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11 Best 2017 Cars Under $30,000

4. 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring

Market segment: Compact car
Body style: Four-door hatchback
Base price: $29,175
Price as tested: $29,175
Key options: None
For: Lively performance, added cargo space over sedan, reputation for reliability
Against: Clumsy infotainment system, CVT transmission instead of a conventional automatic, no stand-alone options offered
Next big change: Freshening for model-year 2019 or 2020

Four-door sedan and two-door coupe versions of the compact Civic are joined by a
a European-styled four-door hatchback body style for model-year 2017. It’s our pick of the line for what it can pack: far more stuff than in the sedan’s 15.7-cubic-foot trunk, thanks to an accessible 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats upright, and 46.2 cubic feet with them folded.

Honda festoons the new Civic hatchback with fake air vents, so the styling can seem a little too busy to some eyes. But as in the sedan, the passenger compartment looks and feels rich and back-seat room is good. Every Civic boasts an outstanding blend of ride and handling, and the Sport Touring hones it with quicker-ratio steering and added grip from low-profile 18-inch tires on alloy wheels. Civic hatchbacks come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 174 horsepower in LX and EX models and 180 in Sport and Sport Touring versions, for which Honda recommended premium-octane gas. You can get an LX or Sport with a six-speed manual transmission or a gearless continuously variable automatic transmission.

Slipping in under our $30K ceiling, the Sport Touring Hatchback comes with every feature Honda offers on the Civic. These include LED headlights with automatic high-beams, leather upholstery, a navigation system, pushbutton ignition, power moonroof, power front seats, and heated front and rear seats. The audio system has 540 watts with 12 speakers, including a subwoofer, and Apple CarPlay, android Auto and Pandora compatibility. The Sport Touring also includes the Honda Sensing safety suite with adaptive cruise control, lane-wander-correcting automatic steering and autonomous emergency braking designed to stop the car to avoid a frontal collision.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]