Honda brings Civic hatch back in style

Good things don’t necessarily come in small packages. It’s more like good things make great use of space. The 2017 Honda Civic hatchback is one of the roomiest compact hatches, which makes it competitive not just with other hatches but with America’s darling, the compact crossover.

The Civic hatch returns after a 12-year hiatus in the American market, riding a swell of popularity after the redesigned Honda Civic sedan, which won 2016 North American Car of the Year.

Like the sedan, the Civic hatch swings from the boring side of its predecessor to the edgy. It’s over 4 inches shorter than the sedan, and a bit taller while maintaining the same interior roominess. That results in a more fastback — or insect-back, depending on who you ask — curve of the roofline. The front and rear overhangs are short, with a black splitter up front and black accents on the rockers below the doors. There are giant black vents in the fascia that more functionally house fog lights. The black wheels on our top of line Sport Touring trim complement the black cladding on the mirror mounts and window trim. It all looks pretty impressive.

The rear is where things can get wacky. There’s an integrated rear spoiler in the hatch roof, and a wing on the hatch that bridges the C-shaped taillights. Giant black vents flank the center-mounted twin tailpipes for no apparent reason other than looks. It evokes a European hot hatch without any hotness coming from the 180-horsepower turbocharged engine.