Industry Staple Grows Up, Forgets How To Have Fun Have you ever stood around, nervously checking your wristwatch as a friend or significant other cycled through their entire wardrobe trying to find the perfect outfit? If your experience were anything like ours, they probably started with a perfectly acceptable look and finished with an ensemble almost exactly the same as the first one, albeit painstakingly composed of entirely different pieces of clothing. Most people would never notice the difference without the subtle changes being pointed out to them. The 2012 Honda Civic sedan's new duds are kind of like that. Honda stylists have taken great pains to tug and pull at virtually every bit of clothing their new Civic is wearing. In spite of this, the car looks largely the same as its eighth-generation predecessor, a model that first bowed in 2005. This, despite the fact that the wheelbase has been cropped from 106.3 inches to 105.1 (you'd be hard-pressed to notice unless you had a tape measure handy), a change that helps make it the shortest car in its class. This all-new-yet-same-as-it-ever-was judgment isn't really the slight it might seem – the 2006 Civic was a groundbreaking design, and its slippery form and delicate features have worn well over the years. At the very least, this new model is still unlikely to be confused for anything else on the road. Honda has determinedly avoided the trend toward oversized headlamps and gaping air intakes, and has similarly shied away from the big-pillar look in favor of improved visibility and cockpit airiness. Even still, we can't help but feel this new Civic has gone a bit conservative – particularly in the rear, where distinctive eagle's head taillamps have given way to more traditional fixtures. Much the same can be said for the interior, which is actually all-new but looks largely the same as the 2011 model. That means drivers are greeted by an evolution of the Civic's love/hate two-tier dashboard that puts the front-and-center digital speedometer on a different plane than the analog rev counter and secondary gauges. It's still a configuration that takes a few moments to get used to, but all gauges are easy to read, even in bright sunlight. The digital speedo is flanked on the right by a crisp new five-inch Multi-Information Display (i-MID) that displays everything from stereo information to Bluetooth status and trip computer functions with pleasingly high-resolution graphics. You can even set your own wallpaper background. (Side note: Although our EX test subject didn't arrive with GPS, we've driven other models so equipped and the new i-MID's resolution makes the aging main navigation screen look decidedly yestertech). The Civic's center stack is canted dramatically toward the driver and dominated by the audio controls with an easy layout and Playskool-sized buttons. The head-unit is a bit odd in that it doesn't have its own display – you have to look up and over at i-Mid for information. We got used to this after memorizing the …
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|MPG||28 City / 39 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||140 @ 6500 rpm|
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