While a number of driving enthusiasts and readers of buff-book monthly car magazines are decrying the latest 2012 Honda Civic as softer and more conservative, those aren’t at all bad things for families needing comfortable, safe transportation on a tight budget.
Those are among the reasons why we at FamilyCarGuide give the new Honda Civic an 8 out of 10. With reasonably comfortable, spacious seating and a relatively soft ride, along with good gas mileage and a relatively low price tag—plus IIHS Top Safety Pick status—the Civic manages to cover all the basics for busy moms, or small families.
The Civic has been officially redesigned for 2012, and while its sheetmetal has changed all around, you might not even know it. Overall size is about the same as before, while front-end styling is a little more chiseled in appearance and the tail has been given an entirely new, more conservative look. Inside, the look is also a little staid, with mostly pleasant textures and trims—if you can overlook the instrument panel’s hard plastic surfaces.
For 2012, the Civic comes in the same wide range of versions and powertrains as before: standard Coupe and Sedan models, a Civic Si Coupe, a Civic Hybrid sedan, an eco-minded Civic HF sedan, and a Civic Natural Gas sedan. For family duty, the Civic, Civic HF, or Civic Hybrid sedans make the most sense. Standard and HF models come with an strong and refined 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that works as well with the available five-speed automatic (mandatory on the HF) as it does with the five-speed stick. Our favorite of the lineup remains the Civic Hybrid, which for 2012 gets an improved mild-hybrid system and EPA ratings of 44 mpg city and highway.
Seats have been recontoured this year to help free up more space, and the Civic’s back seats are (mostly) adult-friendly. Rear seatbacks on all but the Civic Hybrid and Natural Gas fold forward to expand trunk space.
The Civic remains one of the most affordable compact sedans on the market, with a starting price of around $16k, but the base DX model has wind-up windows, no A/C, and no sound system. And you’d better not be too demanding about tech options; a Bluetooth hands-free interface and satellite radio are reserved for top-of-the-line EX and EX-L models with navigation.
For more, see the full review pages on the 2012 Honda Civic over at The Car Connection.