We recently tested the all-new 2022 Honda Civic sedan and loved it. Classy and upgraded inside out with great performance. What’s not to love?
So, Honda tells us they now have a new hatchback model, with more utility and – hold on to your hats – an available manual transmission! Time for another road test.
Haven’t We Met Before?
The hatchback is a near-twin to the sedan – no problem there, we like the sedan’s grown-up look. Like the sedan, the front end has a very Accord-like look, with a prominent forward grille, featuring LED headlights with a cool signature eyelid that gives a tough, sporty look.
The profile is more of a giveaway to the hatchback-ness, but it’s not a big change. The sharp horizontal character line of the sedan remains, but when you get past the C-pillar, the roofline extends a little bit for the hatchback lid. We actually prefer the sedan’s crispness at the back, but many might not even notice the difference. Our tester did stand out boldly with blacked-out 18-inch alloy wheels.
The rear is the most different from the sedan, with a full-width reflector piece spanning the hatch, and a wrap-around design to the rear LED taillights. Our tester was finished in a gorgeous color Honda calls Sonic Gray – very close to the soft, dove-gray paint schemes that are so popular today. All in all, we were pleasantly surprised to the number of compliments we got on our Civic – the new look is really catching people’s eyes!
Yes, yes, I know you!
Inside, the hatchback is again a twin of the sedan. Using Honda’s Elegance through Simplicity motif, the interior echoes the upscale nature of exterior. Open the door and you’re greeted by the Sport Touring’s leather trimmed seats. An interesting note – the Civic doesn’t have an adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat – but the seat is so well designed and supportive, we never missed it.
That’s about all that’s missing though, as the Sport Touring is impressively loaded. The 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster is bright and clear (we love that it can display your audio artwork inside the tach display.)
Info-tainment is handled by a 9-inch color touchscreen, including – hooray! – a volume knob. (Lesser models get a slightly smaller touchscreen, but they do get a tuning knob in addition to the volume control.)
State of the art tech also means navigation plus wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and wireless charging. Also included is a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system that sounds great.
Climate controls are underneath and an easy read. With the hatchback’s available manual transmission, cupholder are relocated from the side of the shifter to behind the lever – still plenty of room and nothing gets in the way. We love the handsome style of the interior, with soft touch materials throughout, and the cool metal honeycomb strip the holds the vents, along with chrome and piano black trim – Elegant indeed!
The rear seat is spacious and comfortable for adults. Need to carry lots of stuff? This is where the hatchback really pays off. Lift the lightweight rear hatch and you’re served up 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats vs. the 15.1 cubic feet for the sedan. Drop the rear seats and you have a massive cargo hold, enough to make you wonder if you really need an SUV!
Putting the Sport in Sport Touring
The drive is what really sets the hatchback apart from its trunky sibling.
Under the hood is Honda’s excellent turbocharged 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder pumping out 180 horsepower and 177 lb.-ft of torque at just 1,700 rpm. This is a buttery smooth engine, that builds power with a nice linear pull to the redline. It sounds great doing so, but it’s obvious Honda has tuned it more for quiet refinement than boisterous sportiness.
What really sets the hatchback apart from the sedan is its exclusive 6-speed manual transmission. With fewer and fewer manufacturers providing a stick, it’s a credit to Honda that they still offer something for those who prefer to row their own.
And this is an excellent transmission, throws are direct, positive, and light. The clutch is also nice and light, so much so that you don’t mind driving the manual even in stop and go traffic. But it’s the connection to the drive that makes the stick so wonderful. Snicking up through the gears, downshifting for a corner or to pass slower traffic – it’s so much fun, we wouldn’t have a Civic any other way!
Honda says the hatch’s suspension and steering were developed in Europe and we believe them – the ride is supple, but well controlled, the steering is light and direct and there’s plenty of grip in the turns as well. This is one of those cars you can drive with the fingertips – everything feels polished to the nth degree, and if you didn’t know better, you could swear you were in an Audi.
It’s such a well-balanced package that you find yourself looking for excuses to go for a drive. And for those real enthusiasts, this model has as dreaming about the more powerful Si sport model that was just announced. We can’t wait to test that.
How Much to Do My Civic Duty?
Well, it is a Honda Civic, so value is always important! If you’re enamored with the shape and don’t need the turbo motor, a Civic LX starts at just $23,350. For a handsome, well-equipped hatch, it’s a bargain. We’d probably at least opt for the Sport model, which gets you some cool 18-inch alloys, an available 6-speed manual – still a non-turbo 159-horse, 2.0-liter engine, mind you, but for the hot looks, $24,550 is a great deal.
Our tester was at the other end of the price spectrum, with Sport Touring serving up leather, turbo goodness, Bose audio, 9-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay. For all that, $29,850 is still pretty impressive value. Our tester’s lone option was the Sonic Gray Paint for $395. Adding in $1,015 for destination, and we range the bell $31,260.
Competition makes us think about the VW GTI, but load one up, and you’re looking at $39,385. Gulp. We loved the Mazda 3 hatchback, available only with the non-turbo motor with manual transmission, it’s a little less pricey $29,960. Still a great drive, but for everyday usability the Civic wins.
In the Honda family, you could even look at the Accord Sport, available with the same 1.5-liter turbo engine for $31,480. Larger, more substantial, it’s an impressive value. The only drawback – no manual is available on the Accord anymore. Bummer.
A gorgeous car with a lovely interior and excellent road manners, the 2022 Honda Civic Sport Touring hatchback is our favorite Civic – especially with the available manual transmission!
Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.