2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

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Key Specs

of the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid. Base trim shown.

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 Hybrid

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

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Road Test

David Thomas

If you're shopping for a hybrid based only on the efficiency of its powertrain, the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid falls short.

Honda has redesigned the entire Civic lineup for 2012, including its hybrid model, which I detail below. For a review of the standard Civic lineup, go here. For the high-powered Si model, go here.

Rated at 44 mpg combined, the Civic Hybrid falls well short of the leader in the segment — the Toyota Prius, which gets 50 mpg combined — despite having a higher starting price.

Shoppers who want a Civic that happens to be a hybrid will be the ones interested in this model, and even then I would advise them to take another look at the traditional gasoline version of the sedan.

Hybrid Powertrain
The Civic's hybrid powertrain is quite good at highway speeds, offering lots of acceleration no matter the demands — passing a semi-truck or simply cruising for long distances. The Civic Hybrid combines electric and gas power for maximum effect; the engine doesn't stop turning when in motion, as in most hybrids, but Honda says the electric motor provides all the motive power in some situations, up to 43 mph.

The steering is just as sharp as the standard Civic's, but in stop-and-go traffic the hybrid system is a drain on driver satisfaction.

The start-stop function that cuts off engine power when the car is at a complete stop transitions with a lurch, both when braking and when starting up again from a stop. At times, it does so with a ra...

If you're shopping for a hybrid based only on the efficiency of its powertrain, the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid falls short.

Honda has redesigned the entire Civic lineup for 2012, including its hybrid model, which I detail below. For a review of the standard Civic lineup, go here. For the high-powered Si model, go here.

Rated at 44 mpg combined, the Civic Hybrid falls well short of the leader in the segment — the Toyota Prius, which gets 50 mpg combined — despite having a higher starting price.

Shoppers who want a Civic that happens to be a hybrid will be the ones interested in this model, and even then I would advise them to take another look at the traditional gasoline version of the sedan.

Hybrid Powertrain
The Civic's hybrid powertrain is quite good at highway speeds, offering lots of acceleration no matter the demands — passing a semi-truck or simply cruising for long distances. The Civic Hybrid combines electric and gas power for maximum effect; the engine doesn't stop turning when in motion, as in most hybrids, but Honda says the electric motor provides all the motive power in some situations, up to 43 mph.

The steering is just as sharp as the standard Civic's, but in stop-and-go traffic the hybrid system is a drain on driver satisfaction.

The start-stop function that cuts off engine power when the car is at a complete stop transitions with a lurch, both when braking and when starting up again from a stop. At times, it does so with a rather audible clunking sound that isn't very reassuring. The engine, too, seems louder than the two non-hybrid Civics I've tested. Other Cars.com editors agreed about the noise and the annoyance of the start-stop function.

The regenerative brakes, which serve to recharge the battery, don't react in a linear fashion. While this is similar to many hybrids of the past few years, including the Prius, hybrids from Hyundai and Kia have brakes that are more typical and linear.

Observed mileage was anywhere from the high 30s to the high 40s. During extensive testing with passengers and cargo, it returned 46.6 mpg on the highway while driving between 70 and 75 mph. Those numbers fell to 37.7 mpg in heavy commuter traffic.

Civic Features
One reason you might pick the Civic Hybrid is its generous standard equipment for the car's starting price of $24,050. Standard features include a crisp LCD screen near the speedometer, Bluetooth, USB iPod connectivity, cruise control, and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with stereo controls.

The cabin is light and airy with lots of space not only for the driver, but also for front and rear passengers. I was able to fit my two children's safety seats in the back with a little room to spare. (See the Civic Car Seat Check.)

However, you do lose trunk space due to the large hybrid battery. There's only 10.7 cubic feet in there, while the standard Civic sedan's trunk is 12.5 cubic feet. (The Hybrid doesn't come in coupe form.)

Safety
The 2012 Honda Civic has not yet been crash-tested by the U.S. government, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated it a Top Safety Pick, its highest score. You can see a full list of standard safety features here.

Honda Civic Hybrid in the Market
While there are better hybrids and better Civics on the market, I suppose the Civic Hybrid does have a role for shoppers who specifically want a Civic and a hybrid. However, I don't think that shopper base is particularly large, and I believe most shoppers would prefer the gas-only Civic HF, a high-mileage model that starts nearly $5,000 less than the hybrid — and it gets 41 mpg on the highway and has better trunk space and little compromise in terms of driving experience.

Send David an email  



2012 Civic Hybrid Video

Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid.

Latest 2012 Civic Hybrid Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.2)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.4)

Latest Reviews

(3.0)

If vanilla were a car....

by Jerry Jackson from Knoxville TN on July 3, 2018

From purchase in 2016 I have put 45,000 miles on the car. When i purchased the vehicle, price was a strong selling point as well as the advertised MPG. So far I have replaced the AC condenser and ... Read full review

(1.0)

electrical problem

by JC from peoria, IL on April 19, 2018

I have owned this car for 2 years as second owner. it was initially very nice with small inconsistency on stop and start. After moving to IL from NC, where has colder weather, the problem starts to ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid has not been tested.

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 Hybrid 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