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.