2012 Honda Civic Expert Review

3.8 Overall Score
Performance 3.8 Comfort 3.9 Styling 3.2 Value 3.8

Editor's Overview

While not quite cutting-edge, the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic remains a smart choice for those in need of capable, competent transportation. Offered with a range of engines, including hybrid and natural gas options, along with sedan, coupe and sporty Si variants, there is a Civic to fit most tastes.

You'll Like The 2012 Honda Civic If...

If you appreciate mechanical refinement similar to what you might find in a commercial airliner, the 2012 Honda Civic is the clear choice in the category. And even if you don't easily discern such qualities, just-right steering and pedal feel are the kinds of qualities that quietly contribute to long-term driving satisfaction.

You May Not Like The 2012 Honda Civic If...

The 2012 Honda Civic is neither as sporty nor as stylish as the Mazda3 or Ford Focus, the interior design isn't as interesting as the Hyundai Elantra's, and it isn't the smoothest or quietest car in the class.

What's New

The all-new-for-2012 Honda Civic is instantly familiar inside and out, with key changes comprising increased fuel economy, more refined driving dynamics and enhanced infotainment abilities. The Civic hybrid is now more fuel efficient, the Civic Si is more powerful and there's the new mileage-maxing 2012 Civic HF that delivers 41 highway mpg.

Interior Features

If the 2012 Honda Civic has an Achilles' heel, it's the interior styling. Everything works wonderfully, but the design, textures and materials put its visual appeal in the bottom half of the segment, behind new and newly relevant nameplates like Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze.

Exterior Features

Just when observers thought Honda might unleash the most expressive Civic yet - as an answer to the bold new Hyundai Elantra attracting so much attention – the even-keeled automaker instead delivered the most evolutionary Civic redesign ever. It's hard to argue against sticking to a styling strategy that's helped keep the Civic at or near the top of the sales charts for many years running.

Driving Impressions

The 2012 Honda Civic is not the smoothest or quietest car in the category. Nor is it the most fun to drive. Curious, then, that we'd rate it tops in driving dynamics in our shootout of the four newest cars in the category. How does it do it? With the help of steering and pedal response that other automakers could only dream of delivering. It's easy to overlook excellence in these areas, but just as driving feel is a big part of the magic in a Porsche, the way the Civic gracefully listens and responds to a driver's input is a key reason we consider the 2012 Honda Civic the connoisseur's compact sedan.

Pricing Notes

For an adequately equipped 2012 Honda Civic you're looking at close to $20,000. You'll find similar pricing for many of its key competitors, so if $20,000 is more than you care to spend and/or you want more goodies for your money, you might consider stepping down a segment into Honda Fit territory. Even though the 2012 Honda Fit isn't the least expensive car in the category, we deemed it the best value in our recent four-car comparison test thanks in large part to its legendarily strong resale value.

Notable Equipment

The 2012 Honda Civic starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $16,555 (including destination) for a Civic DX, but that's with no radio, no air conditioning and no power mirrors or door locks. Stepping up to the Civic LX remedies those shortcomings and nets a few other goodies for an extra $2,000, but an automatic transmission will set you back another $800. The Honda Civic's myriad active and passive safety technologies are included as standard equipment across the line. The EX and EX-L models sit at the top of the 2012 Civic's non-hybrid, non-natural-gas pyramid, with the Si coupe and sedan covering performance side of the street.

Notable Options

A 2012 Honda Civic EX-L with Navigation has an MSRP at $24,225 and includes leather seats (heated front), a moonroof, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, a full-function i-MID display and a six-speaker AM/FM/SAT/MP3/ Bluetooth audio system with USB and auxiliary ports (which offers plenty of functionality but just-okay sound).

Favorite Features

Bluetooth Audio

We like being able to listen to the music on our iPhone without having to plug it in, and the Civic's Bluetooth Audio system is notable for how quickly it connects and begins playing.

i-MID Display

Standard in all but the base Civic DX trim is a new five-inch LCD monitor that provides music and mileage info, plus Bluetooth and navigation info when equipped.

Under the Hood

With no direct injection or turbocharging, 140 horsepower, and five speeds not six in the manual and automatic transmissions, the 2012 Honda Civic has the simplest powertrain of the newest compact sedans. Nevertheless, it delivers exceptional fuel economy and plenty of power. The mileage-maxing HF trim features the same powertrain, but adds two highway miles per gallon with a lower ride height, aerodynamic adds and tires with lower rolling resistance. The Civic Si, in sedan and coupe form, comes with 201 horsepower and a six-speed manual transmission.

Civic DX, LX, EX, EX-L and HF

1.8-liter in-line four cylinder

140 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm

128 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,300 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/36 (manual), 28/39 (automatic), 29/41 (Civic HF automatic)

Civic Si

2.4-liter in-line four cylinder

201 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm

170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 (manual)

Civic Hybrid

1.5-liter in-line four cylinder + electric motor

110 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm

127 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1,000-3,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 44/44 (Continuously Variable Transmission)

Civic Natural Gas

1.8-liter in-line four cylinder

110 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm

106 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,200 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: N/A

Editors' Notes

The 2012 Honda Civic is the all-new, ninth-generation version of the country's best-selling compact car and third-best-selling car overall. Offering a unique combination of affordability, reliability and refinement, the Honda Civic has long been a gold standard not just for the category, but for personal transportation in general. Its dominance is in decline, though, as evidenced by our most recent compact sedan comparison test in which the 2012 Honda Civic tied for first place with the ultra-stylish new Hyundai Elantra. The Honda Civic does remain the clear leader in variety, with a wide-ranging lineup that includes sedan and coupe body styles, a 201-horsepower sporty Civic Si version, a 45-mpg Civic hybrid variant, and a limited-availability natural-gas-powered version.

Road Test Video Reviews

2012 Honda Civic Owner Reviews

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2012 Honda Civic EX Coupe - Same Honda Quality with a Sports Car Feel

2012 Honda Civic EX Coupe

This vehicle has the great Honda quality with the sporty and sleek look. It has driven over 1,000 miles at a time, and it did all of that on a little over 4 tanks of gas which can hold around 11 gallons at a time. The Honda Civic EX Coupe has a sunroof, easy displayed speedometer, and a spacious trunk. It also has a radio with a CD player as well as a place for an auxiliary cord and a car charger to plug in. The car is easy to drive, however it sits very low to the ground so the ride is not as smooth as other higher sedans or Honda Civics. Also, the backseat is very small, so unless the driver and passenger are shorter and can sit further towards the front, there is not much leg room in the back for an adult passenger to sit comfortably. It can fit up to 4 adults, but it will not be very spacious. The media display area makes it easy to check the oil level, which is helpful for deciding when to take the car in for an oil change, and it also makes changing the clock and adjusting the audio levels easier and more accessible. Some parts of the media display level can also be adjusted from buttons on the steering wheel, which makes the driver able to change settings without taking their eyes off the road. Even after 100,000 miles, this car has not had any major problems, and the parts have been pretty easy to acquire from vendors or from Honda themselves. This car is trustworthy and comfortable for short commutes or long distances, which makes it the perfect car for someone who is single or does not have kids. I would definitely purchase this vehicle again.

- Meredith C

Great first car with very little complaints.

2012 Honda Civic

The 2012 Honda Civic has a number of wonderful features. I do not have very many complaints. This car gets great gas mileage, especially on long road trips. Sometimes I have reached 50mph on long road trips. Driving in the city I get probably 25 mph on average but I live in a place with a lot of mountains. The seats could be more comfortable but it is not a deal-breaker for me. I enjoy the digital speedometer to really keep me from speeding. The display is easy to navigate and read. There is a neat option to put a photo of your choosing, whether it be a photo of your family, your pet, landscape, etc. The trunk has way more space than I would have anticipated for this size of a car. I never have a problem with storage. This car is so easy to handle and drive, I believe anyone could drive a Honda Civic with ease. This was my very first I had ever owned and I believe it is a great car for a beginner driver. The price also is pretty good- I believe I paid just under $20, 000. I have the lx model, so nothing too fancy but it gets me around just fine. One complaint I have is I think the tire pressure monitoring system sensor is sensitive because mine seems to break often. Luckily, it is not a crucial part of the car, I just make sure to check my tire pressure often. Some states do require the sensor to be working in proper condition in order to pass an inspection.

- Nicole D

Best description of my car. My car is a very reliable, easy to maintain car.

2012 Honda Civic DX Coupe

The problems I have had with my car is the air conditioner going out it seems like every summer, keeping the tires aligned. The performance of my car is awesome I get 433 miles on a full 12 gallon tank. My car runs and rides very smoothly. It is very reliable the only time it has not run is when I completely ran out of gas. I have never been stuck on the side of the road needing a tow. The only time I have ever been stuck on the side of the road to change a tire. It is very comfortable with lots of legroom for both front and back seat riders. The seats are very comfy. All features are electric except the door locks, has a CD player, a gage for the motor rpms even though it is an automatic transmission, running lights that come on as soon as you start the car that is very interesting to me because this is the first car I have ever had that had that feature. The speedometer is digital which I really like because I do not have to guess at the speed I am going. The middle console is also a storage place. It came with easy to wash removable floor mats. It has power windows. The gas tank locks with any easy push button release. It is grey with a grey interior. The seats recline so you can sleep comfortably and can access the trunk through the backseat.

- Sue Ann R

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