2020 Honda Civic Hatchback: A very city-worthy vehicle

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback: A very city-worthy vehicle
With its flexible cargo space the 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback makes a good city vehicle. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

When you live in the city, a hatchback is one of the more perfect vehicles you can buy because of the flexibility and functionality. Though the hatch segment is starting to dwindle, you do still have a solid option with the 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback.

It’s refreshed for this model year, ditches one big fat annoying feature and adds a winning redesigned cup holder.

The Hits

I complain about cup holders a lot because they rarely seem to hold my 24-ounce glass bottle, which I always carry with me. So, I figure it’s worth pointing out when an automaker gets it right, too. 

Honda took a two-tiered approach with its new holder, keeping space for two smaller bottles on a sliding tray. When you move the tray back, you can either store stuff below or (gasp) fit an actual-sized water bottle in the lower holder.

Another huge win: Honda added back the volume knob. If you don’t remember the touch-screen volume slider Honda tried a few years ago (the big fat annoying feature alluded to in the beginning), just know it was awful. You had to touch it just right to get the volume to change, and if your fingers were cold (which mine are most of the time), it didn’t work. 

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

The redesigned cup holders in the 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback offer a two-tiered solution with smaller holders on a top sliding tray, and one large one below. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

Outside of these two key changes, there’s a lot to love about the Honda Civic Hatchback. The test vehicle was a top-tier Sport Touring model, which came equipped with nice leather seating surfaces, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a comfortable ride.

As a Sport model, though it has the same 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the non-sport models, it adds a little more power (very little), bumping horsepower up by 6 and torque up by 15 pound-feet. 

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

The best thing about the Civic Hatchback, though, is it combines the wide-open cargo space of an SUV yet maintains the sporty-ish handling of a sedan.

One last interesting hit to note: The Sport and Sport Touring versions of the hatchback come equipped with a standard manual transmission. Unfortunately, the test vehicle added the continuously variable transmission ($800). 

The Misses

Living in the city, I find one of the biggest misses to be the location of the front USB ports. They’re awkwardly placed beneath the display screen in an open cubby hole near your knee. To plug-in/unplug, you have to perform a yoga-like twist and contort your body to reach the ports. 

Honda will argue that there’s a hole leading from the cubby to the tray that can hold your phone, and owners will only plug in the cord once and leave it.  However, If you’ve ever lived in a city, you know the first rule about parking your car on the street is: Don’t leave anything visible when you leave your car. 

The second rule: Don’t leave anything visible when you leave your car.

That means you have to unplug any phone-connecting cord and stow it away when you park, then plug it back in again again to drive. Yes, there is a USB port in that slick new cupholder, but it’s charge only. If you want to use CarPlay or Auto, you have to plug in underneath.

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

Though the 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback offers navigation, it’s not very attractive, and I’d rather use the Waze integration offered on Apple CarPlay. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

And you will want to use CarPlay or Auto if only for the Waze integration. Yes, you can get navigation on the Honda Civic Hatchback, but the graphics are outdated and the map is small and ugly. 

Oh, and while we’re on the CarPlay/Auto topic: It’s not standard on the base trim. It kicks in one level up at the Sport model.

Last on the miss side of the spectrum, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the road and wind noise that creeps into the cabin. It’s not a dealbreaker in my book, but it is noticeable.

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

The open space near the driver’s knee is where you have to plug in a USB cord to connect your phone in the 2020 Honda Civic Hatchback. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

The Trims

LX ($22,705): Equipped with Honda Sensing, standard CVT, a multi-angle rear camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity, automatic climate control, automatic high-beam headlights and a 5-inch color LCD screen.

Sport ($23,850): Adds Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, remote start engine, base manual transmission (CVT +$800), passive entry, push-button start, 7-inch audio display, fog lights and Honda Link.

EX ($25,205): Adds heated front seats, standard CVT, one-touch power moonroof, dual-zone climate control, Honda LaneWatch, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, SiriusXM Radio and power driver’s seat.

EX-L ($26,405): Adds leather-trimmed interior, standard CVT, automatic dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink.

Sport Touring ($29,105): Adds a premium 540-watt audio system, center-mounted dual outlet exhaust, standard manual transmission, available CVT with dual-mode paddle shifters, LED headlights with auto on/off, 18-inch wheels, navigation, front passenger power seat, heated rear seats and rain-sensing wipers.

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback

2020 Honda Civic Hatchback (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

The Chicago Factor

With its compact size and cargo flexibility, the Honda Civic Hatchback makes a great Chicago vehicle. The fact that you top out under $30k and get everything you could possibly want makes it even more attractive.

Another bonus for the city: Honda’s safety suite is standard on the base trim. And when equipped with the up-level headlights, it makes the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick list.

The Specs
Engine: 1.5-liter, inline 4-cylinder, turbo
Horsepower: 174 (180 Sport models)
Torque: 162 lb-ft (177 Sport models)
Fuel economy (combined): 34 mpg (32 mpg Sport models)
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Height: 56.5 inches (56.3 inches Sport models)
Width: 70.8 inches
Length: 177.9 inches
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity (behind rear seats): 25.7 cu ft (22.6 cu ft Sport models)
Base price: $22,705
Price as tested: $29,105

Filed under: Reviews

Leave a comment