2012 Honda Civic Review

Pros & Cons

  • Wide variety of powertrains
  • comfortable and composed ride
  • good fuel economy
  • spacious interior
  • available coupe body style.
  • Excessive wind noise
  • cheap interior plastics
  • busy-looking dash with navigation
  • small trunks in Hybrid and Natural Gas models.
List Price Range
$7,495 - $12,786

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic remains a strong contender in the compact car category, but other new models now effectively match the Civic and threaten its traditional dominance in the marketplace.

Vehicle overview

For a new compact car to stand out in an increasingly competitive category, you'd think it should offer more than just a few subtle improvements. So we find ourselves in a rather unfamiliar position with the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic.

For years, the lineup of Civic models has been so much better than the competition that it has been a no-brainer to recommend one of these cars. But in the last few years, competing automakers have introduced some very impressive small cars. So while the ninth-generation Honda Civic is a very good and likable automobile, we have to wonder if the subtle changes to its design and engineering features will be enough to sustain its class supremacy. These days, even the least expensive models from competitive brands offer reliable powertrains, advanced safety features, top-quality interior materials and high-tech options.

To Honda's credit, the changes to the new Civic are welcome, even if they don't exactly leap out at you. Fuel economy remains pretty much the same as before for most Civic models, but there's a new Civic HF variant that's rated for 41 mpg highway. Fuel efficiency and power are improved for the Civic hybrid model as well, while the Civic Natural Gas remains the only factory-made car to be so fueled. As for the sporty Civic Si, it gets a new 2.4-liter engine that produces a welcome boost in torque compared to last year's 2.0-liter.

In terms of features, stability control is now standard throughout the model lineup. Other upgrades for 2012 include more interior room (3 inches of additional shoulder room up front and another 1.6 inches of rear legroom), and a few new technology features such as a 5-inch information display, the increased availability of iPod connectivity and an economy mode designed to help deliver maximum mpg.

Considering these improvements, the 2012 Honda Civic is still a solid pick with which buyers of compact cars will be pleased. But it's no longer the only game in town. We'd recommend test-driving this new Civic back to back with new competing models like the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, 2012 Ford Focus and 2012 Hyundai Elantra. All three provide excellent fuel economy, and each holds selective advantages over the Civic in terms of interior design, feature content and value. The Civic Hybrid is pretty much in a class by itself, though you could also consider the equally frugal 2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI. Meanwhile, gearheads lusting for some sport should also test the 2012 Mazdaspeed 3, 2012 Mini Cooper S and 2012 Volkswagen GTI.

2012 Honda Civic models

The 2012 Honda Civic is a compact car offered in both coupe and sedan body styles. Mainstream models are offered in four trim levels, ranging from the base DX, to the midrange LX and EX and the top-of-the-line EX-L.

Entry-level DX models come equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, auto-off headlights, intermittent windshield wipers, a rear window defroster, power windows, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a one-piece fold-down rear seatback. Stepping up to the LX model gets you more features that buyers expect, including body-color door handles, power mirrors and door locks, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, floor mats, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary/USB audio inputs.

A new fuel-efficient HF sedan starts out with standard features similar to those of the LX sedan, then adds a few upgrades designed to deliver maximum mpg. These include low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic cast-aluminum wheels, wind-cheating underbody panels and a rear spoiler.

Besides its different fuel, the Civic Natural Gas adds to the LX equipment 15-inch alloy wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers and Bluetooth. The EX model adds or supplants those extras with 16-inch alloy wheels, rear disc brakes, auto-on/off headlights, a sunroof, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, an outside temperature display and a premium seven-speaker sound system. The EX-L model adds leather upholstery, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The Civic Hybrid sedan is available in two trim levels. The base model's list of standard features is similar to the mainstream EX sedan, with the addition of 15-inch alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires, outside mirrors with built-in turn signals, LED taillights, a rear spoiler and a 160-watt, six-speaker stereo. The top-of-the-line "Leather" trim level adds extras found on the regular EX-L including heated mirrors, leather upholstery and heated front seats.

The sporty Si coupe and sedan come in a single trim level that includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a bigger engine, a limited-slip front differential, a sport-tuned suspension, foglights, front and rear spoilers and a chrome exhaust tip. Inside upgrades include most of the items from the EX model's standard features list plus front sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an aluminum shift knob, red backlit gauges, a special Power Monitor display.

A navigation system with voice controls, satellite radio and real-time traffic updates is optional on all but the DX and LX.

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2012 Highlights

The 2012 Honda Civic has been fully redesigned. Highlights include mild styling updates, improved fuel economy and more power for the Si model.

Performance & mpg

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Honda Civic is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a five-speed manual and an available five-speed automatic (HF and EX models get the automatic as standard equipment). This combination returns EPA fuel economy estimates ranging from a low of 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 31 mpg combined in mainstream versions equipped with a manual transmission to a high of 29/41/33 in the HF model. In Edmunds performance testing, a Civic EX-L went from zero to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds -- an average time for this segment.

The Civic Natural Gas features a version of the same 1.8-liter engine powered by, as its name suggests, natural gas. It produces only 110 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque, however. A five-speed automatic is standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is the gasoline equivalent of 27/38/31 mpg.

The Civic Hybrid gets a larger 1.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and a more powerful electric motor for 2012, a combination that's good for 110 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. In Edmunds testing, it hit 60 mph in 10.1 seconds -- on par with most economy hybrids. Not surprisingly, this powertrain is the most fuel-efficient of the bunch, with EPA numbers of 44/44/44, an increase of 3 mpg over the outgoing model.

The Civic Si's engine also grows in displacement to 2.4 liters, which bumps output to 201 hp and 170 lb-ft. A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered. Despite this increased punch, EPA fuel economy estimates are still quite decent at 22/31/25. In Edmunds testing, an Si coupe hit 60 mph in 6.9 seconds, which is on par with the Mini Cooper S and VW GTI but slower than the Mazdaspeed 3 and Subaru WRX.

Safety

The 2012 Honda Civic comes with standard safety features that include stability control, antilock brakes (four-wheel discs with the EX and Si), front-seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the Civic EX-L came to a stop from 60 mph in a longish 131 feet, with prevalent brake fade. The Hybrid was a bit better with a stop of 124 feet, while the Si's brakes performed much better, with a stop of 120 feet and much less fade.

In government crash testing, the Civic sedan received a perfect five stars in the overall, frontal and side crash categories. The Civic coupe received four stars in each. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Civic sedan the highest possible rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Driving

Although the changes to the 2012 Honda Civic aren't radical, this is still one of the better-driving cars in its class. Both the coupe and sedan use shorter wheelbases than their predecessors and feel well-balanced and light on their feet. Power from the 1.8-liter engine is certainly adequate when fueled by gasoline; the Natural Gas is very slow. However, the automatic transmission's propensity to upshift early can be annoying. Wind noise is also a problem with the Civic, as it's noticeably louder than its competitors. This makes the Civic seem less refined on lengthy highway trips, despite one of the most comfortable and composed rides in the class.

The 2012 Honda Civic Si is still a fun car to drive. Refined suspension tuning, improved electric-assist power steering and additional torque at lower rpm give it a sharp attitude in and out of corners. But from a performance standpoint, it continues to be outclassed by the more muscular Mazdaspeed 3.

Interior

Interior changes are very minor for the 2012 Honda Civic. The two-tier dash display carries over but now includes a 5-inch monitor that displays information for audio, hands-free phone use and various vehicle systems. The cabin has picked up a tad more passenger room, and it's most noticeable for front seat sedan passengers who have more shoulder and elbow room, and seat adjustability. The trunk has also grown, offering a total of 11.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity in the coupe and 12.5 cubic feet in the sedan. The hybrid models sacrifice trunk space to the battery pack, leaving 10.7 cubic feet. The large fuel tank needed for the Natural Gas model curtails trunk space even further.

Most controls are well-placed, and the keypads and menu buttons on the steering wheel are intuitive enough for anyone who's spent time with a smartphone. But it's an overload of input sources; there can be up to 14 buttons and directional commands on the steering wheel alone, and the dash design that features the navigation system looks quite busy. Also the extensive use of low-budget hard plastics makes the cabin feel cheap, especially compared to competitors that have invested in upgraded materials for their interiors.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Honda Civic.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2nd review-crash result
carlonz,12/30/2012
LX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A)
I submitted a review previously, just after purchasing my new 12 civic. I thought I should submit another after recently totaling it. It was a great car, in fact I have replaced it with the same exact model and color. Whats important to know is that I was hit (t-boned) on the passenger side at about 35 mph. Side impact air bags went off and car spun 180 degrees. I walked away with only a bruise to my right foreman, no other bruisers, breaks or next day sorenss, with the driver and passenger seating areas fully intact. It's not often someone submits a review on safety in a real world incident. Above and beyond its strengths and weaknesses, this car is built for safety. Thank you Honda.
Lesser of the evils
dannerd,07/07/2012
LX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A)
I based my car buying decision on my experience with owning an assortment of different beaters, and that this time I was going to buy something new. Out of all the beaters I've owned, Hondas always got the best gas mileage, were the cheapest to fix, were easy to sell. If you read the bashing reviews for the 2012 civic, you'll notice the gripes are mostly about the cheap interior plastic and road noise. If you compare the reviews to other competitors like the 2012 focus or elantra, they are having serious issues involving the transmission, and check engine lights coming on recent to the purchase of the vehicle. That should tell you something. No car is perfect, but Honda seems to get close.
So you want a Hybrid....
hybridman2012,05/06/2012
Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
If you are on your first mission to buy a hybrid, this article will help you! I started my quest to find the "gas mileage" car I needed by going to a Toyota dealer and driving the famous Prius. After being unimpressed with the style, power and certainly the price, I went back to Honda. This would be my third Honda if the 2012 Civic was the one I was looking for.Here are some facts that accually are true to help you make your decision: First - Honda has a Lithium Ion battery back weighing 20lbs. Prius has a NiCad battery weighing 200lbs. The NiCad has a memory and won't last as long as Honda's Lithium Ion with a warranty of 10yrs or 80,000 miles! Last - More power, most quiet, NICE!
I am a Car Guy!! Love the 2012 Honda civic LX A+
William,05/09/2016
LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A)
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.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.9%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Honda Civic
More About This Model

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.

And competition in this segment moves fast. The redesigned 2012 Ford Focus and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra offer comparable fuel economy, more power and a better interior. The Chevrolet Cruze is quieter, while the Mazda 3 can match the Civic's responsive handling curve-for-curve. The high-performance Civic Si is still a thrill, but the Mazdaspeed 3 and Volkswagen GTI are both worthy rivals.

Used 2012 Honda Civic Overview

The Used 2012 Honda Civic is offered in the following submodels: Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe, Civic Si, Civic Hybrid, Civic Natural Gas. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), EX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), LX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), EX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A), EX-L 4dr Sedan w/Nav (1.8L 4cyl 5A), LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), HF 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), EX-L 2dr Coupe w/Nav (1.8L 4cyl 5A), DX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5M), Si 2dr Coupe w/Summer Tires (2.4L 4cyl 6M), Hybrid 4dr Sedan w/Nav (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Natural Gas 4dr Sedan w/Nav (1.8L 4cyl 5A), Si 4dr Sedan w/Summer Tires (2.4L 4cyl 6M), DX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), Natural Gas 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5A), Hybrid 4dr Sedan w/Lthr (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), Hybrid 4dr Sedan w/Lthr, Nav (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), DX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A), Si 4dr Sedan w/Nav (2.4L 4cyl 6M), Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT), EX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5M), Si 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6M), EX-L 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5A), Si 2dr Coupe w/Nav (2.4L 4cyl 6M), Si 2dr Coupe w/Nav, Summer Tires (2.4L 4cyl 6M), DX 2dr Coupe (1.8L 4cyl 5M), Si 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 6M), EX 2dr Coupe w/Nav (1.8L 4cyl 5A), and EX 4dr Sedan w/Nav (1.8L 4cyl 5A). Pre-owned Honda Civic models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 140 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 Honda Civic comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic.

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Honda Civic?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Honda Civic trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Honda Civic LX is priced between $7,869 and$14,599 with odometer readings between 33195 and187077 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Honda Civic EX is priced between $7,495 and$14,499 with odometer readings between 52734 and144885 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Honda Civic EX-L is priced between $6,855 and$14,699 with odometer readings between 31510 and208127 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Honda Civic Si is priced between $12,786 and$13,995 with odometer readings between 76187 and118929 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is priced between $9,880 and$9,880 with odometer readings between 90525 and90525 miles.

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Which used 2012 Honda Civics are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Honda Civic for sale near. There are currently 59 used and CPO 2012 Civics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,855 and mileage as low as 31510 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Honda Civic.

Can't find a used 2012 Honda Civics you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Honda Civic for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $15,443.

Find a used Honda for sale - 11 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,832.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda Civic for sale - 4 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $9,450.

Find a used certified pre-owned Honda for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $18,487.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Honda Civic?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Honda lease specials
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