Get more: 2012 Honda Civic Review at AutoGuide.comThe evolution of a great thing
It doesn’t wow you with a bold new design, or with best-in-class mpg claims. And that’s disappointing at first. But the new 2012 Honda Civic is, in every way, an improvement over its predecessor – arguably the best buy in the compact car segment for several decades running.
FROM ITS NAME TO ITS DESIGN, ‘CIVIC’ IS A BRAND
From a design perspective, it’s about trend-setting as a suburban town house, simply evolving into a mildly different shape. It is, however, unmistakably a Civic and that’s part of the reason why we aren’t seeing any bold new design direction from Honda. Like how there is brand recognition to the name, there’s also branding relating to what a Civic looks like and while it might not be terribly exciting, the 2012 model is easily recognizable as the latest in a long line of solid Civic products. And in case you’re wondering just how important a brand that is; Honda sells more Civics each year in the U.S. than Volkswagen, Chrysler or Mazda sell cars. Put bluntly, as a segment leader, Honda has more to loose through a dramatic design change than it does to win.
Don’t be fooled either; automakers aren’t just building attractive compacts because they want to, but because they have to, in an attempt to get customers to leave segment staples like the Civic and try something new. With less-than inspired designs like this, they may be on to something. Then again, Hondas have a tendency of aging well.
The Coupe model benefits from the restyle more significantly with a longer and sleeker profile, giving the car a more premium look. When it comes to the Si Coupe, however, it’s far too timid, especially considering the young male target audience.
Driving feel is another evolutionary trait of the Civic. It’s certainly no leap forward, but rather a gradual improvement. A new electric power steering system is spot-on as we’d expect from Honda, without any of the on-center numbness many of the competitors suffer from.