The redesigned-for-2012 Honda Civic LX scored too low in Consumer Reports testing to be recommended. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s quite a fall.
The Civic has long ranked among CR’s top small sedans, having been a Top Pick as late as 2007. It’s also long been reliable, and we don’t expect that to change in the not-extensively-redesigned 2012 model.
So what happened? The new Civic feels insubstantial with a cheap interior. You don’t get much feature content for the $19,405 that our Civic LX automatic costs, either. That’s a problem given the high bar set in this class by the new-to-market Chevrolet Cruze, the redesigned-for-2012 Ford Focus, and the redesigned-for-2011 Hyundai Elantra.
But a savvy buyer could sit in a showroom and realize those Civic shortcomings. The problems that really hurt the Civic’s score run deeper and they showed up at our test track. Stopping distances are long. The steering is lightly weighted and comes up short on feedback. Body lean appears early in the corners. The ride is marred by frequent short pitches. And road noise still remains an annoying companion.
Not all of the news is bad. Fuel economy is very impressive, despite the Civic’s seemingly low-tech powertrain. There’s decent rear seat room, too.
But that’s just not enough. With all of the recent small sedan competition and a redesign that dropped the ball, now there are a lot better choices than a 2012 Civic.