2012 Honda Civic: First Drive Impressions Page 2

April 20, 2011
2012 Honda Civic launch, New York Auto Show, April 2011

2012 Honda Civic launch, New York Auto Show, April 2011

Enlarge Photo

Accommodation is adequate in the four-door, but definitely tight in the 2012 Civic Si coupe. With a more steeply angled windshield, the dash extends considerably into the cabin, and there's simply not enough legroom for anyone over 6 feet. Our 6'5" codriver found his head actually touching the headliner.

Civic buyers by now will be used to the two-level dashboard design, into which Honda has integrated vastly improved infotainment displays. A multi-directional button on the steering wheel, similar to the "Touch Tracer" controls on the Toyota Prius, lets the Civic driver navigate through a logical sequence of menus while keeping hands firmly on the wheel.

The downside of the 2012 Civic, however, is the rest of the dashboard. At a media preview, virtually every reviewer commented on the hard plastic surfaces on the top of the dash.

2012 Honda Civic launch, New York Auto Show, April 2011

2012 Honda Civic launch, New York Auto Show, April 2011

Enlarge Photo

A visible join line between the two large moldings that make up the dash top is the kind of cost-cutting you almost never see in new cars these days. And the central area of the dash on 2012 Civics without navigation fitted is a large swatch of flat gray plastic, with no texture or accent lines.

Everything in the 2012 Civic works fine, and it remains a joy to drive, but compared to the two-tone coloring and highly designed dash designs of cars like the 2011 Elantra and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, the new Civic comes off second-best.

All models of the 2012 Honda Civic except the Natural Gas version are available in Honda dealers starting today. The lowest-priced model, the Civic DX, starts at $15,605.

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