Entry price: $19,700
Price as Tested: $22,175

The brand new models keep rolling off the assembly lines, and this week we’re driving the all-new 2017 Honda Civic Sport, a four-door hatchback high on the fun factor without breaking your wallet. Matter of fact, this Honda Civic Sport lists for only $21,300 and, when adding delivery/destination of $875, retails for just $22,175 delivered.

The 2017 Honda Civic Sport brings back the hatchback model in all its glory and is a far cry from the Civic that first made the American shores back in 1973. Now in its 10th generation, Honda Civic still enjoys consumer popularity regardless of age demographic, be it baby boomer or millennial. Add in a new aerodynamic look, outstanding fuel mileage, surprising low pricing and the “easy to drive and park” factor, and I would think Honda dealers are busy keeping the new Civics on their lots.

Specifically, Honda Civic hatchback is an all new effort from a workforce that assembles the car in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Yes, you are reading this right, this new Honda Civic Sport is built in the United Kingdom emphasizing yet again that cars today aren’t necessarily built in the homeland of their head corporate office, in this case Japan. Most cars built today have significant foreign influence, from assembly plant location to parts utilized in the build. And here in North America, we’re on the receiving end of many of these final “foreign car” assembly points resulting in countless jobs for the American workforce. Additionally, parts used in assembly from engines to interiors “spider leg” out to impact millions of workers who produce mechanicals, carpet, plastics, tires and so on in vehicle production. That’s how important the car and truck industry is to our economy.

Back to the new 2017 Civic Hatchback, which starts at $19,700 for the entry LX and climbs up to $28,300 for the Sport Touring.

This 2017 Honda Civic Sport incorporates a brand new European-inspired platform that is wider, lower, lighter and stronger. Our Sport model tester features a new 1.5-liter high performance, high-torque turbocharged four cylinder engine producing 180 horsepower and 177 lb. ft. of torque. Mated to a six-speed manual, our four-door hatchback felt more like a powerful V6 when we ran a few acceleration tests more so than a four cylinder. This power combo results in zero to 60 mph times in the high 6 to 7 seven second range while still delivering an unreal 40 mpg highway EPA estimates. In my memory, I can’t recall a car that ever ran as quick to 60 mph and delivered this kind of fuel mileage. If you want a Civic Sport with a CVT automatic, add $800 more to the bottom line. If you would like a two-door coupe, no problem. Honda makes one just for you.

Underneath, the 2017 Civic Sport relies on fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear setup. The suspension compliments a new high strength and rigid body capsule that is 62 pounds lighter than the previous generation Civic while generating a 52 percent stronger build ensemble. Add in a better center of gravity and traction hungry 18-inch Continental ContriPro Contact all-season tires on black lightweight alloys, and you’ve got a 180 horsepower “semi-sports car” for a price that surely won’t break your budget. Matter of fact, our Honda did not feature any options, and included enough safety and amenities to please just about any new car buyer.

Standard safety features include all the airbags, rear safety camera, four wheel ABS disc brakes, electronic brake distribution, brake assist and vehicle stability control. Notable amenities include Bluetooth, LED daytime headlamps, four speaker 160-watt stereo system, five inch color center screen, USB, automatic climate control, steering wheel controls, aluminum sport pedals, console, all the powers, tilt and telescopic wheel, electric parking brake, cruise, 60/40 rear seat, floor mats, rear wiper with washer, and more.

Outwardly, a standard aero kit spices up the Civic Sport hatchback look, including front underbody spoiler, rear hatchback spoiler kit and center mounted dual exhaust. Noteworthy is the enhanced insulation and use of acoustical glass that results in the quietest Civic I’ve ever driven as engine and wind noise are greatly reduced.

On the highway, you’ll enjoy the new Civic on tight, twisty country roads or cruising on the freeway. Civic Sport hugs the corners effortlessly and while cruising is more like a mid-size Honda Accord when comfort factors come into the equation. And, being that the wheelbase is large for a compact car, it’s not surprising that the new Honda Civic drives like a mid-size vehicle.

As for city fuel mileage, you’ll generate 30 mpg around town, which is very good. When combined with the 40 mpg highway estimates, your compact class Honda Civic Sport will deliver an average of 33 mpg overall.

The new Civic has already been awarded top safety picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and also earned an overall “Five Star” safety rating by the National Highway Safety Administration in rollover, side impact and front impact testing. (Civic for ’17 is one of the few cars out there to do so in all three tests).

Important numbers include a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, 2,864 lb. curb weight, and 37.8 ft. turn radius, 25.7 to 46.2 cu. ft. of cargo room and a 12.4 gallon fuel tank.

There’s a lot to like about the new Honda Sport hatchback, especially the great prices. I again emphasize Honda has re-written the book when it comes to compact cars and do so with an “ability to buy” that is primary in its sales philosophy.
Likes: Appearance, fuel mileage, powerful engine, sporty and quiet ride.
Dislikes: Some high tech safety features unavailable on this model, not much else.
— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and other GateHouse Media publications. He welcomes reader questions at greg@gregzyla.com.