2020 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport new car reviews

Not much has changed for 2020 on the new-for-2019 Honda Civic, except for a bit of sad news: Tonic Yellow—the color of our 2019 Civic Si project—is not available on the hatchback. Honda press photos do show it on a Civic Coupe, however we were unable to build any 2020 Civic in Tonic Yellow. Is it gone forever?

This go ‘round we tested the five-door Sport with the CVT which has an MSRP of $24,480. Thanks to Honda's simplified options and pricing scheme, that number only includes the $930 destination charge. 

The Hatchback Sport comes with the 180-horsepower, 1.5-liter engine that is not an option for the Sedan Sport. You do get your choice of transmissions: either a six-speed manual or the aforementioned CVT. If fuel mileage is your main concern, the CVT bests the manual in both the city—29 mpg versus 25—and on the highway—37 mpg versus 36.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Take everything that I just wrote about the Civic EX Coupe and package it in a wonderful five-door body while shaving off a few bucks, and you have my review. Peeling away a few luxury items doesn’t cheapen the feel, while that five-door wagon adds a heap of practicality. Plus it looks meaner than it should.

Our tester had the CVT transmission, but this one is also available with a real six-speed manual box. Going that route costs less than $23,000 all in. I first drove this one in 2017 and everything I said then still holds water.

Assuming the Si is out of your range, I can’t think of anything else I’d buy new for that price.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood
Associate Editor

Are you familiar with our “Yellow AF” Honda Civic Si? You are? Well this isn’t that. Instead, this is a much more subdued take on that formula. What the Civic Hatchback lacks in track prowess, it makes up for in subtlety—and that’s something I can appreciate.

The Si and the Type R are amazing, but (and I know this may be shocking) for some people they can come across as too “boy racer” for them. I disagree, but I can see where they are coming from. The Civic Hatchback is a good compromise for people who want to have a little fun when they drive, without being too shouty about it.

When I asked David what he thought about the car before he let me drive it, he told me that the Civic was just about all the car anyone needs, and I have to I agree. The turbo 1.5 has enough oomph to give you a smile when you want to push it, and enough creature comforts when you feel like taking it easy. Being a hatchback with 46 cu ft of space with the seats folded (according to Honda) makes it easy to live with, too. And if you have been inside a Honda product recently, everything will feel familiar.

In case you aren’t familiar, or you are just curious about the different drive modes for the CVT, drive mode drives just like a CVT: rpms rise as you accelerate and fall when you get off the accelerator. Put the shift lever down into Sport, and the rpms will “hang” in order to keep you in the power band. For a little more fun, you can use the paddles on the back of steering wheel “shift” through 6 ratios that simulate gears while in sport mode. While not as engaging as a manual, the CVT can hustle through ratios surprisingly quick in this drive mode.

And, since I have your attention, do you think paddles belong on the steering column, or on the steering wheel? Asking for a friend.

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Sonic UltraDork
10/30/19 1:46 p.m.

Per Honda's own website the sport hatchback comes standard with the 1.5 turbo motor.  

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
10/30/19 2:46 p.m.
Sonic said:

Per Honda's own website the sport hatchback comes standard with the 1.5 turbo motor.  

Amended. There was some confusion in the press release on their media site between the sedan/hatchback. The sedan Sport does not have the option of the 1.5-liter four, while all variants of the Hatchback Sport come only with the 1.5.

300zxfreak New Reader
11/2/19 8:16 a.m.

Shift paddles definitely belong on the wheel, not the column. If they're on the column, you lose access to them while turning the wheel.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Reader Services
11/4/19 9:51 a.m.

In reply to 300zxfreak :

I think I have to agree with you on that, especially in passenger cars.

79rex Reader
11/4/19 6:59 p.m.

seeing these be considered a hatchback makes me miss a time when hatchback meant small and lightwheight.

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