In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tests, the Civic earns some of the best ratings in its class, with 'good' ratings in every category and the agency's Top Safety Pick accolade for 2011. But in the federal government's thoroughly revised (and now more stringent) NCAP testing, the Civic Sedan earns only three stars overall, including a respectable four stars for frontal impact but a dismal two stars for side impact. That side impact rating is punctuated by a two-star showing in front-seat protection for an average-sized male test dummy, however with a smaller occupant, the Civic aced the fed's new side pole test, which simulates a side impact with a tree or pole. It's complicated, but it's also apparent that Honda needs to put some work into bolstering the Civic's protection.
Equipment-wise, most of the safety features are here, including front and side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, and active head restraints, though electronic stability control is still woefully missing from base models, while it's standard on most other small cars, including Honda's smaller, lower-priced Fit.
Also depending on the height of the driver, outward visibility can be an issue in the 2011 Honda Civic; the long, rather wide roof pillars can make parking and lane-changes a bit harder than in other small cars, and the front corners of the vehicle are hard to judge with the long dash and low, blunt nose.