There have been few remodels in the compact car segment that have been more eagerly anticipated than the 2012 Honda Civic. And why not? The Civic has been the standard-bearer in the segment for decades, and hopes were high for the new model.
We tested the Civic last month and discovered that while it still offered good fuel economy numbers and the promise of robust reliability and resale value, the 2012 evolution is something of a step back compared to the outgoing model. The interior isn't quite as good, it certainly isn't as much fun to drive as it used to be, and this Honda probably won't turn as many heads as it once did. All while the competition has evolved at a rapid pace.
Consumer Reports was even less kind in expressing its feelings about the 2012 Civic. The consumer advocacy institute removed the Civic from its list of Recommended rides, and Senior Director David Champion went on to say that the refreshed Honda "now ranks near the bottom of its category."
Losing the Recommended tag will likely sting Honda quite a bit, but just because CR is hating on the Civic doesn't mean that everyone feels compelled to follow suit. For instance, Cars.com continues to stand by the Civic, citing "its terrific mileage, comfortable cabin, top safety scores, high resale value and a long track record of reliability." Further, Cars.com adds that the Civic beat out entries like the Ford Focus and Kia Forte in one of its recent comparison tests, and at the same time, the Honda earned a "Top Safety Pick" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
So is the 2012 Civic the star performer Cars.com seems to think it is, or is it closer to the disappointment described by Consumer Reports? The answer to that question will come down to personal choice. That said, for our money, we'd be happier if Honda stuck to the recipe that made the Civic great while leaving more mundane choices to its other competitors.