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The Honda Civic hatchback is a hatch made in heaven

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by July 20, 2017 General

The interior of the Honda Civic hatchback. — Picture by HondaThe interior of the Honda Civic hatchback. — Picture by HondaSINGAPORE, July 21 — Let us say this right from the start: It is very hard to fault the latest-generation Honda Civic. It is one of the sportiest-looking cars in its segment, it handles well and is comfortable and well-built, and it drives remarkably, thanks to its 1.5-litre turbo powerplant.

However, despite that, there is a growing segment — mainly from a younger generation of drivers — who eschews the idea of owning a saloon, which is usually associated with the older crowd.

This could account for why the Honda Civic has been left out of this group’s shopping list when looking for cars of that class — what with hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf or Volvo V40 also available.

However, Honda has come into that game with the Civic 1.5 Hatchback Turbo.

In terms of power, its 1.5-litre turbocharged engine can outpunch, say, a BMW 116d.

And unlike an earlier version, the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) has been subtly improved, and its noise reduced.

When it comes to handling, this version of the Civic takes corners with a fluency and confidence that would easily keep up with its European peers.

But it is the level of quality and design that caught our eye.

A look at the equipment and features list also reveals value: A large touchscreen centre display and Apple CarPlay connectivity mean it checks all the boxes for navigation, communication and entertainment needs.

A cool party trick is the Lanewatch system. Whenever the left turn signal is activated, the central screen displays an image captured from a video camera in the far side wing mirror. This comes in handy to spot any bikes or vehicles that may be in your blind spot before you make the turn or change lanes.

It also has a trait that Civics of yesteryear were loved for: Terrific all-round visibility. When you are seated, you feel like you are in a low-slung sports car. The view out of the windscreen is only framed slightly by the front fenders that rise above the bonnet; and the window lines are also lower, which means parking in tight spaces is easy.

The hatchback also has the added advantage of a secondary windscreen below the rear spoiler that recalls Honda’s previous coupes such as the CR-X and CR-Z hybrid. Not only is this a cool homage, it also improves the rearward visibility over the saloon.

However, the Civic Hatchback, with prices starting from S$140,999 (RM442,591) with COE, costs S$10,000 more than the saloon variant.

One reason for this? Its carbon dioxide output. At 136g/km, the car misses out on the S$5,000 CEVS rebate given to cars with emissions that are less than, or equal to, 135g/km.

Perhaps one consolation is that without the rebate, the Civic hatchback stands to command a higher resale value: There is more PARF value to be reclaimed at the end of its COE life cycle. Sheldon Trollope.

Honda Civic 1.5 Hatchback turbo

Engine: 1,498cc 4-cyl turbo, 173hp, 220Nm

Performance: 200km/h, 0-100km/h 8.4seconds, 6.0l/100km, 136g/km

Price: S$140,999 with COE. — TODAY

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