Long known for building some of the most fuel-efficient cars on the market, Honda has followed the latest small-car trend in offering a special fuel-efficient version of its popular Civic sedan. Resurrecting a designation from its past, HF, Honda a claims the car gets 1 more mpg overall and 2 more mpg on the highway than the standard Civic LX, thanks to aerodynamic improvements such as a trunk spoiler, more-aerodynamic wheels, and lower-rolling resistance tires. There is only one way to find out: buy one and test it.
The Civic HF was a pretty easy car to buy. No options are available. It comes in gray or white. We chose a white one. (Honda must think that fuel economy is serious business that precludes lively paint colors.)
With little variation on the $20,225 sticker price, negotiation was a simple matter of finding out which dealers had white HFs and getting competitive bids. In the end, we found one close by at a dealer we haven’t bought from in recent memory, and they were willing to sell at $17,993. That’s $896 under dealer invoice, according to Consumer Reports’ Cars Best Deals Plus information online.
We haven’t been impressed with the four other 2012 Civics we’ve tested thus far. In fact, the Civic EX suffered the highest drop in our ratings (16 points) of any redesign we’ve recently tested. The sporty Si is the only version that scored high enough for us to recommend.
In the end, the Civic HF is similar to the more popular Civic models, so we don’t expect it to perform much differently. But we look forward to running it through our complete gamut of tests to see whether Honda’s claimed fuel economy improvement holds up, and whether any efficiency benefits come with compromises, such as in handling or braking from the low-rolling resistance tires.
We’ll have answers to those questions and more after we finish testing it here at our Auto Test Center. Stay tuned.