Calgary Herald



A hatchback just makes so much sense. So says Airdrie driver Chris Skelton, who spent a week becoming familiar with the 2023 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring.

“I really like a hatchback for the ease of getting things in and out of the car,” Skelton says. “Plus, in my opinion, on this Honda the hatch gives the car a more elegant profile than the sedan.”

Honda completely redesigned its Civic models for the 2022 model year — the Hatchback was then a new addition to the lineup — and the car is now in its 11th generation. For 2023, the Civic Hatchback was available in four models, from base LX to Sport Touring. For fans of a stick shift and third pedal, the LX and the Sport Touring could be equipped with a six-speed manual transmissi­on. Otherwise, a continuous­ly variable transmissi­on (CVT) is paired with a 180-horsepower turbocharg­ed four-cylinder engine — except in the case of the LX. That base model is equipped with a naturally aspirated 2.0 L four-cylinder. Regular gasoline is recommende­d in all power plants. For 2024 in Canada, Honda is offering the Sport and Sport Touring versions, and the Sport Touring can still be had with a stick shift. All other specs are the same as 2023 models.

Skelton's Sport Touring tester was a bit under $37,500 before taxes and fees and had the CVT transmissi­on. It was finished in Crystal Black Pearl paint, which added $300. It's a hue that is a personal favourite for Skelton, and he says this colour gave the car a handsome appearance.

“It's not an outwardly aggressive-looking vehicle,” he says of the Hatchback Sport Touring. “There is very little overhang front or back and it has a wide track and long wheelbase. The roofline really is quite low, too. I'm six feet tall, and the top of the car sat just below my chest.”

That roofline didn't interfere with Skelton's ability to enter the cockpit and once seated, the interior found favour.

“The driver's seat is a very pleasant place to sit. It's nicely bolstered and the eight-way power adjustment makes it easy to position,” Skelton says. “All controls to set the car up for driving were simple to find and great to manipulate.”

In the Sport Touring model, all seating surfaces are leather and both front and rear seats are heated.

“Once I was sat in it, you could tell it was low slung but there was plenty of headroom for me,” he says.

Initially, he found the digital dash quite cluttered with informatio­n until he was able to set it up with just the basics: speed, tach and other vitals such as fuel level. Once that was done, he was quite happy with the layout and he says the dash was at all times easy to see. The leather-wrapped heated steering wheel felt good in the hands, too, and was equipped with tactile buttons to manipulate many functions.

“The climate controls were all buttons and dials and they're laid out very clearly, and I'm a fan of knobs and switches over digital adjustment­s,” Skelton says, “but the nine-inch colour touchscree­n was OK, and it always responded quickly to inputs.”

Overall fit and finish was “high quality” and the doors closed with a solid thunk, “nothing sounded flimsy.”

Skelton was especially impressed with the turbocharg­ed four-cylinder power plant and the CVT transmissi­on.

“I was quite surprised it was a CVT, because it didn't sound or feel like other CVT equipped cars I've driven. It felt like it was shifting through gears, and it got you up to speed quite nicely.”

Skelton and his wife Jacqui took the Sport Touring for a two-night stay in Canmore and Banff. On the highway, the car was quiet, and “it certainly wasn't lacking for power on the highway.”

Skelton found the adaptive cruise control easy to set, and he used it on the highway with the Civic in Honda's ECON mode. The car kept its speed going up hills and slowed down effectivel­y when going down them — or when approachin­g a slower-moving vehicle.

Skelton thinks the car best suits a young family, a mom and dad and perhaps a child or two, looking for a commuter or a touring vehicle. He found it economical to drive, achieving as low as 6.0 L/100 km in ECON mode on the highway, and between 7 and 9 L/100 km in the city.

“I'd recommend it,” he says. “It's fun to drive with enough power and plenty in reserve for everyday driving.”

If you've bought a vehicle in the past year and want to share your experience­s, we want to hear from you! Send us a note telling us about the vehicle you bought to info@driving. ca and you might appear in a review.

 ?? DARREN MAKOWICHUK ?? Chris Skelton with the 2023 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring. “It's fun to drive with enough power and plenty in reserve for everyday driving,” Skelton says.
DARREN MAKOWICHUK Chris Skelton with the 2023 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring. “It's fun to drive with enough power and plenty in reserve for everyday driving,” Skelton says.
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