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2012 Honda Civic: First Drive Impressions Page 2

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

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

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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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Comments (14)
  1. The new Civic's dashboard is blocky, bargain-esque, & asymmetrical - all too reminiscent of a 1985 Nissan Stanza's.
    Also, the new Civic is still too low to provide easy ingress\egress for those who are not vertically-challenged. Honda missed the opportunity to add a few inches of roof height to accommodate grown adults seeking an economical sedan.
    Regardless, enough shoppers will be pleased with the fuel-economy improvements and Honda's longstanding bullet-proof reliability.
     
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  2. I loved my Honda Civic (1986). It was stylish, affordable, reliable, fuel efficient — just like now! Thanks for the update, John!
     
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  3. Cheap, basic and dull looking. I've always liked Civics but not this one. SNORE. Those taillights are straight off of the Camry from 2 generations ago!
     
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  4. I actually thought the rear end looked a bit like an old Mitsu. Mirage... :(
     
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  5. I just checked Honda's website, to see which Civic models will have a manual transmission. You can no longer get an EX with a 5-speed manual. That means Honda thinks that just because you want to shift your own gears, you don't want a sunroof, alloy wheels, upgraded audio, or navigation. What a shame.
     
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  6. A cheap Japanese car as an American institution - no wonder the country's in such a hell of a mess!
     
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  7. In just one year, Honda and Hyundai have switched places? Honda the cheaper, more laughable. Hyundai, the leader? Am I mistaken?
     
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  8. Does it have an option to get it without out all these spiders that have been plaguing these cars :-)
     
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  9. I have to agree. The Koreans have taken the design high ground while Honda has taken a turn to blandsville.
     
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  10. It may not look thrilling to you gentleman but it just simply drives so much better than the competition with an agility and fluidity they lack. The Elantra has a great interior, interesting style but drive them back to back and you will notice a difference. One that could get really, really old after a few years.
     
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  11. it looks OK, ive owned two accords and one civic all great vehicles. However, the tail lights look like the ones on my old 95 accord, like they had a bunch left over and decided to use them on the new civic, lol
     
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  12. Honda making ugly cars these days... I've ALWAYS been a Honda fan, but someone needs to smack the engineers up side the head
     
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  13. I have driven the new Elantra and the Civic and really there is not that much difference in the way both cars drive (I suspect the Civic will handle a tad better if driven hard). For your average consumer, I doubt if they would notice any signifigant difference in the way these two cars drive. The Elantra looks much better than the Civic sedan, gets 40 mpg (vs. 39 for theCivic). Has a back up camera option and a six speed auto (all of which is not available on the Civic). And contrary to the uninformed, Honda's are not as reliable as before (for example, I have replaced the transmission 2x already on my 2001 Odyssey and my Accord has experience pre mature brake wear (Honda's have always had poor performaing brakes in general).
     
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  14. Upon hearing that the new Civic Si offered a 2.4L, 170 lb-ft engine (rather than last year's 2.0L, 139 lb-ft engine) my first reaction was that the new Si would be a real screamer compared to the outgoing model!
    But then I compared the hp/torque curves of the two engines: From idle to 6000 rpm, the 2.4L is clearly the winner with gobs more torque and hp. But from 6000 to 7000 rpm, the 2.4L's torque & hp drop so sharply that the performance of both engines looks almost identical. Then from 7000 to 8000 rpm, the old 2.0L's hp continues to peak while the 2.4L is already in the next gear. ...Now I'm not so sure which will be the faster car!
     
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