The Honda Civic and I are old friends. It's the car that my husband picked me up in for our first date, the car that took me to prom and the car that my husband drove both of our baby girls around in. As our family grew, we left the Civic behind, so I was thrilled to test the 2012 Civic sedan to see what's changed.
The redesigned 2012 Honda Civic isn't the flashiest compact car out there, but it's still a well-built workhorse with a new multifunction controller that works well.
The Civic has a legacy that its latest generation lives up to. With its 140-horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Civic was a quick little car that got me from point A to point B without problems. Merging onto the freeway was easy, but there was a bit of engine noise that got on my nerves.
The Civic is a fuel sipper, getting 39 mpg highway, and it has an Econ mode that adjusts the accelerator pedal response, air conditioning and other systems to maximize fuel economy.
The 2012 Civic sedan has a starting MSRP of $15,805; however, my test car, an EX-L trim level, cost $24,225.
Though it's been redesigned, the 2012 Civic sedan looks more generic than ever. Its puffed-up, rounded back end lost its sharp, angular looks.
A small miracle happened during the Civic test drive: For the first time, my 3-year-old opened her own car door and climbed in unassisted. I contribute this to the Civic's lightweight doors and low step-in height. They were a godsend when my arms were full of groceries.
Speaking of groceries, the trunk will fit plenty of them. The Civic's trunk can handle that trip to the warehouse store, too. My double jog-stroller also fit into the trunk with no problems at all. There was even room to spare. If you need some additional cargo space, the 60/40-split rear seats fold flat.
My test car had a 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. It uses regular gas and gets an EPA-estimated 28/39 mpg city/highway. With the five-speed manual transmission, the Civic gets 28/36 mpg. There's also a high-performance Civic Si with a 201-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder that uses premium gas and gets 22/31 mpg.
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times
At first, I was underwhelmed by the Civic's lackluster interior. While it was sleek and the controls were well-organized, there was nothing shiny or sparkly to catch my eye. I realize I risk sounding shallow, but the interior just didn't do it for me. However, after using the all-new i-MID multifunction controller, I was a changed woman.
The intelligent-Multi Information Display has a 5-inch color screen next to the speedometer, so the information you need is right at eye-level. The Civic's i-MID duplicates the navigation system's info. While it may seem redundant to have access to the same information on multiple screens, I found it helpful, especially when it displayed how many feet until the next turn. Too often in other cars I'm looking away from the road at the navigation screen, trying to figure out where I'm going next or if I missed a turn. I-MID is standard on all trim levels except the base DX. The system's screen can be accessed with the touch of a button on the steering wheel.
In the front row, the five-seat sedan has cupholders and a center console, but I most appreciated the small tray-like compartment that was perfect for holding my iPhone and any other knick-knacks that always find their way into the car.
In the second row, a fold-down armrest puts two cupholders within easy reach for kids in child-safety seats. My older daughter, who sits in a forward-facing convertible, and my husband who sat in front of her found the Civic lacking in legroom. They had to compromise about how far back he'd scoot the front passenger seat because she didn't have enough legroom in the second row. They found a workable seating position for the front passenger seat, but it was a tight squeeze for both of them.
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
The 2012 Civic sedan has been named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To earn this safety nod, a car must receive the top score of Good in front, side, rear and roof-strength crash tests and have an electronic stability system, which is standard on the 2012 Civic.
The 2012 Civic also has standard traction control and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows of seats. The EX, EX-L and Si trim levels have standard all-disc antilock brakes, but the lower trims and high-efficiency Civic has rear drum brakes.
There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Civic's outboard seats. I was able to fit two child-safety seats in the backseat. Unfortunately if one of those seats is rear-facing, the passenger sitting in front of it is going to have to scoot their seat up significantly. Older children in booster seats could struggle to buckle themselves because of the floppy seat belt buckles.
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Photo Courtesy of Ian Merritt, MotherProof.com
Photo Courtesy of Ian Merritt, MotherProof.com