2017 Honda Civic Hatch Prototype Debuts with Turbo, Manual Transmission

Having already seen the Honda Civic hatchback in “prototype” form at the Geneva auto show, we were a little disappointed that it showed up again in concept guise at the 2016 New York auto show. Until, that is, Honda confirmed today that the 2017 Civic hatchback will come to the U.S. market with the company’s new 1.5-liter turbo-four engine and a six-speed manual transmission.

Though a continuously variable automatic will still be optional, this will mark the first time Honda has mated its turbo engine to a manual transmission; the Civic Coupe and sedan offer the mill only with the CVT. (Honda did let us drive a prototype turbo-manual Civic to whet our appetite for this appealing combo.) Assuming power figures carry over from those models, the 2017 Honda Civic hatchback’s turbo engine should offer 174 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque.

Honda says the stick and the 1.5-liter engine will be available across the 2017 Civic lineup, meaning that sedan and Coupe buyers will also be privy to the sporty combo.

Though the car on display at the New York auto show is still a “prototype,” it gives us a pretty good idea of what to expect when the 2017 Honda Civic hatchback reaches U.S. dealers later this year. The front half of the car continues the modern and aggressive look of other 10th-generation Civic models, while the rear has a sloping liftgate, along with a spoiler and dual center-exit exhausts — features probably not intended for the production model. Nor do we expect the yellow brake calipers and foglights to reach showrooms.

The four-door hatchback design should provide even greater cargo capacity for the already practical Honda Civic. Honda also believes that by offering only the turbo engine — the 158-hp, 2.0-liter engine from the other Civics won’t be available in the hatch — it can attract buyers interested in sporty cars.

“This sportiest Civic to date will attract a whole new set of enthusiast buyers to the model and Honda brand,” American Honda Motor Co. senior vice president Jeff Conrad said in a statement.

Whereas the Coupe and sedan are assembled in America, the 2017 Honda Civic hatchback will be imported to the U.S. from Honda’s plant in Swindon, U.K. In 2017, Honda will further flesh out its U.S.-market Civic range with the additions of the Si and Type R performance models.

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