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.
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.