Nearly nine million US customers have purchased a Honda Civic since it was launched as a 1973 model, making it one of the most popular vehicles in recent history, for its affordable price, dependable handling, and gas-sipping fuel efficiency that earned it the “Green Car of the Year” award at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, although that was for the top-rated GX natural gas model. There’s also a hybrid model.
In the conventional gas-powered line, the 2012 Honda Civic comes in your choice of four engines, ranging from a 140-horsepower 1.8 liter VTEC to a 197-horsepower 2.0 liter VTEC. The aero-enhanced Civic HF achieves an estimated highway fuel economy rating of 41 miles per gallon, nearly as good as the Civic Hybrid. The non-enhanced version gets a respectable 28 mpg city, 39 highway.
All 2012 Civics except the Si are equipped with an Eco Assist dashboard display designed to help the driver develop and maintain a fuel-efficient driving style. The dashboard lighting changes from green — efficient — to blue — less efficient — depending on whether you are sipping or sucking fuel. So keeping an eye on the colors will help you throttle and brake more gently and efficiently, with less fuel wasted. background lighting of the segmented vertical bars located directly to the left and the right of the speedometer transition from green (more efficient) to blue (less efficient) in response to driving style. There’s also an ECON Mode that further monitors fuel usage, by providing a bit less torque and adjusting climate control settings to be more efficient.
The 2012 Civic Hybrid also is packed with safety features, including two-row side curtain airbags, dual-stage, multiple-threshold driver’s and front passenger’s airbags, driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags, stability control, and brake assist, all standard — that’s unusual in a vehicle of this size and price. The on-board safety systems helped earn this ninth generation Civic top safety awards from both the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Programand the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
It’s also fun to drive, with electronic steering that improves steering response at low speeds and adds a performance sport feel at at higher speeds. All of this in a package starting at $15,805 for the five-speed manual, up to $23,905 for the fully loaded sedan or sporty coupe. The Civic Hybrid and Civic GX natural gas models are between $24,040 and $237,655.