Friday, December 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Underwhelming Civic does what it’s supposed to do

The 2012 Honda Civic trades its traditional sprightliness for legroom and fuel economy. Courtesy photo

By
August 4, 2011 |

Honda sells around 20,000 Civics each month, second only to their Accord. Since its introduction in 1973, Honda has sold 8.8 million Civics just in the United States alone. With those numbers, the Civic is critical to Honda’s bottom line, and, for 2012, Honda has completely redesigned the ninth-generation Civic.

The Civic enjoys a reputation for being a fun-to-drive compact that is inexpensive, fuel efficient, reliable and durable. The sixth-generation version was perhaps one of the most popular cars for tuners. It was an amazing platform that could do whatever you please. The same car could get 40 mpg or, with some bolt-on parts and an easy engine swap, could race with Porsches and BMWs.

The seventh-generation Civic was not very well received by the enthusiasts mainly due to its suspension design, which many saw as going backwards. The next version received a sexy makeover and an improved suspension. Honda made sure to let the enthusiasts know that they were listening by bringing back the Civic Si. For now, we wanted to test the most popular one, a four-door model with an automatic transmission. We ended up with a Civic EX-L, which is full of premium features.

The newest Civic was developed to improve overall refinement and fuel economy. There are five different Civic models, each with its own personality. Those models include the sporty Si, the well equipped regular sedan, the efficient HF, the Civic Hybrid and the natural-gas-powered Civic CNG.

The exterior styling of the Civic is more aerodynamic than the old car, but it’s hard to tell the difference, unless you put the two cars side by side. The old four-door had one of the best looking taillights, but they’re gone.

Inside, there is more room than before. Although the 2012 sedan is externally the same width and length, it has gained 3.7 cubic feet of interior volume. It also has more shoulder room and hip room. The 2012 Civic is no longer a small car and it has enough room in the back seat for three people, with lots of legroom for the rear passengers.

The trunk is also amazing and has more room than the old car as well. You wonder how it is possible, but Honda made more passenger and cargo room in the same amount of space.  If you need more than 12.5 cubic feet, you can fold the rear seats and get even more. The leather seats in our EX-L felt great, although they were a little slippery and did not provide much lateral support.

The dash layout also raised questions for feeling and looking cheap. Although everything was solid and there were nothing wrong, it just lacked the richness of some of the newer competition. One thing that we really liked about the interior was the side window design which allows you to drive up to freeway speeds with the window down with little buffeting.

Under the hood of the EX-L is a 1.8 liter SOHC all aluminum four-cylinder. The 1.8-liter engine only puts out 140 horsepower, but it’s designed more for efficiency than  high performance. In fact the whole car is designed with efficiency in mind. With a total weight of only about 2,700 pounds, the Civic does not have to move a lot of weight around.

Inside, you can see more evidence of the Honda engineers’ obsession with fuel economy. As in the previous Civic, the dash is in two tiers. There is a large fuel economy gauge and next to it is a multi-purpose screen that can show your trip distance, average fuel economy and miles to empty. Next to the digital speedometer are two color bars that change color depending on your throttle position. Then there is the ECON button located on the dash that tunes the car for maximum fuel economy. With all of this engineering, our EX-L with the five speed automatic transmission was rated at 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. We averaged about 30 mpg.

Driving the Civic in ECON mode is absolutely boring. It feels very sluggish and slow to respond. Climbing minor hills on the freeway feels like a huge hurdle and just wants to put you to sleep. Turning off the ECON mode is better, but the car still isn’t for driving enthusiasts. It’s too bad, because the older Civics were very playful cars even in their base trim. The new Civic has lost some of that playfulness and is more mature. When the road turns twisty, the Civic does not feel frisky and attacking corners becomes a chore.

The competition is getting tougher. The Hyundai Elantra produces more power, gives better fuel economy and is less expensive. But the Civic has more room and based on history will retain its value better. In the real world those differences are very minor and it will come down to which feels better. The Civic is a proven player and feels as tight as a rusted bolt and provides a better driving experience.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    UCD, UC team up to study effects of climate change

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Teens’ goal? Helping other soccer players around the world

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    There’s a plate for you at the Davis Holiday Meal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Police seek suspect in hit-and-run collision

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Help sought in search for runaway Davis teen

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Creative women share food, friendship

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Welcome 2015 with Mumbo Gumbo at a gala bash

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Luminaria display planned in West Davis

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Willett bench is a labor of love

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

    Author! Author! UCD hosts talks, Q and A on Asia-focused books

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Blue Christmas service planned at Davis churches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Libraries will be closed around the holidays

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    See diving ducks at city wetlands tour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Downtown gift cards get a new perk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Meditation, Buddhism classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    A home for the holidays?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Nobel Prize winner will discuss research related to autism

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Traditional carols service is Saturday at St. Martin’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Explorit: Experience nano this spring

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Grandmothers support group meets weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

     
    Soup’s On will benefit NAMI-Yolo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Donate to STEAC at Original Steve’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Forum

    He needs them to pay up

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Kudos to Central Park Gardens donors and volunteers

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

     
    Cheers and Jeers: Have you ever seen the rain?

    By Our View | From Page: A14

    Defeating Ebola involves medicine, and prayers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14 | Gallery

     
    .

    Sports

    Cousins is back in lineup but Kings fall

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys hold off scrappy Rio Linda

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Lady Blue Devils rout an undefeated Liberty squad

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    UCD RB coach Wright heads to Florida; what next?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Aggies nab junior college defensive lineman

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Nostra-Dunning makes his college bowl picks

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Tennyson’s first goal is the difference in Sharks win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name droppers: Trio elected to academy of inventors

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Before Midnight’ screening is tonight

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

    DMTC plans New Year’s Eve party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    Tom Rigney and Flambeau to play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    DMTC announces auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A15

     
    .

    Business

    After 19 years, Alfa Romeo returns

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A16

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics