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Civic hatch is all loaded up

HONDA has added a new sporty and athletic feel to its latest Civic hatch range, managing to move up to another level for a vehicle that many thought was just about perfect already.

Honda could have been excused for leaving the Civic as it was. It is the Japanese vehicle maker’s longest-running and largest-selling model and is on sale in 170 markets around the world.

But in its constant aim to move forward, Honda has given the Civic hatch something of a workover.

The range starts with the Civic SX hatch, the model used for the test drive, which retails at $32,900 plus on-road costs, and goes all the way up to the RS Sport Turbo Hatch.

The big change that Honda devotees will notice is in the silhouette, a design that shares the same platform as the new Civic sedan.

The sleek and swept-back silhouette is intended to reflect a fresh and distinctive new Honda design direction, projecting a youthful and sporty design into the next era. If that is the case, it has succeeded.

All hatch variants feature a body-coloured upper tailgate spoiler and a black lower rear spoiler with piano black grille and a sports interior with dark roof lining and pillar trims.

The new hatch is longer, lower and wider than the previous model.

The high-tech front lamp clusters feature LED headlights and LED running lights.

Looking the part is one thing. Honda drivers also expect a high standard of drive qualities and they will certainly not be disappointed with this new addition to the family.

The SX is a jaunty and enthusiastic vehicle, with a 1.8 litre, i-VITEC petrol engine putting out 104kW at 6500rpm and 174Nm of torque at 4300rpm. The fuel economy stands at a highly desirable 6 litres/100 kms.

Like all Hondas, the latest Civic hatch is a dream to drive, benefiting from Honda’s agile handling- assist programme developed to increase vehicle responsiveness and stability.

The interior features a brightly-coloured instrument panel with a large digital speedometer positioned right at the centre where you can’t miss it. No excuses for slipping over the speed limit in this baby.

Total storage capacity is up, with the hatch offering a 60/40 rear seat split.

There is a long nice-to-have list with the latest hatch, things like 16-inch alloy wheels, reversing camera and dynamic parking aid, leather-wrapped steering wheel and digital climate control with straight drive assist to name just a few.

Add to that a safety package that contains a lane- watch camera, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency stop signal and the vehicle safety-assist programme and you cannot go wrong.

The 2017 Civic is loaded and ready to go.