After more than a decade-long absence, the Honda Civic hatchback has made its triumphant return to North American shores.
With its return, the popular compact’s practicality has been ratcheted up thanks to two additional doors. You’d have to flip back through the history books about 25 years to find the last five-door Civic sold on this side of the world. But that hasn’t done anything to slow sales, with Honda’s popular compact floating near the top of the charts for decades on the back of the successful sedan.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Review
With a pair of practical choices on the market — lest we forget the coupe — there’s surely going to be plenty of debate over which Civic is worthy of your hard-earned dollars. And that’s where this short list of the top five differences between the Civic hatch and sedan comes in, laying out, in simple terms, what each is best suited for.
5. The Hatch Only Comes Turbocharged
While a turbocharged engine is available under the hood of the Civic sedan, it’s the only engine available in the new five-door. Output from the 1.5-liter ranges from 174 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque to 180 hp and 177 lb-ft depending on trim and transmission. And speaking of transmissions, a six-speed manual can finally be mated to the turbocharged four-cylinder for folks who prefer to row their own gears. This, however, isn’t an exclusive pairing for the hatchback, with the three-pedal setup also available on coupe and sedan models — though only in EX-T trim.
4. The Sedan Offers More Passenger Room
The hatchback’s shrunken dimensions compared to the sedan — it measures 4.3 inches (109 millimeters) shorter — mean slightly less room for rear seat passengers. With 36 inches (914 mm) of legroom, the back seat is cozier than the sedan’s 37.4 inches (950 mm). Interestingly, however, its wedge-like shape gives the hatchback a slight edge in rear seat headroom, with 37.4 inches (950 mm) compared to the sedan’s 36.8 inches (935 mm). Likewise, hip room grows by 1.5 inches (38 mm) in the five-door compared to the Civic sedan. As almost nothing is different between the two cars from the B-pillar forward, space in the front seats is essentially identical.
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3. The Hatch Can Carry More Cargo
What the five-door lacks in passenger room it more than makes up for in space for your stuff. Boasting as much as 25.7 cu-ft (728 liters) of space behind the rear seats, the Civic hatch exceeds its sedan sibling’s 15.1 cu-ft (428 liters) by a long shot. Better still, cargo room in the hatchback balloons to a ridiculous 46.2 cu-ft (1,308 liters) with the rear seats folded. Both numbers put the Civic hatch among the segment leaders when it comes to cargo-carrying capacity.
2. The Sedan is Cheaper
Starting at $18,740 ($16,390 in Canada), the sedan will certainly save you a few bucks compared to the five-door. Of course, both body styles can be priced close to $30,000 and beyond depending on trim level and options, with my best guess being that most folks will want either fitted somewhere in between. A base model of the Civic hatch or sedan will get you just that — a base model — while a loaded Touring sedan or Sport Touring hatch will provide all the creature comforts you could want and then some, including heated leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and adaptive cruise control, among others. It’s quite the bit of kit.
ALSO SEE: 2016 Honda Civic LX Review
1. The Hatch is Available in a Sport Trim
… Two of them, actually. Available in both Sport and Sport Touring guise, the Civic hatch boasts a pair of trims not available in the other two body styles that include a subtle body kit and an uptick in power from the rest of the Civic pack. Neither is the pending Si model, but 180 horsepower is par for the course, compared to 174 hp in the rest of the turbocharged Civic pack, while the torque count jumps as high as 177 lb-ft with the six-speed manual transmission. Cars equipped with the continuously variable automatic make do with the same 162 lb-ft of torque in non-Sport trims. Canadians can count themselves lucky that the leather-lined luxury of the Sport Touring model can be equipped with three pedals — something that can’t be done on U.S. cars.
If it were my money, I’d probably opt for the hatchback for its added versatility and available sport trims, but there’s nothing wrong with the sedan if that better suits your taste. After all, it did win AutoGuide.com‘s Car of the Year award for 2016. Either way, the pair, along with the Civic coupe, offers choice, if nothing else.