Two models offering 40-plus mpg; easy and responsive handling; available high-performance Si coupe.
Cheap interior; lackluster exterior design; incremental power gains over predecessor.
Has it been almost 40 years? Hard to believe, but the 2012 Honda Civic marks the model's ninth generation of production in the United States. From the pint-size hatchback that first showed up amid a historic oil crisis to a lineup full of sedans, coupes and hybrids, the new Civic has always covered the bases: excellent fuel economy, alert handling and solid value.
The 2012 Civic remains one of the most agile compacts around, and the new version now also delivers 41 mpg in fuel-economy (HF) sedan form and 44 mpg as a hybrid. But with the onset of the Civic's middle age, an evolutionary malaise has set in, both inside and out. The hard, dull panels that cover the dash, consoles and doors are better suited to an outdoor adventure vehicle, not a passenger car for city streets or expressways. The 1.8-liter engine delivers 140 horsepower, no more than before. And its exterior skin, while not exactly a liability — after all, BMW 3 Series designs also evolve pretty subtly — distinguishes the Civic neither from its history nor its competition.
The 2012 Honda Civic carries over its powertrain and chassis from the last generation largely unchanged. The output of 140 hp and 128 pound-feet of torque from the 1.8-liter inline-4 engine remains the same, propelling the Civic to 60 mph from a standstill in an underwhelming 9.2 seconds during Edmunds performance testing.
Honda has found better fuel economy with science, including refined aerodynamics and less rolling resistance. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on lower model trims, and it's a slick, hassle-free gearbox to use. Enthusiastic drivers may find it a little too whispery light in its action, but rush-hour commuters will appreciate its light-effort clutch pedal and short, easy shift throws.
Quick electric-assist steering, a civilized degree of body rigidity and a shorter wheelbase make the coupe and sedan sharp handlers. A front strut and multilink rear suspension carry over with only minor enhancements. Drivers seeking maximum thrills will find them in the Civic Si, which uses a larger 2.4-liter engine and six-speed manual to deliver 201 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque — the latter a 22 percent increase. The additional thrust comes on lower in the power band and helps the Si leap out of a corner, yet still poised for the next one. The engine still exhibits its traditional high-revving character, though the broader spread of power improves drivability.
The 10.3-inch front disc brakes combine with 10.2-inch rear discs on the higher coupe and sedan trims, and they prove competent, though they deliver less stopping power than the competition (the lower DX and LX trim levels replace the rear discs with cheaper drum brakes). In Edmunds testing, a 2012 Honda Civic EX-L sedan stopped in 131 feet, a below-average result for this class.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Civic HF, a Honda designation for fuel-economy trim last seen in the U.S. two decades ago. Essentially an LX sedan with the five-speed automatic, the HF gets 41 highway mpg through aerodynamic improvements like a smooth underbody and streamlined wheels.
Hypermilers looking for comfier digs get nudged into the Civic Hybrid, which offers options like leather and navigation. New lithium-ion batteries trim about 20 pounds compared to the old chassis, and in tandem with a continuously variable transmission the Hybrid delivers 44 mpg. Though the suspension shows typical Honda reflexes, the hybrid's leisurely acceleration and grabby brakes don't inspire much driving fervor.
Front and rear passengers benefit from additional leg- and shoulder room in the 2012 Honda Civic. Taller drivers and front passengers will appreciate the 3 inches of additional shoulder room, a wider berth that gives arms and elbows a little more room to roam. Honda's familiar controls that fall easily to hand are unchanged. The Si in particular offers seats bolstered with stiff thigh and torso support.
But the 2012 Civic also carries over another common family trait: noise. Civics have never been particularly quiet, and the new model doesn't deviate from this pattern. Road noise is still accepted by buyers as the price of doing business in the compact market segment, but with competitive models now offering quieter passenger compartments — the Cruze comes to mind — the Civic stands out for its complacent acceptance of this flaw.
A steeply raked windshield creates a massive cowl atop the dashboard that's made of dull industrial-grade plastic and it also wraps around the door panels and flows down the center stack and console. Even the air vents are unusually large. It's a curious selection of interior materials that doesn't fit with the rest of the car's competency — especially in light of competitors offering faux-leather and soft-touch stuff as standard equipment.
Set deep in that asymmetrical cowl is a two-tier dash and driver interface, which now includes a 5-inch color display — intelligent Multi Information Display, or i-MID. This monitors audio, Bluetooth and vehicle information, all controlled through steering wheel buttons and keypads. Opt for a navigation system and you'll have four information zones competing for your attention: digital speedo and i-MID in the top tier and closer to the windshield, and tachometer and nav display below.
Skip the navigation and instead you get an awkward, oversize radio and button array. It's a busy presentation, and the two-tier configuration has never felt quite user-friendly since its introduction on the previous Civic model. The steering wheel keypads and menu buttons navigate through the i-MID, cruise control and hands-free phone functions, and it's easy enough to operate for anyone familiar with smartphone compass controls. But first you'll have to grapple with the 14 buttons and directional commands on the steering wheel alone.
Design/Fit and Finish
The 2012 Honda Civic plays its exterior design close to its predecessor. It's a little more windswept, with a steeper windshield angle, tighter taper to its roof line and pronounced character lines along its sides and flanks. The front fascia is tightened up a bit with a smaller grille and a slightly angrier kink in the headlights. Honda designers say principles of yoga inspired the form.
Who should consider this vehicle
The launch of a new Civic is always an important event. This car is still important to Honda, of course; it's the automaker's second-best-selling car. With an affordable full-featured hybrid (even offering leather upholstery) and a 40-plus mpg sedan, Honda offers two models for those who prioritize fuel efficiency. For those seeking full-tilt compact performance, the Si still squeals with the best.
But the 2012 Honda Civic seemingly has ceded leadership in its class to its rivals. Both the sedan and coupe are still fine cars and worthy selections, of course. Even so, not only has the competition caught up fast, but it is rewriting the class standards.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Is the 2012 Honda Civic a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2012 Honda Civic and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2012 Civic featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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How do people like the 2012 Honda Civic? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2012 Honda Civic and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2012 Civic 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2012 Civic.
Vehicle LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A)
Review First of all i am a car guy and a old school mechanic i worked on many cars the last 20 years.,since i was a teen in the 1990's i own my first car and worked on my 1966 volkwagan classic beetle and turn it into a super bug with a 1915cc 94mm pistons and double carb 45".had 150hp. And drove many cars and my project cars.anyways loved working on cars. classic old school Muscle cars ,from toyota,Honda,ford mustangs,vw, old and new chevy Camaro and other model types big list I was a craftsman, technician who uses tools to build or repair machinery i have many trades within. Some on specialize in the electrical aspects and specialize in the mechanical aspects. i done in the Past. I and my wife bought our Like new 2012 Honda civic Lx with 41K we need a gas saver car. i own many older Honds cars 89'civic hatchback and 88"Honds accord over 200 to 300 miles on them and still running and very reliabe cars.I read many blogs on the website on these models i seen them rated poor. i was shock this is not true. the Honda civic Lx 2012 is a beauty i can trust on reliability this is car everyone can trust . gas saver,39 to 41mpg.we took it on a road trip did a 157 mile drove on a flat highway 168 in California Los Banos we when up steep hills and had no problem on speed my wife was not pressing on the accelerator full she press on it and the rpm jumps on 4ooo it the pedal was not to the floor. we were going at 77 which its normal speed for a 1.8 ivtec engine with 140 hp and 128 lb.-ft. of torque .which will do on any other car with same hp power.ll depends age and engine, carburetor or fuel injection can give the power and transmission type, is highly debated question among car enthusiasts that drive with same hp and different car model.it can handel the hills and transmission shift smooth and the turns Stability control excellent Well-performed. and with the help of Traction control. This 2012 Honda civic Engine & Performance can Handel the highway and back roads very well! I love the 5 Star crash safety test. it has Front and rear head airbags and Dual front side-mounted airbags. its a A+ for our family.And the Interior Features and the Tachometer it was lite bright and easy to read i and my wife love the inside interior simple and easy to use. never had no Eleterical issues. it has everything you need It's no secret that Hondas are arguably the most reliable car. The Honda 2012 civic still perform very well? despite what other said on the website or blog .Honda Civic offers excellent fuel economy and is well-known for being a vehicle that you can trust on the road. all you do is take care of the updated the maintenance requirements it will take care of you. "in my opinion" when I encountered many cars in my past history working on many differnet style vehicles and upgrading them. Honda Civic reliability ratings results is a A+. only con on the 2012 civic is the front Suspension designed by the vehicle manufacturer, springs are and shocks are weak. on the road you can feel the almost every bumps on the road. easy fix replacing them. This Honda is worth it! test drive one you will see . like many people out there they are very picky!There is no such thing as the perfect car. No disrespect intended. But you know how it is. Your car is never quite perfect. Nothing mechanically wrong!Nothing you can ask the garage to fix!(update 11/10/2016) just an update 8 month owning our honda civic still running strong engine, outside body,inside interior no issue at all, Best Honda civic LX & very Reliable car.
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Is the 2012 Honda Civic safe? The 2012 Honda Civic earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 4.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2012 Honda Civic?
Available Honda Civic 2012 Submodel Types: Sedan, Coupe, Hatchback, Si, Hybrid, Si w/Navigation, Type R, Si w/Summer Tires, Natural Gas
Available Trims: LX, EX, EX-L, Si, EX-T, Touring, LX-P, Hybrid, Sport, EX-L w/Navigation, EX w/Honda Sensing, LX w/Honda Sensing, SE, LX-S, Sport Touring, EX-T w/Honda Sensing, Si w/Summer Tires, Value Package, DX-VP, Si w/Navigation, EX-L Navigation, DX, EX-L Navigation and Honda Sensing, EX-L w/Honda Sensing, HF, Hybrid w/Leather, Type R, EX Special Edition, GX, Hybrid w/Navigation, VP, VX, Base, Hybrid w/Leather and Navigation, LX Special Edition, Natural Gas
Exterior Colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, Taffeta White, Lunar Silver Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Cosmic Blue Metallic, White Orchid Pearl, Aegean Blue Metallic, Rallye Red, Dyno Blue Pearl, Burgundy Night Pearl, Crimson Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Urban Titanium Metallic, Kona Coffee Metallic, Royal Blue Pearl, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Atomic Blue Metallic, Galaxy Gray Metallic, Satin Silver Metallic, Tango Red Pearl, Eternal Blue Pearl, Magnesium Metallic, Energy Green Pearl, Sonic Gray Pearl, Satin Silver, Opal Silver Blue Metallic, Borrego Beige Metallic, Cool Mist Metallic, Fiji Blue Pearl, Orange Fire Pearl, Vogue Silver Metallic, Shoreline Mist Metallic, Sunburst Orange Pearl, Clover Green, Clover Green Pearl, Titanium Metallic, Flamenco Black Pearl, Granada Black Pearl Metallic, Green Opal Metallic, Cypress Green Pearl Metallic, Frost White, Galapagos Green, Magnetic Pearl, Radiant Ruby Pearl, Championship White, Dark Green Pearl Metallic, Flamenco Black Pearl Metallic, Grayish Blue Metallic, Milano Red, Red, Silver Stone Metallic, Sonoma Red Pearl, Spectrum White Pearl, Vivid Blue Pearl
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Gray cloth, Ivory cloth, Black leather, Beige cloth, Gray leather, Black/Gray cloth, Black/Red premium cloth, Black/Ivory cloth, Gray, Black premium cloth, Ivory leather, Black, Ivory, Beige leather, Black/Gray leather, Blue cloth, Beige, Black/Ivory leather, Stone cloth, Red/Black Suede-Effect Fabric suede/cloth, Stone leather
Popular Features: Rear Bench Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Alarm, Tire Pressure Warning, USB Inputs, Stability Control, Bluetooth, Back-up camera, Trip Computer, Auto Climate Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Aux Audio Inputs, Keyless Entry/Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Heated seats, Remote Start, Lane Departure Warning, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Leather Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Power Driver Seat, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Navigation, Upgraded Headlights, Post-collision safety system