The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Civic

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The Best Cars, Trucks, SUVs, and More for 2016: Editors’ Choice Awards 2016 Honda Civic

Source : Car and Driver 2016 Editor’s Choice – February 22, 2016

2016 Honda Civic

Sweet-handling and fun to drive, the Civic deserves serious consideration from enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike. The base engine is a 158-hp 2.0-liter four; a 174-hp turbo 1.5-liter is optional. The 2.0-liter has a six-speed manual, while a CVT is optional. Sadly, the turbo offers only the CVT. Both engines are peppy, but the turbo is definitely the hot rod of the two. The coupe shares the sedan’s powertrains and has a sportier ride with quicker steering. The back seat, though, is tight.

2016 Honda Civic

First Drive Review

2016 Honda Civic

Chapter two of the Civic renaissance.

According to Honda research, buyers who prefer coupes to sedans are primarily seduced by styling and image, feeling that the absence of that second set of doors suggests that both car and driver possess a sporty persona. That’s not always the case, but the dynamic character of the new Civic coupe vindicates the sporty part of the proposition.

The coupe’s sheetmetal is even edgier than the sedan’s, a welcome departure from the caution that has marked so many Honda designs—with tidier dimensions, more sculpting, and wheels that fill their wheel wells right to the edge of the fenders.

2016 Honda Civic

The coupe shares the sedan’s 106.3-inch wheelbase, a sizable 3.1-inch stretch versus the previous generation. But at 176.9 inches, the new coupe is an inch shorter than its predecessor, 1.8 inches wider at 70.8 inches, and a smidge (0.1 inch) lower at 54.9 inches. It also has much wider tracks: 60.9 inches front and 61.5 rear. Although overall length has shrunk, the overhangs have diminished even more, and compared with the new sedan, the coupe is 5.4 inches shorter—all of that chopped out of the rear overhang—and almost an inch lower. The net is a coupe that looks compact in the athletic sense—squat, taut, and ready to rock.


Smaller dimensions and extensive use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel in the body shell ought to add up to reduced mass, but the official specifications are a little murky on this score. Honda’s listed curb weights for the old coupe range from 2754 to 2916 pounds. Depending on trim level, the 2016 coupes will weigh between 2735 and 2896 pounds, according to Honda.

Nevertheless, the new coupe should have a performance edge over the previous generation, thanks to its new engines—a naturally aspirated 158-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder (in LX and LX-P models) and a 174-hp 1.5-liter turbo four (EX-T, EX-L, and Touring). In our test of a new sedan equipped with the 1.5-liter turbo and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), we logged a 6.8-second zero-to-60-mph sprint. That’s just 0.3 second behind the last Civic Si we tested, and Honda insiders say that in development testing the coupe has been a little quicker than the current Si. This leads us to wonder how much power the new Si will bring to the game when it makes its appearance, as well as what its body style will be—coupe? sedan? hatchback? all three?—but Honda isn’t talking about that yet.

Our initial experience with the new coupe was confined to turbo-powered versions with Honda’s torque-converter-enhanced CVT, and the impressions were much the same as those logged in our sedan test. Stomp on the throttle and once the turbo spools up, the Civic’s front tires emit a healthy chirp and forward momentum builds in a hurry. The spool-up is quick with the transmission in D, but for even quicker results, slip the lever into S. At wide-open throttle the CVT delivers simulated upshifts and exhibits little of the slipping-clutch sensations that often accompany transmissions of this type. Paddle shifters aren’t part of the deal, however, and the driver is still aware that it’s a CVT.

2016 Honda Civic

Somewhere East of Julian

Is the coupe any quicker than a similarly equipped sedan? We’ll need a test track to nail that down. But we don’t need a test track to identify an area of performance where the coupe holds an edge over its four-door cousin—as well as its rivals. That would be on the mountain roads near Julian, California, east of San Diego, where the coupe impressed. While the sedan’s unibody gets high marks for its robust structure, the coupe takes chassis rigidity a step further, with selective stiffening around the front and rear suspension pickup points.

Suspension elements—dampers and springs—are also stiffer, varying by trim level. The basic LX model, for example, gets firmer damping and increased front roll stiffness. The LX-P and EX-T have increased spring rates as well as more authority in the dampers; EX-T and higher trim levels get 17-inch wheels. The EX-L and Touring models get refinements of the foregoing, including hydraulic rear bushings for better road isolation and lighter wheels for reduced unsprung weight.

While the dynamic distinctions among the various trims are subtle and hard to quantify in short driving stints, the bottom line is a coupe that’s quick on its feet, responding promptly to steering inputs, with modest body motions and absolutely no drama. It’s easy to be precise with the steering, as well, thanks to an electrically assisted rack-and-pinion system that’s exceptionally quick (2.2 turns lock-to-lock), accurate, and tactile. The steering wheel further enhances the process with its just-right rim thickness and grippy feel.

Pushed hard, the coupe will do exactly that—push. It’s agile, but like most front-drive cars, sporty or not, the weight bias is decidedly forward, and it’s not very difficult to provoke noisy protest from the front tires in enthusiastic cornering. A more performance-oriented tire would probably raise the understeer threshold—all models are shod with all-season rubber—and also shorten braking distances. It’s easy to modulate pressure at the brake pedal, and fade is not an issue, but we don’t anticipate much improvement over the sedan’s 178-foot stopping distance from 70 mph in our test.

The new coupe posts solid marks on the comfort scorecard. Although the suspension tuning is distinctly firmer than the sedan’s, it’s also compliant enough to take the edge off sharp bumps and expansion joints. And Honda’s extensive efforts with sound insulation pay off here, just as in the sedan. The new Civics raise the bar for quiet operation among compacts.

2016 Honda Civic

Waiting for Manual

Honda insists Civics equipped with the 1.5-liter turbo engine also will get the six-speed manual-transmission option currently available with the 2.0-liter. We got a very brief experience with a manual-equipped turbo mule, a sedan in heavy camo, and found it to be typical of Honda shift-for-yourself gearboxes with short throws and crisp engagements. But the product planners get cagey about precisely when it will arrive; our best guess is late in this model year.

The new infotainment and safety features that made their debut with the sedan carry forward to the coupe. Of the latter, the lane-keep assist system is particularly annoying—it’s a little random in picking up the edge and center lines, and a little too eager to intervene when it does see them.

Inside, the coupe sustains the high quality of materials established by the sedan, including first-rate bucket seats, as well as a rear seat actually habitable by adults. Although the new coupe is shorter than its predecessor, the stretched wheelbase allowed Honda to expand rear-seat legroom by 5.1 inches.

Like some other elements of the ongoing Civic saga, pricing remains an unknown—at least until the mid-March on-sale date. We have estimates, but that’s complicated by the revised trim levels—there are now five, culminating in the new Touring model. But this much is certain: The new Civic coupe makes the outgoing version as forgettable as last year’s curling-tournament results. And the sportiness goes well beyond mere appearance.

Honda Civic wins Canadian Car of the Year

The Civic was significantly updated for the 2016 model year. Under the hood, it  is available with a turbo engine for the first time in Canada.

The Civic was significantly updated for the 2016 model year. Under the hood, it is available with a turbo engine for the first time in Canada.

By: Special to the Star, Published on Thu Feb 11 2016


The Honda Civic has been chosen as the 2016 Canadian Car of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and the Mazda CX-3 won Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

The announcement was made Thursday morning ahead of the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

The other two finalists in the car category were the Volkswagen Golf R and the Volkswagen Golf Sportwagon.

In the AJAC evaluation process (described below), one category is “Market Significance.” By that count alone, the winner of AJAC’s Best New Small Car in the over $21,000 category had to be a favourite, given it has been Canada’s best-selling car for 18 years.

The new Civic is a significant departure from the previous model. Increased interior space, more styling character and a revised suspension for sportier handling add to traditional Civic traits of comfort, reliability and value.

The 174 horsepower turbocharged engine in EX-T and Touring models provides more entertaining urge when the pedal is pressed.

A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), usually not a precursor to driving enjoyment, reacts with more precision than most.

It all suggests that the Civic will add one more notch to its metaphoric lipstick case when sales results for 2016 are tabulated.

It is also appropriate that Canada’s Car of the Year is actually assembled in Canada, at Honda’s Alliston, Ont. plant.

Honda Civic still best among compacts on new IIHS crash test

Most popular, entry-level small cars struggle


The Honda Civic is still the only small car to get the top rating on a new test that simulates a severe front-end crash, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says.

IIHS, which is funded by insurance companies, today released another batch of test results for its “small overlap” crash test, which replicates an accident in which the front corner of a car clips another car, a pole or a tree at 40 mph.

The group gave “acceptable” ratings to the Dodge Dart, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and 2014 Scion tC, which was enough to earn them Top Safety Pick+ honors.

However, they did not do as well as the two- and four-door Civic, which received “good” ratings earlier this year — a payoff for Honda engineers in Ohio after they redid the car’s front-end architecture to better handle this type of crash.

Automakers generally make greater use of high-strength or hot-formed steel to help cars stand up to small-overlap crashes. The engineering challenge can be daunting because these crashes tend to bypass the structures under the hood that are designed to crumple and absorb the force of a straight-on front-end crash.

Many popular and entry-level small cars struggled with the new test. The Nissan Sentra, Kia Soul and 2014 Kia Forte all received a “poor” rating today while the Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Sonic and Volkswagen Beetle received “marginal” ratings.

“In the worst cases, safety cages collapsed, driver airbags moved sideways with unstable steering columns and the dummy’s head hit the instrument panel,” IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby said in a statement. “Side curtain airbags didn’t deploy or didn’t provide enough forward coverage to make a difference. All of this adds up to marginal or poor protection in a small-overlap crash.”

Starting for model year 2013, the IIHS made an “acceptable” or “good” score on the small-overlap test a prerequisite for Top Safety Pick+ honors, though cars that flunk the test are still eligible for Top Safety Pick plaudits.

The passing grade for the Scion tC coupe is a sign of improvement for Toyota, which drew criticism from IIHS over the past year as top-selling models such as the Camry sedan and RAV4 crossover received low marks on the new test.

IIHS didn’t test the 2013 Corolla sedan because it is on the verge of a redesign.

Joe Nolan, the head of the group’s testing laboratory, said during a recent interview that Toyota has asked IIHS to test the redesigned 2014 Corolla, Highlander SUV and Prius compact hybrid, as well as the freshened 2014 Camry. He said it was a sign of the automaker’s confidence in its efforts to steel those cars against small-overlap crashes.

Article Information

  • Source: Automotive News
  • Author: Gabe Nelson
  • Date Posted: August 12, 2013

2013 Honda Civic nabs top safety marks with IIHS and NHTSA

Already a big favorite with buyers, the 2013 Honda Civic has made an equally positive impression on the folks at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2013 Civic Sedan and Coupe have become the first — and to date only — small cars tested to roll off with the IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ laurels that included earning the best rating possible in the new and very demanding small overlap frontal collision test. The Civic Sedan doubled up on the plaudits by also receiving the top 5-Star overall vehicle score in NHTSA’s equally stringent New Car Assessment Program regimen.

In addition to the Civic line, which underwent a significant engineering revamp for 2013, the mid-size Accord Sedan and Coupe also performed well enough to be named Top Safety Pick+ recipients by the IIHS. As for other members of the Honda family, the 2013 Crosstour, CR-Z, CR-V, Insight, Pilot, Odyssey and Ridgeline all earned Top Safety Pick honors.

Article Information

  • Source: Kelley Blue Book
  • Author: Bob Nagy
  • Date Posted: May 15, 2013

Five cars pass new, tougher crash test

Larger vehicles generally hold up better than smaller cars in crashes, so it’s significant that the Honda Civic compact was able to get the top score on the new test.

The revised 2013 Honda Civic is the first compact car to earn a Top Safety Pick “Plus” designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The insurance industry group does its own crash testing separate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test program required for new vehicles.

Two Civics — both the two-door and four-door models — and three other larger vehicles earned this top rating, it was announced today. The other top scorers were the redesigned 2014 Mazda6 midsize mainstream sedan, the Lincoln MKZ midsize luxury sedan and the Volvo XC60 midsize luxury SUV.

TSP+ means the cars were able to score a top “good” score on the new, tough “small overlap frontal crash test” — hitting a barrier at 40 mph with just the outside 25% of the car’s front end — in addition to the regular tests.

Larger vehicles generally hold up better than smaller cars in crashes, which is why it’s significant that the Honda Civic was able to ace the new, added test with a “good.”

Honda is delighted with its showing. “We believe this is a distinct competitive advantage, especially as more and more consumers place a premium on crash rating performance,” says Art St. Cyr, Honda’s vice president of product planning, in a statement.

The test is not easy. The small frontal overlap that IIHS began doing last year is designed to mimic hitting a narrow object, such as a pole, or a partial head-on collision on the driver side. In order to be designated as a TSP+, the vehicle needs to first pass the other IIHS front, rear, side and rollover tests — then pass the new small overlap test.

A bunch of cars have flunked the test, but the latest test results show that engineers are figuring out how to modify new cars to make sure they’ll pass. Reached for comment, Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety says such tests are critical to coaxing safety improvements out of automakers.

Honda Civic’s score reflects upgrades to the 2013 model of the popular vehicle that had just been redesigned for 2012. A makeover of that model was undertaken after criticism of the new car’s interior materials and other appearance and performance attributes, not its crash test results.

But while they were at it, Honda engineers built extra safety into the revised version, with significant changes to the front crash structure to meet the new test. The changes to the structure are related to the design of the front crash structure of Civic’s larger sibling, the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord midsize sedan.

The Accord was one of two mainstream midsize sedans to score “good” in the small frontal offset in earlier testing of 13 models (story here).

According to IIHS, Volvo engineers took a different approach, changing the SUV’s electronics so that the side-curtain airbag would deploy in the small overlap test.

This round of small overlap testing was at the request of the automakers, who were confident they’d do well, said IIHS spokesman Russ Rader. While this test is new and harder, IIHS has done a wider overlap test — 40% of the front end — since 1995.

NHTSA not added such tests to its battery but says it is is evaluating procedures for small overlap and also oblique frontal crash test. Since it published initial findings in September 2009, NHTSA has had research underway on such crashes and the types of occupant injuries that occur in them.

The agency says it also has developed two frontal crash test procedures that are designed to replicate head-on crashes when a vehicle’s front corner collides with an oncoming vehicle’s front corner at a slight angle. NHTSA’s tests use a moving barrier (simulating an oncoming vehicle) hitting the vehicle being tested. The agency has also completed tests to demonstrate the procedures produce consistent, repeatable results. And it says it is developing an advanced frontal crash dummy, called THOR, to potentially make more human-like measurements for predicting injury in the head, chest, hip, and leg areas.

NHTSA says that it and IIHS have been closely monitoring each other’s work in frontal crashes and that future test procedures pursued by the agency will complement the procedures used by IIHS.

Automakers feel pressure to do well on both the IIHS and the government tests, making the IIHS tests “almost a de facto government standard” alongside NHTSA’s, said Tom Baloga, a recently retired engineering vice president for BMW.

IIHS’ tests are “sometimes tougher than NHTSA tests,” says Dan Ryan, Mazda’s public and government affairs chief. But Mazda’s cars as they’re updated are designed to perform well in them, he says. IIHS does “a very good job publicizing the results so a lot of people see them. So it’s become a priority to do well.”

Article Information

  • Source: USA Today
  • Author: Chris Woodyard and Jayne O’Donnell
  • Date Posted: March 8, 2013

2013 Honda Civic Sedan and Coupe First Small Cars to Achieve TOP SAFETY PICK+ Rating in IIHS Safety Testing

SOURCE American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Honda leads industry with four TOP SAFETY PICK+ rated vehicles

TORRANCE, Calif., March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The new 2013 Honda Civic Sedan and Coupe have received the highest available safety rating of TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This recognition makes the Civic Sedan and Coupe the first and only IIHS Small cars in the industry to earn a TOP SAFETY PICK+.

Honda leads all other brands in achieving TOP SAFETY PICK+ ratings with four models – Civic Sedan and Coupe, and Accord Sedan and Coupe. Further, for the 2013 model year, all Honda and Acura models tested1 by the IIHS have received a TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating.

“If you want a compact car with a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating, the 2013 Honda Civic is the only choice,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of product planning and logistics at American Honda. “We believe this is a distinct competitive advantage, especially as more and more consumers place a premium on crash rating performance.”

The new Civic Sedan, equipped with the second generation of the Honda Advanced Compatibility Body Structure™ (ACE™II), is not only the first Small car to earn TOP SAFETY PICK+ in the industry, but also the first and only to earn the highest possible rating of GOOD on the IIHS’ new small overlap frontal crash test (sometimes called a ‘narrow offset’ test). This aggressive test is designed to simulate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole at high speed. The ACE™II reinforced body structure found on the 2013 Civic further enhances frontal crash energy through a wider range of these offset and oblique collision scenarios.

Additional standard safety equipment on all Civic models include Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) with traction control; an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS); side curtain airbags; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; and driver and front passenger side airbags.

Honda Safety Leadership
Honda has a long history of leadership in the development and application of advanced technologies and designs to enhance the safety of all road users, including automobile occupants, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians. The company operates two of the world’s most sophisticated crash test facilities and is responsible for numerous pioneering efforts in the areas of crashworthiness, airbag technology, collision compatibility and pedestrian safety. This commitment to safety is rooted in Honda’s goal to be a company that society wants to exist, and it complements the company’s leadership in reducing vehicle emissions, improving fuel efficiency and advancing alternatives to gasoline.

2013 American Honda TOP SAFETY PICK+:

Honda Acura
Honda Accord Coupe Acura TL
Honda Accord Sedan
Honda Civic Coupe
Honda Civic Sedan

2013 American Honda TOP SAFETY PICKS:

Honda Acura
Honda Fit Acura ILX
Honda Crosstour Acura TSX Sedan
Honda Civic Sedan Acura MDX
Honda CR-Z Acura RDX
Honda CR-V
Honda Insight
Honda Pilot
Honda Odyssey
Honda Ridgeline
Connect with Honda:
Connect with Acura:

  1. Acura ZDX, Honda FCX Clarity and Honda Fit EV have not been completely tested by the IIHS for the 2013 Model Year.

Article Information

  • Source: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Author: American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
  • Date Posted: March 8, 2013

Honda Civic and Honda Accord take 2 of the 2013 Car and Driver 10 Best Cars

car-and-driver-logoCar and Driver magazine has named the all-new 2013 Honda Accord and the Honda Fit as winners of its prestigious and highly competitive annual ‘10Best Cars’ award. Now in its ninth generation, the Accord has achieved ‘10Best Cars’ status 27 times in the 31 years that Car and Driver editors have been conducting the competition, more than any other vehicle in the award’s history. The Honda Fit has been honoured with ‘10Best Cars’ status in each of the seven years that it has been on sale in North America.

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Article Information

  • Date Posted: January 15, 2013

Now in its Ninth Generation, the Honda Civic Continues to Fly High

In 2010, Honda sold 260,218 eighth-generation Civics, or more units than BMW sold, well, all told (220,113). In fact, Civic sales were nearly as much as that of the complete BMW group (266,069), which includes Mini and Rolls-Royce. Suffice it to say, many an automaker would love to enjoy entire portfolio sales comparable to that of Honda’s Civic.

So you can imagine the challenges Honda faced when it came time to replace the extraordinarily successful Gen 8, which just happed to win Motor Trend’s 2006 Car of the Year award. The ninth generation would have to take the nameplate to the next level, offering improvements in dynamic performance, fuel economy, interior volume, design, and safety. You name it — it had to be better. Yet, if Gen 9 were too much of a radical design departure, it risked turning off the quarter-million-plus prospective annual buyers, sending them packing to one of many hot, new compacts from Ford, Chevy, Hyundai, et al.

Honda opted for the safe route, which could prove unsafe if the Civic doesn’t meet expectations. Gen 9’s exterior design, which is meant to be distinctive, clean, and energetic, per Honda, looks decidedly similar to that of Gen 8, retaining the so-called “mono-form body.” Why? Honda wanted the new model to be instantly recognizable as a Civic. Inside, Gen 8’s twin-tier dash was kept, albeit significantly revised, to carry on the well-liked and well-established design theme. A large analog tachometer remains the focal point of the lower tier, while a digital speedometer flanked by fuel and engine-temp displays sits up top. New for 2012 is a 5-inch intelligent media info display, or i-MID, that resides in the right corner of the upper tier. Controlled via a steering wheel-mounted keypad, i-MID shows information for audio, Bluetooth phone/audio, fuel economy, clock, and upcoming navigation turns.

Much of the 2012’s resemblance to its predecessor stems from the exterior dimensions, which have changed not a tenth of an inch. Length (177.3 inches), width (69.0), and height (56.5) for the sedan are all the same as before; only the wheelbase, at 105.1, has shrunk 1.2 inches. The 2012 coupe’s dimensions – LxWxH of 175.5 x 69.0 x 55.0 and wheelbase of 103.2 – are nearly identical to ’11’s, which differ only in width (-0.1) and wheelbase (-1.1).
You might think interior size has remained status quo, too. You’d be wrong. Sedan passenger volume is up 3.7 cubic feet, from 90.9 to 94.6, with big jumps in rear legroom (+1.6 inches) and shoulder room (+2.9 front, +0.9 rear). Even cargo volume, at 12.5 cubic feet, is up 0.5. Apparently, Honda’s approach of “man maximum, machine minimum” paid dividends. And the coupe? It actually shrunk a bit in passenger volume, from 83.7 to 83.2, but cargo volume swells from 11.5 to 11.7 and front shoulder room and rear legroom both see small increases.

By using 5 percent more high-strength steel, Honda claims the Civic’s body is 7 percent lighter, 10 percent stiffer in static rigidity, and 11 percent stronger in dynamic rigidity. Further, a new electric power steering (EPS) system, a redesigned front subframe, and a thin-walled fuel tank all combine to shave more lbs. With standard safety equipment including six airbags, Honda’s ACE body structure, stability control, and “motion adaptive” EPS, which applies steering assist to prevent loss of control, the 2012 is billed as the safest Civic ever.

As before, the new Civic retains a front strut/rear multilink setup to which Honda has increased suspension stroke and reduced damper friction. According to Honda, the results are a smoother ride and improved stability. Honda also claims the Civic offers best-in-class aerodynamics, although it won’t release an actual Cd value. Regardless, the EPA has released the numbers that really matter: fuel economy.

At its worst, the Civic returns 25 mpg combined (Si); at its best, 44 mpg combined (Hybrid). To make achieving the EPA’s numbers as easy as possible, every Civic, sans the Si, comes equipped with Honda’s Eco Assist system, which, at the touch of a green button, alters the dash meter color to help the driver maintain economical driving habits.

For a more in-depth look at the various 2012 Civics, including drive impressions of some trims, please read on.

1.8-liter Gas

Honda’s 1.8-liter 16-valve I-4 with i-VTEC, producing 140 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 128 pound-feet at 4300, remains Civic’s volume-selling engine, motivating DX, LX, and EX coupes and sedans as well as the new HF sedan. Although peak horsepower is realized 200 rpm later, a fatter midrange torque curve now exists between 2000 and 4000 rpm, providing more usable oomph for daily driving. To increase fuel efficiency, the 1.8 boasts increased intake airflow, enhanced valve timing, and better exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) flow. A five-speed automatic, standard on EX and HF sedans and available on all other 1.8-liter coupes and sedans, carries over, but now sports an increased capacity torque converter and reduced clutch friction. For shift-it-yourselfers, a five-speed manual is standard on DX and LX coupes and sedans, and the EX coupe. In conjunction with reduced brake drag, low rolling-resistance tires, and slicker aerodynamics, the 1.8-liter Civic’s powertrain improvements net fuel-economy numbers of 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway with the manual, 28/39 with the auto, and 29/41 for the HF.

Speaking of the HF, it’s Honda’s new high fuel-economy gas Civic. To crest the magic 4-0 on the highway, the HF utilizes a small trunk spoiler, lightweight aero wheels with even lower rolling-resistance rubber, and an added tank cover and extra rear undercover to reduce drag 4.4 percent. With Chevy’s manual-tranny Cruze Eco delivering 42 mpg highway, Honda is quick to point out the HF is the most fuel-efficient automatic gas-only compact on the market. Cost? The HF starts at $20,205 and comes with stability control, ABS, power windows, A/C, tire-pressure monitoring system, USB audio, keyless entry, and cruise control.
At $16,355 (coupe) and $16,555 (sedan), the DX soldiers on as Civic’s cost leader, but don’t let the price fool you – standard equipment includes stability control, ABS, power windows, auto-off headlamps, integrated rear-window antenna, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and 15-inch wheels. Perhaps more impressive, the prices have stayed at 2011 levels.

The LX, at $18,405 (coupe) and $18,605 (sedan), is Civic’s volume player, replete with AM/FM/CD/Aux audio, A/C, keyless entry, cruise control, auto up/down driver window, and map lights. Compared to 2011 prices, ’12 LX tags are up $100.

For $20,455 (coupe) and $21,255 (sedan), the premium EX steps up with Bluetooth phone/audio, power moonroof, 16-inch alloys, six-speaker audio (seven speakers for coupe), 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, rear disc brakes, variable intermittent wipers, and a five-speed auto (sedan). To get an auto in the coupe, add $800. Auto-equipped EXs can also be had with navigation with voice recognition, satellite radio, and traffic updates ($1500).

The $22,705 cream-of-the-crop EX-L coupe and sedan, available only with an automatic, add heated leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated mirrors; navigation can be added for the same $1500. Versus 2011 costs, ’12 EX prices vary considerably — up $100 (EX coupe, sedan), status quo (EX-L coupe, sedan), down $400 (EX Navi coupe, sedan), and down $500 (EX-L Navi coupe, sedan).

So how do the 1.8s drive? In short, like baby Accords. Whereas the Gen 8 Civic delivered a somewhat busy ride, relatively high NVH, and quick-feeling reflexes, the Gen 9 is smoother, quieter, more refined, and more deliberate. Turn-in is less abrupt and dynamic transitions are better subdued, so when driven aggressively, the Civic comes across as less nervous and more composed. The ride is softer and cabin noise seems calmer than before.
Of course, under WOT, the 1.8 is still buzzy, a reminder that the Civic’s power plan is designed for fuel economy, not high performance. While some of Gen 8’s small-car charm — the immediacy of the steering, the detailed sense of the road — has been lost with Gen 9, the end product is nonetheless superior, offering higher dynamic limits, better fuel economy, and improved comfort and on-road manners.


The big news for the Civic Hybrid are a lighter, smaller, more powerful battery — now a 48-pound, 16-liter, 27-horsepower lithium-ion versus a 68-pound, 25-liter, 20-horse nickel-metal hydride — a 1.5-pound-lighter electric motor providing 2 pound-feet of additional torque, and a bigger 1.5-liter 8-valve I-4 replacing last year’s 1.3 liter. Combined power is now at 110 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 127 pound-feet at 1000, improvements over last year’s 110 horses at 6000 (500 rpm later) and 123 pound-feet at 1000. A CVT continues as the sole transmission, but now features a 3.94 axle ratio (versus 4.94 for 2011) as well as oil temperature and pressure sensors. Similar to the fuel-miser HF, the Hybrid wears myriad aero enhancements, notably a smaller front grille opening, a miniscule 0.02-inch lower ride height, lightweight five-spoke alloy wheels, a trunk spoiler, and enlarged underbody covers.

Opening at $24,800, the Civic Hybrid comes well-equipped, offering standard LED taillamps, Bluetooth phone/audio, stability control, ABS, power windows and locks, USB audio, and automatic climate control. A leather-equipped Hybrid, adding heated leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated mirrors, ups the ante by $1200. And navigation runs an extra $1500, with or without leather. Again, there’s a range of price differences between the 2011 Hybrids and the 2012’s — plus $100 for the Hybrid and Hybrid Leather; minus $400 for the Hybrid Navi and Hybrid Leather Navi.

On a brief 40-mile drive, the Hybrid, like its gas-only sibling, proved a quiet, composed, and refined cruiser. It’ll never be mistaken as speedy — expect 0 to 60 in around 10.5 seconds — but it offers adequate power for everyday commuting and errand-running, and the battery assist helps when a burst of torque is needed. Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system is more seamless than ever. The gas engine’s auto on/off feature is less perceptible; the regenerative braking system is more natural; and maximum EV speed is not only easier to experience, but works up to 43 mph. In light of the previous gen, which returned EPA numbers of 40/41, the new Hybrid sips regular unleaded at a rate of 44/44. When it comes to hybrids, those are the numbers that matter most.


The bad news? The new 2012 Si no longer blessed with a spine-tingling 8000-rpm redline. The good news? Everything else. Yes, the high-rpm screamer that was the 2.0-liter 197-horse 2011 Si is gone. But in its place appears the midrange-monster 2.4-liter 201-horse 2012 with — gasp! — a 7000-rpm redline. Not only are the new Si’s four extra peak ponies realized 800 rpm sooner than before, but its 31 additional pound-feet (now up to 170) come on board 1700 rpm earlier.

The welcome consequences are usable power and pound-feet, whether zipping through cities, canyons, or carousels. In fact, there’s now enough torque that the helical limited-slip differential creates modest torque steer when enthusiastically exiting a tight turn. Whereas the previous Si required a downshift (or two) to net passing power, the new car just asks for more gas. Further, the 2.4-liter, essentially the same I-4 used in the Acura TSX, hasn’t lost the Si’s signature racy roar; it’s simply matured – now more Robert Plant than Kurt Cobain.

The standard six-speed manual (no automatic is offered), also shared in basic form with the TSX, is as slick and sweet as they come. It’s so excellent that it could probably even convert a dual-clutch diehard. Better yet, the brawnier powertrain delivers improved fuel economy over last year’s 2.0-liter/6M duo — 22/31 versus 21/29.

On the outside, the Si’s unique front grille, foglamps, rear bumper and diffuser, chrome exhaust finisher, 17-inch alloys, and rear spoiler with integrated LED CHMSL alert passersby that this is the sportiest of Civics. Inside, metal pedals, a metal/leather shift knob, a red meter color, 360-watt audio, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and cloth-covered sport seats (both with red stitching) remind the driver that the throttle should be firmly depressed — often. The Si’s i-MID gets an exclusive “Power Monitor” setting — a bar display numbered from 0 to 100 percent that indicates engine output — that is far more gimmicky than useful.

Conversely, the new i-VTEC rev indicator, located to the left of the digital speedo, is very handy. A horizontal string of six lighted dots (four orange, two red), the indicator’s first orange dot comes on at 5200 rpm, the second at 5600, and the third at 6000. The final orange dot lights at 6350, with the fifth and sixth dots (both red) turning on at 6700 and 7000, respectively. When aggressively hustling the Si, the rev indicator serves as a quick, reliable way of knowing when to perform a flick-of-the-wrist upshift.

The Si’s revised EPS is also noticeably better than its predecessor’s setup, providing superior off-center weighting and a more organic feel. Moreover, the sport-tuned suspension — front struts/rear multilink — delivers a taut ride with higher limits, yet feels more compliant than the 2011 Si’s. If there was a Honda that could carry the Prelude torch, this new Si seems to fit the bill perfectly.

Price? For the coupe, $22,955, and for the sedan, $23,155, both of which represent a $0 increase compared to the 2011s. Nav adds $1500 ($500 less than for 2011) and high-performance summer tires remain a $200 option.


Article Information

  • Source: Motor Trend
  • Author: Ron Kiino
  • Date Posted: August 26, 2011

Civic Mentality Helps Create Winning Spirit

“When your team is leading the league, you don’t want to mess too much with the line-up.”

That’s the case with Honda and the 2012 Civic. Honda’s made some changes that won’t shock its current fans while potentially picking up some new supporters along the way.

This league has a lot of players, but Civic has been the star for most of its previous eight generations.

The ninth generation team has a slightly different playbook and its uniform has seen some minor alterations, but the goal is the same: win.

My test car this week came from Honda Canada in EX trim – not a glitzy offering to be sure, but the player most people will keep their eyes on when they’re looking for reliability and fuel efficiency.

Some have criticized the design for being too “safe,” but I don’t think you have to make radical changes to make progress.

Granted, it’s hard to tell the 2012 version from the previous one, unless they’re side-by-each, but the new car has a slightly longer hood, different headlights and some crease lines that weren’t there before. The wheelbase is shorter, too.

It looks good, but it’s certainly not the kind of ride that will turn heads or draw thumbs up from fellow drivers.

Inside, rear seat passengers get more leg room, but tall people are still in danger of bumping their heads if the going gets rough.

I find the tilt/telescoping multi-function steering wheel lets me run through a wide variety of functions without ever looking away from the road and I’ve still got a two-tier dash design. The top tier stretches farther across the dash to accommodate increased instrumentation, most notably the i-MID (intelligent Multi-Information Display) that’s certain to be a home run for the tech fans. It’s one of the easiest systems I’ve ever used—I found my way around its features without having to consult the owner’s manual).

Eco-friendly folk will like the big green Econ button on the left side of the dash. Push it and the Civic becomes even easier on fuel. It’s accomplished by having the transmission upshift sooner and more smoothly and cutting down on air conditioning output.

If you need extra power to pass, push Econ to add some oomph. You will need it, especially with the five-speed automatic transmission hooked up to the 1.8L four-cylinder engine. Power hasn’t changed – it’s still 140 horses at 6,500 rpm and 128 lb.-ft of torque at 4,300 – so unless the revs are way up the band, response is less than brisk.

Hey, you can always revert to green by pushing Econ again.

On the road, occupants are well isolated from the outside world. The car allows little wind or road noise to get inside and the ride is a nice balance of agility and comfort.

When called upon for quick changes in traffic, this version of Civic is up to the task. The steering has been given a more linear feel and it doesn’t transmit quite as much feel for the road as before, but it’s still a fun little car in which to zip around city streets.

With people occupying the rear seats, the trunk is capable of carrying a reasonable amount of stuff…drop the 60/40 split folding rear seatback and there’s enough room for two people to go on a long road trip and take all the gear they need.

In short, Civic is still the team to beat in an increasingly-competitive league.

It’s got game!


  • Year/Make/Model
  • 2012 Honda Civic
  • Price as tested
  • $20,690
  • Trim level
  • EX
  • Freight
  • $1,395
  • Options
  • Automatic transmission ($1,200)
  • EnerGuide fuel economy ratings
  • 7.2 L/100km city; 5.0 L/100km hwy
  • Observed fuel economy
  • 6.7 L/100km over 392 km
  • Warranty (basic)
  • 3 years/ 60,000 km
  • Warranty (powertrain)
  • 5 years/ 100,000 km
  • Competitors
  • Chevrolet Cruze; Ford Focus; Hyundai Elantra; Kia Forte; Mazda3; Nissan Sentra; Toyota Corolla

Strong Points

  • excellent fuel mileage
  • lots of standard equipment
  • handling
  • Value for the price
  • Lots of bang for the amenities buck

Weak Points

  • unremarkable exterior.