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Fresh off a tremendously successful redesign in 2015, the 2017 Honda Civic adds a versatile third body style – a five-door hatchback – and high-performance Si and Type R trims this year. But while Honda has injected its popular compact with a healthy dose of fury and space, the overarching package remains largely unchanged, which is no bad thing.

What's New for 2017

Honda has been busy. The Civic Hatchback, Civic Si, and Civic Type R all join the family for 2017 as the range begins to blossom. Beyond the new trims, Honda is throwing a bone to budget-minded enthusiasts and making a six-speed manual available on the turbocharged Sedan EX-T and Coupe EX-T.

Choosing Your Honda Civic

This might take a minute. There is, to be blunt, a Civic for nearly every consumer, with three separate body styles, an affordable naturally aspirated engine, a thrifty turbocharged powerplant, a nippy sport compact, and a 300-plus-horsepower giant killer – these vehicles cover a price range from just around $19,000 on up to nearly $35,000. We'll start at the beginning.

The humblest of Civics uses a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder with 158 hp and 138 pound-feet of torque and is available in Sedan, Coupe, and Hatchback body styles. It returns an EPA-estimated 31 miles per gallon city, 40 mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined as a four-door sedan, 30/39/34 as a two-door coupe, and 30/39/33 as a five-door hatchback. A six-speed manual is standard, but a continuously variable transmission is within reach of even the most frugal customers.

The 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder is the Civic's sweet spot and volume engine in the Coupe, Sedan, and Hatchback models you'll see at dealerships. Base versions of this engine are available with a six-speed manual – new for 2017 – but a continuously variable transmission is the only way to get into the more expensive, better equipped models. The mainstream version of this engine (it also powers the Civic Si) produces 174 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque while returning 32/42/36 for the automatic Civic Sedan, 31/40/35 for a similar Civic Coupe, and 30/36/32 for a two-pedal Civic Hatchback. Manual transmissions return identical numbers, give or a take a mile per gallon here and there.

Following a year off, the 2017 Civic Si marks the return of a beloved model for fans of affordable, fun cars. The Si takes the normal Civic's 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder and literally turned up the boost – from 16.5 psi to 20.3 psi – to generate 205 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque. The Si trim is available in both coupe and sedan body styles, but as Soichiro Honda himself intended, is only available with a six-speed manual transmission.

The biggest bit of Civic news for 2017 is the return of the Type R. Previously sold only in Europe and Honda's home market of Japan, the legendary Type R comes to North America for the first time. Its 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder spits out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. At the same time, it blends sublime driving dynamics to challenge the hottest hatchbacks – the only body style the Type R is available in – on the market.

The only choices most Civic customers need to make is which interior and exterior colors to choose. If there's a standalone option, it's likely Honda's excellent Sensing suite, a package of active driving assists that reduces driver strain and stress and can actively prevent crashes. They include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and LaneWatch. Other than that, though, the Civic range is broken down into pre-packaged trim levels.

LX

The base trim regardless of body style, the Civic LX's engine is dependent on the body style. LX Coupe and Sedan models get the 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated four-cylinder, while the Hatchback relies on the 174-hp 1.5-liter turbo. All three body styles are available with a standard six-speed manual or an optional continuously variable transmission. The list of available features is unsurprisingly limited, with automatic climate control, a rear-view camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a four-speaker stereo the only features of note. Beyond those, owners get the normal array of power features, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, and manual seats. Sedan and Hatchback models are available with Honda Sensing, provided you go for the continuously variable transmission. Prices for the LX start at $19,615 for the Sedan, $20,025 for the Coupe, and $20,575 for the Hatchback (all prices include $875 destination charge). Add $800 to those prices for the CVT, while Honda Sensing demands $1,000 premium.

LX-P

A coupe-only trim that's like the EX Sedan but worse. Moving to the second step of the Civic Coupe line scores you a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a CVT, but costs you the EX's LaneWatch system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and carries over the LX's four-speaker audio system and five-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It does improve on the LX Coupe by offering push-button start and a power sunroof, but unless you're desperate to get into a two-door Civic without spending a lot, there isn't much to recommend about the Coupe LX-P. Prices start at $21,825 – Honda Sensing is not available.

Sport

The Civic Hatchback's take on a step-above trim, the Sport adds a fair amount of content, both inside and out. Beyond its standard turbocharged four-cylinder – available with either a six-speed manual or CVT – the Sport gets a neat body kit, twin center-exit exhaust pipes, and 18-inch alloy wheels (the largest available outside of the Si or Type R). Its in-cabin equipment skews more towards the LX-P than the EX, so we hope you're satisfied by a four-speaker audio system and five-inch touchscreen and no LaneWatch, push-button start, or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob soften the blow, but not by much. Honda Sensing is not available. Prices for the Civic Hatchback Sport start at $22,175 for the manual, while the CVT remains an $800 option.

EX

Available on the Sedan and Hatchback, the Civic EX pairs a standard continuously variable transmission with its 2.0-liter engine and adds push-button start, a sunroof, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and Honda LaneWatch – a camera mounted under the passenger's side mirror that monitors the driver's blind spot – as standard. The four-speaker audio system morphs into an eight-speaker unit, while a larger, seven-inch touchscreen replaces the LX's five-incher. EX Hatchbacks add dual-zone climate control and a turbocharged powertrain to the equation. Prices start at $22,015 for the Sedan and $23,675 for the Hatchback. Honda Sensing remains a $1,000 option.

EX-T

The starter trim for the turbocharged Civic Coupe and Sedan, the EX-T is available with either a six-speed manual or a CVT. Features broadly mirror the EX trim, but extras like dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, fog lights, and a rear spoiler, do sneak in. Moving to the EX-T is a smart decision for Coupe customers – the standard equipment represents a big jump over the LX-P. Prices for the EX-T start at $22,375 for a manual sedan and $22,475 for a manual coupe. The CVT adds $800 and Honda Sensing – which still requires the CVT – adds $1,000 on top of that.

EX-L

Available on all three body styles, the Civic EX-L family starts to add some more desirable standard features. This trim level is only available with turbocharged engines and continuously variable transmissions, but it also adds standard heated leather seats (fore and aft – only the Coupe's front seats are heated), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and a power driver's seat. A navigation system is standard on the Hatchback and available as part of the standard infotainment system for an extra $1,000 on the Sedan – it's not available on the two-door coupe.

We recommend Civic Sedan shoppers avoid nav for two reasons. First, navigation and Honda Sensing are mutually exclusive, $1,000 options. Second, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and both come with their own very competent navigation systems. The smart money grabs Honda Sensing and relies on their smartphone for directions. Prices for the EX-L start at $24,675 for the Sedan, $24,400 for the Coupe, and $26,175 for the EX-L Navi Hatchback.

Touring

Available and identical on all three trims, the Civic Touring represents different things to different consumers. For Sedan shoppers, it's the cream of the crop. Coupe buyers will view it as the only way into a two-door Civic with Honda Sensing. And Hatchback buyers – who can only get a Sport Touring – will see an extremely well-equipped and stylish take on the Civic's most versatile body style.

Regardless of body style, all Civic Touring models get Honda Sensing with LaneWatch, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a power passenger's seat, a 10-speaker stereo, and navigation as standard. Hatchback Sport Touring models also add all the aesthetic trimmings from the normal Sport trim, including the meaty wheels and center-exit exhaust pipes.

Prices for the Touring start at $27,475 for the Sedan, $27,100 for the Coupe, and $29,175 for the Sport Touring Hatchback.

Si

Now things are getting spicy. The Civic Si is a hot hatchback – despite only being available as a Coupe or Sedan – designed to challenge cars like the Volkswagen GTI and Mini Cooper S. That means it's exceedingly nimble and quick, although that comes at the expense of some of the luxuries available on mainstream Civic models.

For example, the only thing even resembling an active safety system is Honda LaneWatch – Honda Sensing simply isn't available. Nor are LED headlights. But those annoyances aside, the Si is well equipped, offering drivers a standard seven-inch infotainment system, a 10-speaker audio system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, Bluetooth, heated front seats, and push-button start. The Civic Si's strongest point, though, is its price – both Coupe and Sedan ring up at $24,775, which is an absolute steal for this level of performance. The sole option are summer tires, which add a meager $200 to the price.

Type R

A legitimate challenger to super compacts like the Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS, and Subaru WRX STI, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R is a 306-hp, 295-lb-ft rocket ship that turns the hatchback body into one of the most serious vehicles in the Civic's long history. Fitted with a ludicrous body kit, a hood scoop, an enormous wing, a triple-exit exhaust, super-snug, track-focused front seats, and the attitude of an ill-tempered mountain lion, the Type R is not a car to take lightly.

If the Type R were a person, it'd be a stuntman or extreme sports junky. So naturally, it doesn't have any of Honda's active safety equipment. It also doesn't have heated seats, so consider it carefully if you live in northern climes. There is a seven-inch infotainment system, though, and a 10-speaker audio system.

Instead of luxury features, the Type R goes in on high performance. Alongside the angry 2.0-liter engine and buttery-smooth six-speed manual, there are Brembo-branded brakes, a helical limited-slip differential, and a three-mode driving system that can adjust the standard adaptive dampers and electric power steering.

Prices for the Civic Type R start and end at $34,775. There are no options.

CarsDirect Tip

The 2017 Honda Civic Si is one of the industry's great performance bargains, but mainstream shoppers will probably be much happier with a Honda Sensing-equipped Civic EX-T – it's the best blend of high-tech equipment and frugality in the Civic family, even if it lacks the Si's sense of fun.

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