I thought many (most?) model year changes had at least some minor updates? Although I know when I bought my 2012 Fit that the 2013 was out and I carefully checked to see what the difference was and in that case there really wasn't any except maybe an extra color option or something.
But what do you mean that they returned the volume knob mid-generation? Do some 2017 Civic Hatchbacks (other than the base model) have volume knobs if they are newer (past mid-2017)???
Yes, I test drove a Sport Hatch which has the base head unit with volume knobs...
And test drove one hatch with all the bells and whistles safety features, volume slider on the steering wheel, touchscreen etc. and had a volume knob as well.
I decided to lease the hatch... I'm betting in 3 years they'll offer both Honda Sense and Android Auto on the Sport, and I'll be a buyer.
But yes - they made changes to the 2017 already, and as mentioned it's "the" thing that required addressing.
If it weren't for that, believe me, I'd be saying "The automotive press is beating them up over this volume knob thing... I'd cross my fingers for the return of volume knobs for 2018" but they took that a step further and added them already to the 2017's.
I don't think there's any matters of complaint remaining, from that angle.
What may happen year-to-year is similar to my Optima that I just had... Kia poached Audi's lead designer and some engineers, and came out with a pretty sporty driving sedan - had that European feel to it. Unfortunately, this is America and they are selling to Americans, so in the three short years since I picked up that Optima, they've decided to soften the spring rates a bit, and loosen the car up, so it's more of a family sedan than a sport sedan now. That same thing could presumably happen with the Civic, but I personally wouldn't call that a good thing (as it is, the Civic is softer and rolls more than my far-heavier Optima did in hard cornering). Cross your fingers that's not something they'd change for 2018.
My money is that the 2017 will be exactly the same... but there are a few other oddities that raise eyebrows - note Honda wouldn't change these unless they believe they are costing money and not effectively pushing "upgraders" into higher models:
- The Sport doesn't include the remote start that's on almost every other Civic. It's feasible they deem it cheaper to just do it one way across all models.
- The Sport doesn't have Honda Sense available. It IS available with it in Canada (among other countries), so this wouldn't be difficult to offer in the states either.
Granted, it's the model I most deeply looked into, but it's the odd-bird in the lineup, so I'd expect changes there, if anywhere. Especially if Honda is (and they ARE) looking to this generation to restore their image as an engineering and performance brand, attracting enthusiastic customers like they used to. The Sport would seem to be a cornerstone model for that. The other models - it's really hard to find areas where you'd wish to improve them, for the target customer demographic they are aimed at.