2012 Honda Civic

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Key Specs

of the 2012 Honda Civic. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    26-34 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    140-hp, 1.8-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Improved mileage
  • Competent performance
  • Larger backseat (sedan)
  • Si more powerful for 2012
  • Hybrid more refined
  • Forward visibility improved

The Bad

  • Higher mpg costs more
  • Body roll, especially in Si model
  • Main transmissions are five-speeds
  • Some cabin materials
  • Drum rear brakes on lower trims

Notable Features of the 2012 Honda Civic

  • Full redesign for 2012
  • Coupe or sedan body styles
  • Manual or automatic
  • Performance Si version
  • Efficient HF version
  • Hybrid version

2012 Honda Civic Road Test

Kelsey Mays

Sport-compact enthusiasts, I have some bad news: Make a sign, bang some drums, occupy the local auto mall.

The 2012 Honda Civic Si has gone soft.

The Honda Civic's performance version has been around since 1985, and the nameplate's ninth-generation redesign gets the largest Civic engine ever. While it scoots with newfound power and gets better gas mileage, the high-rev pizzazz and handling poise that gave the Si such unique appeal — even as its competitors got faster — are gone. The ninth-generation Honda Civic chose comfort over dynamics, and too much of that rubbed off on the Si.

This review details the Civic Si, which comes as a coupe or sedan with a six-speed manual. Click here to see our full review of the redesigned Civic, and here to compare the 2012 and 2011 Civic Si. We tested the Civic Si coupe.

The Moves
Courtesy of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder cribbed off the Acura TSX, the Civic Si scurries off the line. With 31 pounds-feet more torque than the old 2.0-liter Si, there's enough oomph to get moving in 6th gear above 45 mph or so, no downshifts needed. Pushing the car toward its 7,000-rpm redline reveals little of the high-end rush that the old 2.0-liter unleashed, but most editors found the experience refined enough to enjoy.

Fuel economy improves, too, at an EPA-rated 22/31 mpg city/highway. That's well below the 28/39 mpg that most 1.8-liter Civics get, but it beats last year's 21/29-mpg Si. Like most performance hatches, t...

Sport-compact enthusiasts, I have some bad news: Make a sign, bang some drums, occupy the local auto mall.

The 2012 Honda Civic Si has gone soft.

The Honda Civic's performance version has been around since 1985, and the nameplate's ninth-generation redesign gets the largest Civic engine ever. While it scoots with newfound power and gets better gas mileage, the high-rev pizzazz and handling poise that gave the Si such unique appeal — even as its competitors got faster — are gone. The ninth-generation Honda Civic chose comfort over dynamics, and too much of that rubbed off on the Si.

This review details the Civic Si, which comes as a coupe or sedan with a six-speed manual. Click here to see our full review of the redesigned Civic, and here to compare the 2012 and 2011 Civic Si. We tested the Civic Si coupe.

The Moves
Courtesy of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder cribbed off the Acura TSX, the Civic Si scurries off the line. With 31 pounds-feet more torque than the old 2.0-liter Si, there's enough oomph to get moving in 6th gear above 45 mph or so, no downshifts needed. Pushing the car toward its 7,000-rpm redline reveals little of the high-end rush that the old 2.0-liter unleashed, but most editors found the experience refined enough to enjoy.

Fuel economy improves, too, at an EPA-rated 22/31 mpg city/highway. That's well below the 28/39 mpg that most 1.8-liter Civics get, but it beats last year's 21/29-mpg Si. Like most performance hatches, the car still needs premium gas — a longstanding Si requirement.

The 201-horsepower engine works through a six-speed manual whose light clutch and short throws make banging out shifts a cakewalk. Alas, the engine hangs revs too long, delaying a half-second or so before the tach needle falls back to earth — and blunting the precision of a well-timed rev match. Mash the pedal hard, and the front-drive Si succumbs to some torque steer, but it's not as pronounced as quicker front-drive cars like the MazdaSpeed3.

The MazdaSpeed isn't the only competitor to outrun Honda. Similar cash gets you a smidge-quicker Volkswagen GTI or Mini Cooper S, while the V-6 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro will show an Si driver their taillights by 2nd gear. The Si never packed the most potent motor, but redemption always came in its reflexes.

Until now.

Handling Flubs
Honda doled out the power-steering assist, making the new Si easier to steer at low speeds than just about anything in its class, but you pay for it elsewhere. Attack a corner, and the car feels out of its element, with pitchy body roll and soupier turn-in precision than any performance compact ought to have. Cut the wheel harder, and the nose pushes readily. It's all but impossible to drift the tail, something Honda's CR-Z does so well.

The Si's all-disc brakes — with larger front discs than the regular Honda Civic's — are among the few effective elements, with a linear pedal and strong stopping power. Another bright spot was our test car's Michelin Pilot HX MXM4s P215/45R17 tires, which made a valiant effort to keep the understeer in check. A standard limited-slip differential quells uneven wheelspin, too, but the Si's heavy nose wins the dynamics fight time and again.

Despite its stiffer springs and shocks, the Si cushions bumps well enough, and the wheels stay planted on broken pavement. It's firmer than the regular Civic, with more road noise from the Michelins, but overall ride quality benefits from the redesign's softer tuning. A lot of performance compacts are road-trip nightmares; the Civic Si is viable.

The Inside
Si specifics include aluminum pedals, red gauges and stiffer seat bolsters. Most editors found headroom tight in our test car, whose standard moonroof cuts headroom by 0.4 inches versus lesser, moonroof-free trims. Our staff had differing opinions on the seats, which I found too stiff compared with the non-Si sedan's cushy chairs. Another editor, in contrast, found seat comfort outstanding.

Endemic of all 2012 Civics, cabin quality has fallen — duller dash surfaces, cheaper door panels. A Honda engineer conceded the short shrift on interior quality; faced with widespread criticism, the automaker has promised improvements by the 2014 model year. The last Civic had standout quality; its successor feels midpack at best.

The subwoofer-equipped stereo, shared with the Honda Civic EX coupe, is a high point, featuring a sharp multimedia system that displays album art from your iPod.

Skip the available navigation system; like most Honda systems, it's easy to use but the graphics look 10 years old, and the maps have too few street labels.

Backseat legroom is adequate, as coupes go, but headroom is tight. Trunk volume totals 11.7 cubic feet in the Si coupe and 12.5 cubic feet in the sedan — more than before, but still at the small end of the compact segment.

Safety, Features & Pricing
With top crash-test scores, the 
Honda Civic sedan is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The coupe hasn't been crash-tested, however, and structural differences mean the sedan's scores don't translate. Click here for a full list of safety features, or here for our evaluation of child-safety seats.

Relative to a Civic EX, the Si adds $2,500 for the coupe and $1,900 for the sedan. Like the well-equipped EX, it comes with basic power accessories, a moonroof and a USB/iPod-compatible stereo with Bluetooth phone capability and audio streaming. Other features include larger wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Curiously, the non-Si Civic offers an EX-L trim with heated leather seats, but the Si is only available with cloth upholstery.

High-performance Michelin Exalto PE2 tires and a navigation system are the sole options, bringing the sticker for a loaded Civic Si to around $24,000.

Civic Si in the Market
The Si works as a quicker 
Honda Civic, much like a six-cylinder midsize sedan suits family shoppers who want more passing power. As a factory performance compact, it falls short, especially given the competition. The good news for Honda is that a lot of performance enthusiasts might not care much. The Civic is arguably the most customizable car in recent history, and those who find the Si too dull can have at it with a parts catalog and a lot of free Saturdays.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


2012 Civic Video

Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2012 Honda Civic HF. It competes with the Chevrolet Cruze ECO and Ford Focus SFE.

Latest 2012 Civic Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.3)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.2)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Excellent car in SUV

by SanjulCar from Union on July 18, 2018

This car has lot of boot space which meet my needs. specially when we are going for picnic and I have to take my son bike along. Three people can easily sit comfortably at the back seat. Pick up is ... Read full review

(5.0)

Good looking car and fun to druve

by Djdave1 from Brockton MA on July 11, 2018

Fun coupe. Great sound system. Plenty of space for a coupe. I have great fuel economy,maintaining the car is fairly priced and parts are always available Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Honda Civic currently has 3 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2012 Honda Civic DX

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Honda

Program Benefits

Carfax vehicle history report

  • Limited Warranty

    7 years / 100,000 miles

    1-year/12,000-mile non-powertrain warranty begins after expiration of original warranty (3 years/36,000 miles) or on date sold as certified (no deductible); 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty begins from the original in-service date (no deductible)
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 80,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 182 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Civic received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker