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The hatchback version of the popular compact is available with a manual or CVT transmission that performs well.

COURTESY PHOTO: HONDA - The 2022 Honda Civic Hatchbackfeatures a unique mesh front grill for a bolder appearence.For auto enthusiasts on a budget, the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback is the one to buy. That is the only version that can be ordered with a six-speed manual transmission. And it is available with both the normally-aspirated 158-horsepower 2.0 or the punchier 180-horsepower turbocharged 1.5 version. Sedan versions only come with a

Continuously Variable Transmission.

That said, I was surprised but not disappointed when Honda gave me a turbo Civic Hatchback equipped with a CVT to test. I've owned and tested a lot of cars with manual transmissions over the years. Although I still enjoy them at times, most of my driving is done in traffic or on the steep hills in my neighborhood. I've come to appreciate the convenience and smoothness of newer automatics and, although early CVT's were not as good, those produced by Honda are now among the best on the market. The one in my tester included a Sport mode that genuinely improved performance but did not require constant rowing during day-to-day driving.

COURTESY PHOTO: HONDA - The 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback is both great looking and practical.

I'll be glad to test the manual version, but even those who prefer it will not be disappointed by anything else about the completely redesigned Civic. Sedan or hatchback, it is the most refined Civic ever built. Even the base models feel sophisticated on the road.

Part of this is because new Civic has a stronger body, with an 8% improvement in torsional rigidity and a 13% improvement in bending rigidity. Honda also says the suspension has been retuned for a 20% smoother ride, aided by a 1.4-inch longer wheelbase, making it the longest in its class.

The all-new chassis improves handling while increasing interior room, especially with the hatchback, which now offers its largest back seat ever. The new simple and clean vertical dash design increases the spacious feeling. The leather interior in my top-of-the-line Sport Touring version is classier than anything I would have ever expected in a compact economy car.

COURTESY PHOTO: HONDA - The completely redesigned interior of the 2022 Honda Civic is more refined than previous versions.

I was surprised when I first saw the current Civic. After amping the exterior of the last generation up to almost cartoonish boy racer proportions, the 2022 version is much more subdued, especially compared to the new Hyundai Elantra, which is as angled as much as a knife set. But I've come to appreciate the restrained muscularity of the new version, especially the hatchback with the integrated rear spoiler. I think the front air dam could be a little more aggressive, but an available HPD package provides more lower body trim.

I have now tested three versions of the 2022 Civic and been impressed with all of them. The first was a Sport sedan, which is one step above the base LX. It came with a durable looking cloth interior and normally-aspirated 2.0-liter, which I though provided plenty of power for daily driving, even when mated to the CVT. It was priced at under $26,000, even with the HPD appearance package.

COURTESY PHOTO: HONDA - The display screen in the 2022 Honda Civic now sits high on the dash above the mesh-covered climate control vents.

The next was a top-of-the-line Touring sedan, which came with a leather interior and the more powerful turbocharged 1.5-liter engine, which made it more fun to drive. It was priced at just under $30,000.

But I prefer hatchback version because of the sportier styling and greater practicality. Although my top-of-the-line Sport Touring version included a leather interior and the turbocharged engine, it was still priced at just over $30,000, which is a bargain given its quality and full suite of comfort, convenience, safety other technology features.

It's impossible to go wrong with any version of completely redesigned 2022 Honda Civic, however. The 11th generation of the perpetually best-selling compact is the best yet.

COURTESY PHOTO: HONDA - The hatchback version of the 2022 Honda Civic is available with a six-speed manual transmission.

A previous Pamplin Media Group review of the 2022 Honda Civic sedan can be found here.

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring

Base price: $23,350 (LX)

Price as tested: $30,415

Style: Compact sedan

Engines: 2.0-liter 4 (158 hp, 138 lbs-ft); turbocharged 1.5-liter 4 (180 hp, 177 lbs-ft - as tested)

Transmission: 6-speed manual; Continuously Variable Transmission

Drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport

EPA fuel economy: 30/37 (as tested) to 31/38t

Length: 184 inches

Weight: 2,877 to 3,077 pounds

Final assembly point: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

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