At one point or another in life, practicality starts to take precedence over pizazz. When you’re younger, sure $300 on a pair of Air Jordans seems perfectly reasonable, but once you have a mortgage to pay for and live on your own, suddenly, those $40 New Balance seem like a much, much better return on the investment — presuming you plan on actually wearing the sneakers. When you decide you want your own place, yeah a one bedroom apartment in the city sounds like an awesome idea, but when you have a couple kids, and need more than a phone booth sized living room, a small single family house in the suburbs sounds a lot more reasonable. And so it is with cars as well. We all want a ZO6 or a Tesla Model S, but when it comes right down to it, once we see that car note and insurance payment looming, a car like the 2022 Honda Civic Hatch starts to make a lot of sense.

As with all Civics since the dawn of time, they are predicated on the idea that value is top priority, but that doesn’t mean it needs to imitate a first generation Prius. The now 11th Generation Civic hatchback comes to the table with a bit more maturity and less novelty than the car it replaces. Gone is the instantly-dated, geometry-class-inspired cladding, and in its stead is a much more refined and composed look that looks even better on the hatchback version than the regular sedan. Normally, the hatch version of the Civic takes on a pregnant roller-skate look, but thankfully for 2022 it seems Honda has found a way to streamline the Civic’s profile to resemble the same idea we see with the BMW Gran Coupe, albeit with a little less size and flair.

The big news is that unlike the new Civic Sedan, the 2022 Honda Civic Hatch offers up a bit of fun to go along with its frugality. It is currently the only trim that offers a tried-and-true manual transmission, presumably until the SI and R models roll out (but will be based on this car anyway). Power comes from either a standard issue 2.0-liter naturally aspirated DOHC inline-4 that makes a conservative 158-horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, or opt for the smaller yet more powerful 1.5-liter DOHC turbocharged inline-4 that cranks out a much more exciting 180-horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. That power is then routed through the aforementioned six-speed manual transmission, or there is an optional continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but really, why?

As with all Civics, power is then sent to only the front wheels. With only about 3,000 pounds to haul around, the Hatch feels quicker than it actually is. In manual mode, the Hatch runs from 0-60 mph in 7.3 respectable seconds, while the CVT driven car is a full half second behind. Also keeping with Civic pride, are the excellent fuel economy numbers — 31/39/35 city/highway/combined.

Inside, the Hatch feels sporty without the boy-racer motif of days gone by. A digital dashboard sits in front of the driver in excellent position, while a a honeycomb inlay adds a little flair. There are actual knobs for HVAC controls, which make driving and changing temperature a lot easier, and a large 9-inch touchscreen infotainment center sits high off the center dashboard. The screen seems like a bit of an afterthought from the design department, but perhaps we’re nitpicking. Tap into Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, set up your wireless charged phone and blast whatever you’d like through the generous 12-speaker Bose sound system, and you’ll likely forget about the touchscreen too.

Practicality also includes safety with the Hatch as well. The Honda Sensing safety group is alive and well, making sure you stay,… alive and well. Lane departure, lane keep assist, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, parking senses at both the front and rear as well as adaptive cruise control all play in harmony making sure you get to wherever you are going in one piece.

With a base price of just $23,915, and only a few thousand more for the turbo/manual setup, the 2022 Civic Hatchback is a wonderfully fun and efficient car that won’t break the bank. In fact, with all that money you saved by not buying a Tesla, maybe you can treat yourself to a new pair of Air Jordans after all.

2022 HONDA CIVIC HATCH

Related: Honda Civic Touring | Honda Civic Type-R