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As is generally the case, we once again find ourselves swooning over the European Honda Civic hatchback that made its world debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. The new-for-2012 North American-spec Civic hasn't exactly resonated well with us (or the rest of the media), and while we haven't had the chance to drive the new Euro Civic, our thought is that it simply must be better than the milquetoast slab of economy car that we've been served here in the United States.

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Honda has recently taken a few shots directly across the bow, fired from the heavy guns of Consumer Reports. First, CR stated that the 2012 Civic had lost its Recommended Rating. Shortly after that, Consumer Reports went for the knockout by releasing a piece that chronicled what it describes as a decline in Honda's competitiveness. That wouldn't feel good for any automaker, but how does it feel if you just signed on as the new head of marketing?

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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.

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If you were counting down the days until you could build and price your very own 2012 Honda Civic, you can put away the fingers and toes. The Civic configurator is now online, and there are seven models and up to six different trim levels from which to choose.

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Civic Concept Sketch – Click above for high-res image

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The natural gas-burning Honda Civic GX has been around since 1998, and even though the Environmental Protection Agency anointed it the cleanest internal combustion vehicle in history, sales have been less than brisk.

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The natural gas-burning Honda Civic GX has been around since 1998, and even though the Environmental Protection Agency anointed it the cleanest internal combustion vehicle in history, sales have been less than brisk.

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2012 Honda Civic spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

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