2024 Honda Civic Hatchback Review and Test Drive

An affordable intersection of form, function, and fun.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blueChristian Wardlaw


Small, fun, zippy cars are my favorite kind. They're affordable and enjoyable, quick enough to entertain without drawing unwanted attention, and usually easy enough to insure on a budget. If they have a hatchback design, practicality is part of the recipe, making them both sensible and speedy.

Enter the 2024 Honda Civic hatchback. In turbocharged form, it's a terrific little car — so good that if you're contemplating buying a Honda HR-V crossover, you ought to also consider the Civic hatch.

Believe it or not, by Honda's measurements, they're about the same size inside. But the Civic weighs less, offers more power, and gets better gas mileage. You can't get all-wheel drive on the Civic, but it's a ton more fun to drive than the HR-V. That may be why the Civic costs a little more, especially in the top trim level.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blueChristian Wardlaw

2024 Honda Civic Prices Are on the High Side

The 2024 Honda Civic hatchback comes in LX, Sport, EX-L, and Sport Touring trim levels. Base prices range from the mid-$20,000s to the low $30,000s, including the destination charge to ship the car from the Greensburg, Indiana, factory that builds it to your local dealership.

For this Civic hatchback review, I test-drove the Sport Touring in Southern California. The only option was the extra-cost Boost Blue paint, bringing the test vehicle's manufacturer's suggested retail price to $33,000, including the $1,095 destination charge. Honda provided the car for this Civic hatchback review.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback dashboard and front seatsChristian Wardlaw

Appealing Design With Thoughtful Details

Proportionally, hatchbacks can look odd. They're typically shorter than an equivalent sedan, and designers usually shave all the length off the back, resulting in an awkwardly stubby appearance. The 2024 Civic hatchback mostly avoids this. I find it to be one of the most visually appealing Civic hatches in history.

That's especially evident in the car's interior. With EX-L and Sport Touring trim, the cabin features leather upholstery. It enhances the quality materials, the metallic accents, the metal honeycomb mesh spanning the dashboard to hide the air vents, and the classy knurled knobs for the stereo volume and climate control functions. Black is the most common interior choice, but you can get light gray with some exterior paint colors.

Honda equips the Civic hatchback with digital instrumentation and a 7.0-inch or 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system display. Separately, nearly all controls and interfaces are logical and intuitive, making finding and using what you seek easy.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback back seatChristian Wardlaw

Comfortable Seats and Roomy Accommodations

With EX-L and Sport Touring trim, leather isn't the only upgrade. These versions of the Civic hatch also get dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats. The Sport Touring additionally offers a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, but I found it a pointless upgrade, as it doesn't modify the height.

I thought the Civic was quite comfortable, but it sits close to the ground, so getting in and out can be more difficult than a typical crossover SUV. That's especially noticeable for the front passenger, who cannot raise their seat for improved support and easier entry and exit.

The Civic hatch's back seat accommodates two adults or three kids. The cushion is supportive and the backrest is angled correctly. There is just enough legroom, footroom, and headroom to satisfy most grown-ups. Teenagers will likely be happy with the exclusive USB charging ports I saw in the test vehicle, but the Civic lacks rear air-conditioning vents.

 2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blueChristian Wardlaw

Capably Carries More Than Just People

Honda ensures the Civic hatch accommodates more than just people, thoughtfully designing the generous in-cabin storage space. Rear passengers also benefit from decent space for stashing stuff.

Of course, the point of a hatchback is versatility for carrying cargo. Raise the rakishly sloping hatch, and Honda says you'll find 24.5 cubic-feet of cargo space. That's enough volume for four full-size suitcases tucked under the handy cargo cover, with room left for packing to the roof.

You can fold the 60/40-split folding back seat down to create even more space. Unfortunately, Honda doesn't provide a maximum cargo volume measurement.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback infotainment screen and dashboardChristian Wardlaw

The Infotainment Is Top Shelf Tech Only in the Top Trim

All Civic hatchbacks have a touchscreen infotainment system. Most trim levels include a 7.0-inch display, Bluetooth connectivity, text-messaging support, basic HondaLink services, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. With Sport and EX-L trim, an eight-speaker sound system is also standard.

Upgrade to Sport Touring trim, and the Civic gets a larger 9.0-inch touchscreen plus wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, a navigation system, and an impressive 12-speaker Bose premium audio system. In addition, this version of the infotainment system allows you to customize feature settings and add favorite shortcuts for an improved user experience.

I like the Sport Touring's infotainment system. Large "home" and "back" buttons make it easy to find your way, while a volume knob and tuning buttons provide quick access to commonly used stereo controls. The native voice recognition system isn't as good to use as your smartphone's digital assistant, so run Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and you can bypass the need to use specific commands to find points of interest and get directions to destinations.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback digital instrumentation behind steering wheelChristian Wardlaw

Sport Touring Trim Supplies Impressive Digital Gauges

All Civic hatchbacks offer digital instrumentation. The LX, Sport, and EX-L have a 7.0-inch display, while the Sport Touring has a more sophisticated 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster.

While I find the controls for programming the gauges and accessing the data to be nonintuitive, one thing is so brilliant that every automaker should immediately adopt Honda's approach.

In the middle of the panel, you'll find a small Civic icon that shows you when various lighting elements are on. For example, it shows the driver when the headlights are illuminated, the turn signals are active, the hazard flashers are on, and the brake lights are showing (including when you're using the adaptive cruise control).

Considering how many people drive around in inclement weather without their lights on or with a turn signal left active by mistake, this is an excellent way to prevent people from doing so. What would be even better is if Honda added a head-up display and showed this information on the windshield.

Other tech aboard the Civic hatch includes a walk-away automatic locking function (for all but the Civic LX) and a wireless smartphone charger in the Sport Touring.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback safety feature controls on steering wheelChristian Wardlaw

Watch Your Blind Spot, Even With Honda Sensing

Honda Sensing is standard on the 2024 Civic hatchback. This collection of safety features includes a competitive set of advanced driving-assistance systems, with a significant exception: Honda doesn't offer blind-spot monitoring with LX or Sport trim, not even as an option.

Considering how vital that safety feature is, I can't understand the decision to omit it from the most affordable versions of the car. To get it, you must upgrade to EX-L or Sport Touring trim. Furthermore, only the Civic Sport Touring has rear cross-traffic alert and parking sensors.

With Sport and Sport Touring trim, you can get a manual gearbox in the Civic hatch. Those models are unavailable with Honda Sensing's low-speed follow and Traffic Jam Assist features, which require the car's continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).

My test car had the CVT, but I didn't encounter heavy enough traffic to use those functions. The other Honda Sensing features, particularly the adaptive cruise control and lane-centering systems, are remarkably sophisticated. In my experience, the tech is accurate, refined, and easy to trust, and the digital instrumentation clearly conveys their status.

The Civic boasts impressive safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the car a five-star overall rating, including a five-star rollover resistance score. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety called the 2024 Civic Hatchback a Top Safety Pick+ for the 2023 calendar year. A lower score in a newly updated side-impact test, however, may prevent the car from earning the same accolade for 2024.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blue with hood up and engine exposedChristian Wardlaw

Honda Does Its Part to Save the Manuals

Two engines are available in the Civic hatchback. With LX and Sport trim, the car gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. Step up to EX-L or Sport Touring trim for a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating a healthy 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft, with the torque arriving at 1,700 rpm.

A CVT is standard with both engines, but you can get a six-speed manual transmission in the Civic Sport and Sport Touring.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blueChristian Wardlaw

Terrific Fun to Drive — Most of the Time

That turbocharged engine isn't quite as strong as what Honda installs in the Civic Si sedan (200 horsepower and 192 lb-ft), but you're unlikely to miss the extra 20 ponies and 15 lb-ft of torque. The Sport Touring hatchback is lots of fun to drive, and while I would prefer the manual gearbox, the CVT isn't a significant liability.

You can choose between Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes, and each one affects the car's responsiveness. Acceleration won't light your hair on fire — this isn't the rip-roaring Type R — but the Sport Touring can lead a pack away from an intersection.

In daily driving situations, the worst thing about the Civic Sport Touring is the noise, noise, noise, noise! This car is loud inside on the highway, even on brand-new blacktop. You might wish for earplugs, since most roads are older and in disrepair. Otherwise, the Civic turbo is a delight, zipping around corners, whipping into parking spaces, and darting through holes in commuter traffic.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blueChristian Wardlaw

On weekends, winding roads beckon, and the Sport Touring is eager to show you its moves. Honda deftly balances ride compliance and body motion control, and my test car's P235/40R-18 Continental ContiProContact tires supply impressive grip. The Civic Sport Touring effortlessly zooms down twisty two-lane roads with grace, poise, and confidence, offering the predictable behavior that leads to driver trust and confidence.

I had lots of fun driving the Civic Sport Touring hatchback, as evidenced by my 30.2 mpg observed fuel-economy average on the evaluation loop. That's lower than the official EPA rating of 30/38/33 mpg in city/highway/combined driving.

2024 Honda Civic Hatchback in bright blue side viewChristian Wardlaw

The Civic Hatchback Faces Few Rivals, but They're Formidable

The selection of compact hatchbacks is limited. In addition to the Honda, you can choose the Mazda 3 hatchback, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla hatchback, or Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Each of these alternatives brings something unique to the recipe. The Mazda looks and feels like an entry-level luxury car. The Subaru is a good value and offers standard all-wheel drive. The Toyota has a longstanding reputation for reliability. And the VW is the godfather of hot hatches. So as great as the Civic hatchback is, its few rivals are just as appealing, and only turbocharged Mazda 3s and the Golf GTI make the Honda seem like a bargain.

Nevertheless, in the 2024 Civic hatchback, Honda has crafted an excellent example of a small car. With style, quality, practicality, safety, helpful technology, and rewarding driving dynamics, the Civic hatch isn't missing much other than an optional all-wheel-drive system. But maybe Honda thinks you can just swap into the comparatively dull HR-V for that feature.

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.