The Honda Civic has been a favorite of critics and consumers alike since it was redesigned in 2006. Back then it boasted cutting-edge safety features as standard equipment, including side curtain airbags and active front seat head restraints. It also offered one of the highest gas mileage ratings in its class, and was fun to drive. It was even named Motor Trend’s 2006 Car of the Year.
Unfortunately, the Civic’s sparkling image and now-aging design have begun to tarnish.
The latest example of its declining status is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHSTA) recent test of the 2011 Honda Civic using its new and more stringent ratings system. The Civic achieved excellent test results under the old rating system, but so did most other models. The new system is proving more difficult for this perennial favorite in the small car category.
Civic gets two stars
The Civic’s front-impact and rollover ratings were judged four out of a possible five stars. However, the side-impact crash rating dipped to a dismal two stars. As a result, the Civic’s overall rating is a disappointing three stars.
This puts the Civic behind most competitors that have been tested under the new system. For example, the 2011 Nissan Sentra earns four stars, as does the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta. The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is proving to be a winner in this category with an impressive five out of five stars.
The good news for the Honda Civic--and its many fans here in the U.S.--is that it is in the process of being completely redesigned again. The new look, along with new features—and standard electronic stability control—is expected to hit dealer showrooms later this year.