Bottom line: There’s more than one way to rest on your laurels in the automobile business. One of them is ignoring the importance of your design studios. Heed the warning, Honda.
Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets excellent marks in all three, especially in city traffic.
Head-turning quotient: Exterior styling is okay. Interior styling is certified boring.
Body style/layout: The 2012 Honda Civic is a compact, front-engine, front-wheel-drive economy car. It is available as a sedan or a coupe. There are seven trim levels — DX, LX, HF, EX, EX-L, Si and Civic Hybrid.
Engine/transmission (Civic HF): Standard equipment includes a 1.8-liter, 16-valve in-line four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing (140 horsepower, 128 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission.
Capacities: There are seats for five people. Cargo capacity is 12.5 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 13.2 gallons of gasoline. Regular grade is recommended.
Mileage: I averaged 40 miles per gallon in highway driving and 27 in the city.
Safety: Standard equipment includes ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, emergency braking assistance, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags.
Price: The 2012 Honda Civic HF has a base price of $19,455. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $17,919. Price as tested is $20,225, including a $770 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $18,689. Compare with Chevrolet Cruze, Chrysler 200, Fiat 500, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte and Volkswagen Jetta.