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Consumer Reports created quite a stir on the Internets when it announced that it would no longer recommend the Honda Civic. The reason? The consumer advocacy institution cites issues such as the brakes, fit and finish and sporty handling all diminishing for the 2012 model year. In other words, the Civic isn't as good as the model it replaces.

Now CR is taking its criticism of Honda one step further, pointing out that several recent model updates have fallen short of CR's expectations. The Civic received an overall score of 78 back in 2006, but the new model scores only 61. The Pilot received a smaller drop from 2005 to 2009, going from a score of 79 to a 74. The Odyssey, too, took a hit, as the 2011 model scored an 83, down from the previous model's 91. Those models all show a clear decline in scores, but all-new models have fared even worse. The Insight managed to receive a 54, while the CR-Z could only muster a score of 57.

The reasons for these declines tend to correlate from model to model. Brakes, interior materials, steering feel and fit and finish tend to be some of the biggest reasons. Even worse for enthusiasts is that CR's testing shows that driving excitement (as nebulous as that term may be...) has diminished.

The results of recent Consumer Reports testing shows what we've been hearing for a while now. Honda appears to be struggling with new models, with few signs of progress on the horizon. CR points out that even the mighty Accord, which routinely finishes second in sedan sales, is now playing second fiddle to the Ford Fusion when it comes to reliability, ride and handling and cabin noise.

We want to know what you think. Has Honda design taken a step back? Let us know in the poll below.

Has Honda's design taken a step backward?
Yes 18223 (92.1%)
No 1556 (7.9%)



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 220 Comments
      mchlrus1
      • 3 Years Ago
      A Maytag version of Honda would be sweet, Just like F Series has Harley edition.... I could toast my toast in the car......although I'd forget which one was the car.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mchlrus1
        [blocked]
      Tripointkid
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honda needs to develop the next gen NSX for a healthy injection of passion, creativity, and competition.
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Tripointkid
        The bean counters shelved that. Was supposed to be RWD and have Honda's first V8 engine too, but we can kiss that goodbye.
      David
      • 3 Years Ago
      While agree about CR's observation of Honda's decline, I find CR holds each car behind a "Family of Four" lens, and any car, even if purposely not designed for that demographic, will fail in CR's eyes. To wit, the CR-Z had no chance whatsoever.
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        @David
        Now that I think about it, that's a brilliant observation. CR has long bashed the Wrangler, saying it rode badly and got horrible gas mileage. Bashing a Wrangler for driving badly is like bashing the Camaro/Mustang/Challenger for not being quiet enough. Wrangler owners will gladly give up the on-road manners to be able to obliterate any imaginable off-road obstacle, and the pony car owners will gladly give up the quiet ride to hear that American V8 roar behind them. The appliance lovers at CR just can't wrap their arms around these points.
      CarCrazy24
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honda used to be a great alternative to the Toyota/Nissan norm. Their cars had naturally aspirated engines that would rev all day, slick manual shift, and great mileage too. I even heard they were developing a diesel, what ever happened to that? I wish they still had a true sports car, as the S200 was the last pure sports car available on the market besides the Miata. Sadly the Honda Fit is the only car in the lineup that is closest to the original Honda well engineered and keep it simple formula. I do think that CR has gone a bit overboard with the Honda hate. I will say though, until Honda leads the way with light weight cars that are driver oriented, great fuel economy, good steering feel, and excellent exterior design, they will be lost to the American market for a long time. I love Honda cars and I hope to see them get back in good standing soon!
        billfrombuckhead
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CarCrazy24
        I'm a MOPAR fan and the new Dodge Alfa Romeo Guilietta variant will crush this commodity appliance that has evolved into feces, love that!
          NightFlight
          • 3 Years Ago
          @billfrombuckhead
          Ahhh, I see that you are still at it with your moronic pro-Chrysler comments The Guilietta will be absolutely gorgeous, but it isn't going to be reliable. Not a chance.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CarCrazy24
        [blocked]
        mchlrus1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CarCrazy24
        I do think that CR has gone a bit overboard with the American car hate. They're reputation was destroyed by them.
          mchlrus1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mchlrus1
          I know what people are going to say 'They never had a reputation'...well, they do now but they have to work extra hard to build it up thanks to them, and previous issues
      bobmarley
      • 3 Years Ago
      Honda is slipping but they are being criticized twice as hard as for their latest Civic due to the mediocre redesign and the fact that all the competition has stepped up their game x10 with their new models. The Civic was great up to 2000, then the seventh gen from 01-05 was nothing special, then the eigth gen from 06-11 was a great...but now we get this ninth gen Civic and its back to nothing special (but I really dont think its as bad as all the reviews make it out to be)
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        @bobmarley
        I could understand them taking some time off from fun designs and just relying on the Accord and Civic to help ride out the Great Recession, but now I think it's time for them to pull a Chrysler and give us a rapid fire onslaught of redesigned or new models (a bunch are getting long in the tooth now anyway) and bring the excitement back to Honda and get the CRX and 90's Civic purists back on the lot.
      BG
      • 3 Years Ago
      Don't be too harsh. I recently drove a rental Civic (2010 model?), and it was dramatically better than a rental Corolla I drove a few months earlier. No comparison: the Corolla felt ponderous and heavy and crashed over even minor road irregularities. You know how a 3 or 5-series BMW is compliant over bumps but yet steers precisely and immediately? Somehow Toyota engineered exactly the opposite in the Corolla. But the Civic was reasonably fun to drive.
        mchlrus1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BG
        Can't compare two pieces of crap.
        XT6Wagon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BG
        This was my complaint about the Honda Pilot I rode in. A Lincon Towncar is less nautical in the handling, and yet the pilot was super stiff on tiny bumps in the road. Somehow the exact opposite of what one would desire in a car.
      jaazani
      • 3 Years Ago
      CBRRRRRRRRRR
      Matt Clare
      • 3 Years Ago
      My last two cars have been off-lease Acura Els/CSX (Canadian Civics dipped in gold). Great cars, but even when I bought the used 2007 CSX in 2009 and I of course had the-car-I-just-bought-is-great-and-you-can't-convince-me-otherwise feeling, I told my friends "don't buy a new one, it's the same car! Get a used one or get a new Mazda3 if you want the same attributes." I had no idea that in 2009 when I was telling everyone to get a used Civic/CSX because it was the same thing, I had no idea that advice would extend to the next model generation! I want to ask how did Honda let this happen, but then again, failing to innovate seems pretty easy to do.
      Synderesis
      • 3 Years Ago
      I long for the day when Honda will bring us goodies like they used to like with the S2000 and NSX. Of course, things are much worse here than in the European/JDM market since they still get the Civic Type R which is way cooler than the Civic Si we get here, but it's still a far departure from before. I realize sports car shoppers are a minority, but even so, the rest of their lineup is also falling and I think the loss of any sports car is a symbolic representation of the loss of passion in the design philosophy, something which they used to have to a great degree as shown in their trek into F1. I own an S2000 now but there's absolutely nothing they have in their current line up that I would even consider. I wouldn't mind owning an NSX one day though. Even if it's not that quick, even to this day it's absolutely beautiful.
      rally25rs
      • 3 Years Ago
      I find it hard to vote yes/no on this one. I think Honda, especially the Civic, has taken a step sideways, not backwards. My wife and I currently own an '87 Civic Si and an '07 Civic, which replaced a '97 civic. I can say hands down that the '97 and '07 civics aren't even comparable. they are not the same model. The '87 and '97 civics are incredibly fun to drive. They aren't very quiet, they aren't very refined, but they were budget cars that had a fair number of features,and were very very reliable. The '07 Civic on the other hand, is very quiet, and very very boring to drive. There is practically no feedback from anything, not the steering, suspension, clutch, shifter... all feel lifeless. But the car has very nice fit and finish, great features, and feels very refined, quiet, solid. Its entirely opposite of what classic civics where. The 2012 is also uglier than the previous models. Someone at Honda needs to put some life back in that model. Save the quiet lifeless boredom for the Accord!
      rsxvue
      • 3 Years Ago
      Many people are disappointed because they know what Honda is capable of. Like someone mentioned before, Honda used to the the BMW of the affordable consumer market but everything's gone downhill. Wish they'd go back to their roots and give us enjoyable, well-engineered cars that handle and perform as well as they look. Seems like that's an impossible thing for a lot of manufacturers to do these days and this is especially true for Honda/Acura. They really need a halo car that pushes the engineering envelope (LFA?) and transfer the technologies from that car onto their consumer cars. This is what the NSX did for Honda in the 90's.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 3 Years Ago
        [blocked]
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