2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Review
While reviewers are impressed with the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid’s improved fuel economy ratings, they are disappointed with its bland interior and predictable exterior.
In reviews for 2012 Honda Civic models with gasoline-only powertrains, there’s a common thread: Test drivers say the Honda Civic is a good car, but it’s struggling to keep up with competitors that offer nicer interiors, more options and lower base prices. These statements are also true for the Honda Civic Hybrid, but on the bright side, the Civic Hybrid does come with more standard features. For about $24,000, shoppers get Bluetooth, power windows and doors, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel and an AM/FM radio with a CD player and USB connection. In addition to being well-equipped, the Civic Hybrid surpasses many rival small cars with above-average safety and reliability scores.
In preliminary EPA tests, Honda also says that the Civic Hybrid’s fuel economy has increased to 44/44 mpg city/highway, up from the 2011 model’s 40/43 mpg city/highway. These ratings are good, but they come with a high price tag. $24,050 can be lot for an affordable small car, but this price tag is typical of entry level hybrids. The Toyota Prius, for example, starts at about $23,000 and gets 51/48 mpg city/highway – more than any hybrid on the market.
If you are set on a Civic Hybrid, you may be disappointed when you sit inside. Interior space has increased, but despite these adjustments, test drivers say the Civic Hybrid looks a lot like the outgoing model. It even seems cheap and bland compared to less expensive cars like the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze.
Despite its faults, reviewers find that the Civic Hybrid is a good commuter car, but its high price, bland interior, and in some cases, lower fuel economy ratings make rivals more attractive. The "Civic is a solid, laudable update of a classy compact, undercut by missing features, road noises, hybrid shudders and strained-feeling gas engine," says USA TODAY.
Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, car shoppers may find that there are a limited number of Civic Hybrid models available. That’s because the Honda Civic Hybrid is produced in Japan. The industry is expected to recover this fall, and experts suggest waiting until then to buy. You’ll be more likely to get the car you want at a good price.
Other Cars to Consider
There aren’t many affordable small hybrids that compete with the 2012 Civic Hybrid. If you’re after something super fuel efficient, try the Toyota Prius. It’s a midsize car, but costs about $23,000, which is about $1,000 less than the Civic Hybrid. It also has much higher EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 51/48 mpg city/highway.
For a hybrid with better performance, try the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It makes 166 horsepower, 56 more than the Honda Civic Hybrid. In addition to being more powerful, the Sonata Hybrid is classified as a midsize sedan, which means it has more interior space than the Civic Hybrid.
If you don’t want a hybrid because performance is bland, but don’t want a Prius or Sonata Hybrid because they’re too big, consider the Volkswagen Golf TDI. This two- or four-door hatchback runs on clean diesel fuel. The two-door model starts at about $23,300, and the four-door model starts at about $24,000. According to the EPA, both models get 30/42 mpg city/highway with either a manual or automatic transmission.
Details: 2012 Honda Civic
The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, and reviewers talk about the Civic Hybrid’s improved fuel economy ratings most. It gets 44/44 mpg city/highway, up from the 40/43 mpg city/highway the 2011 model got, according to Honda.
The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid starts at about $24,000 and has a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine that’s paired with an electric motor and a Continuously Variable Transmission.
Because the 2012 gasoline based Honda Civic and the Honda Civic Hybrid have identical interiors, this review uses reviews from the gasoline version. The performance section, however, does not because these models have different powertrains.
- “In the meantime, the 2012 Civic offers plenty of space, competitive fuel economy and a drive that's entertaining enough to keep you from going flat-line on your way to the office. It's a recipe that's kept Honda on the right side of history for years and it doesn't look to be failing any time soon." -- Autoblog
- "Aside from being quieter and more efficient, the new Civic doesn’t represent improvement as we define it." -- Car and Driver
- "There's no arguing that the new Civic is better and remains a solid, dependable automobile that's now more fuel efficient. But Honda, which could always be counted on to deliver Toyota-like reliability in cars that we actually wanted to drive, seems to be veering away from that mission." -- Popular Mechanics
- "The Civic used to be the classiest compact economy car on the market. Now it matches the competition but doesn't stand out in most respects, and maybe not at all once you factor in its relatively high price." -- Bloomberg
- "Just shy of its 40th anniversary, the 2012 Honda Civic returns with a more flowing, if amorphous, exterior design and 40-mpg fuel economy to match revamped rivals like the Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra. But the bargain-bin interior and reshaped metal over a carry-over chassis give the appearance of an automaker stalling for time, content to keep pace in a field it once led." -- Edmunds