For years the Honda Civic was the class of the economy compacts, earning loyal fans. Will consumers be willing to pay its higher price over improved offerings from Ford and Chevy?
American Honda Motor Company
For years the Honda Civic was the class of the economy compacts, earning loyal fans. Will consumers be willing to pay its higher price over improved offerings from Ford and Chevy?
American Honda Motor Company

The 2012 Honda Civic

Still in the Game
Still in the Game
For years the Honda Civic was the class of the economy compacts, earning loyal fans. Will consumers be willing to pay its higher price over improved offerings from Ford and Chevy?
American Honda Motor Company
Overview
Overview
The newly redesigned Honda Civic (HMC) hit the market on Apr. 20. Our judgment is that it's good, but not good enough to pull ahead of such significant new rivals as the Hyundai Elantra (005380:KS), the redesigned Ford Focus (F), and the all-new Chevy Cruze (GM). The 2012 Civic handles better than the outgoing model, is expected to have top safety ratings, and goes further on a gallon of gas. It looks sleeker and more modern, both inside and out. But its fuel economy barely matches those of the Focus and Elantra and its engine lacks the power of the Focus's engine. If you're shopping for a compact economy car, the Civic remains an excellent choice. But comparison-shop and do some test-driving before signing on the dotted line.
American Honda Motor Company
Interior
Interior
Interior styling hasn't changed dramatically: The distinctive, two-tier instrument panel remains, but center stack displays have been modernized with a new, five-inch color display. There's 2.9 inches of additional shoulder space up front and 1.6 inches of further leg space in the back seat.
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Engine/Transmission
Engine/Transmission
A 1.8-liter, 140-horsepower, four-cylinder engine is standard. It's paired with a five-speed automatic transmission; a five-speed stick shift is available on some models. Engine size rises to 2.4 liters and 201 horsepower in the sporty Civic Si.
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Fuel Economy
Fuel Economy
With an automatic transmission, the Civic sedan and coupe are each rated to get 28 miles per gallon in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, for an average of 32 (up from 29 in the previous model). A new, high-mileage Civic HF is rated at 29/41/33.
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Hybrid and Natural Gas Power
Hybrid and Natural Gas Power
The new Civic hybrid uses denser lithium-ion batteries, which helps raises mileage by three miles per gallon, to 44. The natural-gas-powered Civic will now be sold nationwide, rather than in mere a handful of states.
American Honda Motor Company
Safety
Safety
Honda projects that the new Civic will earn a five-star government crash-test rating, as well as be an insurance industry "top safety pick." The car comes standard with front, front-side, and cabin-length head-protecting air bags.
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Performance
Performance
Acceleration will probably be similar to that of the previous Civic, which takes about 9.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60. The sporty Civic Si does 0 to 60 in around 6.7 seconds. The Civic's frame is 10 percent more rigid than before, improving handling.
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Price
Price
Starting prices are about the same as for the 2011 Civic. The DX sedan starts at $17,355 for an automatic, rising to $22,705 for the EX-L. The Si Coupe still starts out at $22,955 and the Hybrid begins at $24,800—up a mere $100.
American Honda Motor Company