They say that Europeans make fun of North Americans for not knowing, for the most part, how to drive cars with manual gearboxes. They are not wrong. Every day fewer people in the United States know how to drive this type of car. Only 18% can do it, and if in 1995 27% of the cars sold in that country had a manual transmission, today they only report 2.4%.
Of that 18% who know how to drive a manual car, the percentage of millennials or young people from Generation Z must be very low, but for those who make fun of them, I remind them that we older people do not like it when they show us our ineptitude with electronic devices.
I couldn’t hide my surprise when a Honda Civic Hatchback, gear stick included, was brought to my door for the weekly test. It is the first car of this type that I remember in a couple of years. It’s the eleventh generation of the Civic to debut in 2022, and the first two completed feature manual transmissions, which we’ll also see in the higher-performance Civic Type R.
For the first time, the Honda Civic Hatchback is built in the United States, at the plant in Greensburg, Indiana. The 11th generation Civic uses new construction methods that make it lighter and stronger than its predecessors, allowing Honda to improve the safety, fuel economy, and refinement of a car that has always been at the top of its game. the list of those who choose their cars beyond their utilitarian connotation.
from outside and inside
All that stridency has been left behind. The new Honda Civic, including the Hatchback, is much more measured and not unattractive. The 2022 Hatchback model maintains the architecture that we can associate with a Sportback, with a precipitously falling roofline.
The design is cleaner and more mature and appears to be lower, wider, and sportier. What is lost in plastic trim and faux vents from the previous model, it’s gained in road presence.
Cabin materials are attractive, with plenty of smooth surfaces. We especially liked the intricate metal honeycomb panel, which runs the length of the dash and hides the air vents.
Equipment and security
For the first time, the Honda Civic comes standard with a touchscreen infotainment system. Its standard screen is 7 inches for LX, Sport, and EX-L models, while a larger 9-inch screen comes on Touring and Sport Touring models. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also included in all 2022 Honda Civics, and you’ll be able to use them wirelessly with the larger screen systems. A 10.2-inch digital instrument display is also standard on the Sport Touring trim, along with an impressive 12-speaker Bose premium sound system, a navigation system with real-time traffic data, and wireless smartphone charging. All this load of technology seems to be a good excuse to choose the Sport Touring version of the car.
Honda equips the 2022 Civic hatchback with the same new infotainment system and next-generation Honda Sensing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that you’ll find in the Civic sedan. The graphics are sharp and the controls are easy to understand, but my test Civic Hatchback did notice some sluggishness when the system boots up.
Following the pattern of other manufacturers, especially Korean and Japanese, the active safety features are extensive. They leave only optional blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, and rain-activated windshield wipers, which are all included on EX-L and Sport Touring trim levels.
On the road
Both entry levels of the 2022 Civic Hatchback feature a 158-horsepower naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine.
Reserved for the EX-L and Sport Touring is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine capable of producing 180 horsepower.
Although Honda no longer offers a shifter box for the Civic sedan, it is available for both the Sport Touring trim and the Sport trim of the Civic hatchback. He’ll also be able to continue to show off his “Fangio” skills in the upcoming Civic Si and Civic Type R.
It took me a few minutes to sync up my brain sensors with my left foot, to operate the Civic Hatchback’s light clutch pedal. Once the mastery was achieved, the rest was just enjoyment… well, almost everything.
While the pleasure of feeling in control, howling the tires, or slowing down before entering a hairpin turn or corner, the intrusive stop-start system provoked my anger on more than one occasion.
This system that many already know momentarily stops the engine when we are at a red light, or parked briefly for another reason. The intention of the “Start-Stop” as it is known in English, is to maximize fuel economy. Nothing against. It’s just that I think I’m in the majority if I say I don’t like the system.
Luckily there is a switch to deactivate it…until the next time you start the engine of course. I don’t understand the reasoning for putting the stop-start device in a manual car, but venturing into finding logic in corporate decisions can be complicated and even unwise.
Another absence that I noticed was that of “rev-matching” or coincidence of the revolutions when we reduce speeds, but with this, we can coexist.
The rest of the test drive? One last.
Although the Honda Civic and its Hatchback version have traditionally been recognized for their good manners on the road, adjustments and improvements here and there pay dividends. The Civic’s electronic power steering has been tweaked, as have better body materials, damper readjustments, and increased structural rigidity.
The 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback isn’t a sports car, but I’m sure that in its category and for the price, few contenders will match it when we take it out on the narrow roads with inclines and steep descents where we like to test cars.
Fuel efficiency is on par with its competitors. 33 mpg (miles per gallon) or 7.13 liters per 100 km with continuous transmission or CVT or 29 mpg (8.11 l/100 km) for models with manual transmission are their consumption figures.
The 2022 Honda Civic comes in sedan and hatchback body styles like the one we tested. The hatchback is available in LX, Sport, EX-L, and Sport Touring trims.
The Civic hatchback LX starts at $22,900, followed by the Sport for $24,100. EX-L and Sport Touring trims range from $26,600 to $29,400. As we mentioned before, there are attractive options such as wireless phone charging or connection to Apple or Android without the use of cables that are only available in these two superior finishes.
Civic sedan versions are slightly cheaper than the hatchback, ranging from $21,700 to $28,300 for the top of the range.
Toyota, Honda’s long-standing competitor also has a hatchback version of the Corolla, and the Mazda 3, Subaru Impreza, or Hyundai Veloster also compete in the category.
It’s gratifying to know that among the few models sold in North America with a manual gearbox is a Honda option. The 2022 Civic Hatchback, and any 11th Gen Honda Civic in general, are hard to find major faults with.
As the brand’s calling card to new buyers, the Civic bears a lot of responsibility. For being an efficient, refined, well-designed, finished, and performing car, pleasant to drive and for bringing an anti-theft device for millennials (the manual gearbox…sorry I couldn’t resist) the 2022 Civic hatchback remains ahead of the competition of compact cars.