It was in its original hatchback form that the Honda Civic became a North American success story in the 1970s and 1980s, and yet there was a long period during which there was no Civic hatchback even after after the body style experienced a resurgence in popularity in the mid-2000s.
Honda finally brought the hatch back to this continent last year, and this most practical member of the Civic family returns for 2018 with no changes.
The hatch is the only Civic to pass over the 2.0L engine that serves base models of the coupe and sedan variants; instead, it goes straight for a 1.5L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Matched up with a standard six-speed manual transmission, this engine is very eager to spin this car's front wheels and makes the car feel more powerful than its sub-$22,000 price would suggest on its own.
As in the other Civic body styles, a continuously variable automatic (CVT) is the other transmission choice, and if you want the Honda Sensing active safety suite, it's the only one you can have.
Somewhat curiously, while the coupe and sedan get an Si trim that boasts a 205-hp version of the turbo engine, there's no such option here. The closest Honda gets is a Sport trim whose engine makes an extra six hp and 10 lb-ft.
Fuel consumption estimates for automatic cars are are 8.0/6.2 L/100 km (city/highway), while stickshift models are nominally more thrifty.
If we're being honest, we find the Civic hatchback's rump a bit overstyled, but we can't complain about the vast trunk under the car's big tailgate. Between that and a generous passenger compartment, this car puts some crossovers to shame. And in any event, you can only look at a car when you're not driving it, and the Civic's fun feel will help you overcome any reservations you have about its appearance.
All Civic hatch trims come with automatic climate control, multi-angle backup camera, heated front seats, six-way manual driver's seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, HondaLink infotainment system, heated side mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels and LED taillights.
Sport adds dual-zone air conditioning, passive keyless entry, 18-inch wheels, centre-exit exhaust, a body skirt package and the Honda LaneWatch blind spot display.
LX and Sport can be optioned with a Honda Sensing active safety suite that includes collision mitigation braking with forward collision warning, lane departure warning with lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
A Sport Touring model gets that standard along with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless smartphone charging, power driver's seat, heated rear seats, navigation, rain-sensing wipers and LED headlights.