With the Civic's redesign for 2012, Honda has freed up a little more space, especially inside the Civic sedans, without making these vehicles any larger on the outside. Overall, accommodations are adequate in the four-door, but definitely tight in the coupes. The seats in the 2012 Civic have been redesigned, and while better, they're still flat and too short for taller drivers to be comfortable over long distances. In either model, with the Civic's steeply angled windshield, there's a sense that the dash extends considerably into the cabin, and even in front the Civic can feel a little tight for headroom and legroom compared to other vehicles in this class.
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 lets the Civic driver navigate through a menus while keeping hands firmly on the wheel, while there's a smaller screen more directly in front of the driver, for trip computer and audio functions.
The downside of the 2012 Civic, however, is the rest of the dashboard. While the curvature of the dash is more an issue of personal taste, many more will find issue with the hard, thin-feeling plastic surfaces that top the dash. 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—and you tend to notice it as it's low and under such a long windshield.
In either Coupe or Sedan models, trunk space is more than adequate, with a level, surprisingly wide floor and a relatively easy liftover height. And trunk space in the 2012 Civic Hybrid is no longer significantly compromised. It's the first Honda hybrid fitted with a more compact lithium-ion battery pack, which takes only about 6 or 8 inches out of the trunk depth. Although Hybrid and Natural Gas models do still forgo the folding rear seatbacks.
Less pleasant on the road is the relatively high level of wind noise we've noted in several new Civic models. This is an area where compact cars have made great strides lately, none more so than the remarkably hushed Chevy Cruze, which may be best-in-class for interior quiet. The Civic Hybrid may be a step worse in this are because of its low-rolling-resistance tires.
Audio and climate-control settings feel remarkably straightforward, bordering on drab. And the entire climate-control setup looked a bit like part of an older audio-system faceplate.
But the interior was missing some of the amenities found in other compacts: bottle-holders in front and rear door pockets, a rubber mat to prevent mobile phones from sliding on the flat tray ahead of the shift lever, and a rear-seat power outlet. Also puzzling, from a design/convenience standpoint, is why the aux-in port is just in front of the tray ahead of the shift knob, yet the USB input is inside the center console.