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by Tim Beissmann

The Honda Civic hatch has been launched in Australia with a sharp new look, added technology and, crucially, a more competitive starting price.

Priced from $22,650 before on-road costs, the entry-level Civic hatch VTi-S manual is more than $7000 cheaper than the old Civic Si, which was available as a single variant from $29,990.

The new pricing brings the hatch more in line with the recently launched Honda Civic sedan, which ranges from $20,990 for the VTi-L manual to $27,990 for the Sport automatic.

For the price, the Civic hatch VTi-S comes with 16-inch alloy wheels and a space saver spare; LED daytime running lights, side indicators, and tail-lights; climate control; driver’s seat height adjustment; intelligent multi-information display system; and a four-speaker audio system with AUX and USB ports. The optional automatic transmission adds $2300.

It’s a reasonable starting specification, although it’s a bit of a let down that Bluetooth phone connectivity is an option and cruise control is unavailable.

To get those features standard you have to step up $5040 to the high-grade, auto-only Civic hatch VTi-L, which also scores larger 17-inch alloys, automatic headlights, fog lights, electric folding side mirrors, dual-zone climate control, rear-view camera, drilled alloy sports pedals, leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, rear armrest with cup holders, and a seven-speaker premium audio system.

Reversing sensors are optional, although features like satellite navigation and a sunroof are not available.

The standard safety package has been awarded the maximum five stars by ANCAP, and includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control, and a number of other active and passive features.

Under the bonnet sits a mildly retuned 1.8-litre petrol engine with 104kW of power (at 6500rpm) and 174Nm of torque (at 4300rpm) – up 1kW from before.

Like the sedan, the big improvements have been made in efficiency, however, with the six-speed manual now 12 per cent more frugal at 6.1 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, and the five-speed automatic 10 per cent better than before at 6.5L/100km.

CarAdvice is at the local launch of the 2012 Honda Civic hatch today. Stay tuned for our first drive review, coming soon.

2012 Honda Civic hatch prices:

  • VTi-S manual – $22,650 ($24,990 driveaway)
  • VTi-S automatic – $24,950 ($27,290 driveaway)
  • VTi-L automatic – $29,990



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