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2012 Honda Civic

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2012 Honda Civic Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

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.

You'll Like This Car 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 This Car 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 Significant About This Car?

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.

Driving the Civic

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.
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.

2012 Honda Civic Details
2012 Honda Civic photo Interior

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
2012 Honda Civic photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard 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.

Optional Equipment

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).

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

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2012 Honda Civic Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.1
Out of 10

Based on 154 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Driver's seat extremely uncomfortable

By on Sunday, April 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "very attractive design; handles well"

Cons: "Extremely uncomfortable seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I just bought this car and after driving about 10 - 15 miles, I developed pain in my tailbone. The pain remains for at least two hours after I get out of the car. The seat is as hard as a rock, narrow, and short. I have tried putting cushions in and this just transferred the pain to my legs and upper back. I have never experienced any sort of pain while driving or riding in any other car, including many small sub-compact or compact size rental cars as well as older Honda's. This has been a very bad experience."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

I love this car

By on Saturday, April 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,400

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"It took a couple of days to get use to the position of the head rest but now I have my seat just right and the car is comfortable. This car get great gas mileage and the ride is very smooth. The inside of the car definitely not boring and easy access to everything is on the steering wheel."

16 years as the best selling car in Canada

By on Friday, April 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "An exceptional car."

Cons: "No cons whatsoever"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"With absolutely no doubt this is the best selling car in its class and this is a full class to compete with. The Japanese automakers have been working overtime to perfect every detail in this unit. For the price, the added features and the flawless aerodynamics I give this car a rating of A+++. In other words two thumbs up!!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Excruciatingly uncomfortable

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "good mileage and horsepower"

Cons: "Excruciatingly uncomfortable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"My 2014 Civic EX-L is so uncomfortable that in less than two months of driving it I have developed neck and low back pain. Despite all the power adjustments, it is impossible to find a comfortable position. The headrests are so far forward they push my head forward and down while forcing me to round my back. The steering wheel is too far away even with maximum telescoping, so I have to drive with my legs cramped up and my arms outstretched. The seat is too narrow and short and has no support. The leather is hard as a rock. Honda has loaded this car up with bling while making a mockery of comfort. It does get great mileage and has a lot of power, but so what if it is basically undriveable. I bought this car for long business trips, but now I dread getting in it even for an errand. If you have horrible posture and your head juts forward, this car might work for you, but I am a 5'6" woman with good posture. I have owned Civics for 20 years but this one is getting traded in at a big loss. I hope this review saves someone from making the mistake I made in assuming you can't go wrong with a Honda Civic."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Excruciatingly uncomfortable

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "good mileage and horsepower"

Cons: "Excruciatingly uncomfortable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"My 2014 Civic EX-L is so uncomfortable that in less than two months of driving it I have developed neck and low back pain. Despite all the power adjustments, it is impossible to find a comfortable position. The headrests are so far forward they push my head forward and down while forcing me to round my back. The steering wheel is too far away even with maximum telescoping, so I have to drive with my legs cramped up and my arms outstretched. The seat is too narrow and short and has no support. The leather is hard as a rock. Honda has loaded this car up with bling while making a mockery of comfort. It does get great mileage and has a lot of power, but so what if it is basically undriveable. I bought this car for long business trips, but now I dread getting in it even for an errand. If you have horrible posture and your head juts forward, this car might work for you, but I am a 5'6" woman with good posture. I have owned Civics for 20 years but this one is getting traded in at a big loss. I hope this review saves someone from making the mistake I made in assuming you can't go wrong with a Honda Civic."

Excruciatingly uncomfortable

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "good mileage and horsepower"

Cons: "Excruciatingly uncomfortable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"My 2014 Civic EX-L is so uncomfortable that in less than two months of driving it I have developed neck and low back pain. Despite all the power adjustments, it is impossible to find a comfortable position. The headrests are so far forward they push my head forward and down while forcing me to round my back. The steering wheel is too far away even with maximum telescoping, so I have to drive with my legs cramped up and my arms outstretched. The seat is too narrow and short and has no support. The leather is hard as a rock. Honda has loaded this car up with bling while making a mockery of comfort. It does get great mileage and has a lot of power, but so what if it is basically undriveable. I bought this car for long business trips, but now I dread getting in it even for an errand. If you have horrible posture and your head juts forward, this car might work for you, but I am a 5'6" woman with good posture. I have owned Civics for 20 years but this one is getting traded in at a big loss. I hope this review saves someone from making the mistake I made in assuming you can't go wrong with a Honda Civic."

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?