoco Honda, just off First and Hill Avenue (again, due to the construction on First, I recommend coming in from the east on Hill Avenue, at least for the time being).