Honda: Okay, We Know You Hate The New Civic, So We’ll Redesign It

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2012 Honda Civic sedan

2012 Honda Civic sedan

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In April this year, Honda unveiled what it hoped would be the next generation of car to bear the Honda Civic badge. The ninth major revision of the Civic in its 38-year life, Honda promised better gas mileage, better performance and its all-new Eco-Assist technology to help drivers drive as efficiently as possible. 

But austerity measures at Honda in the financially-challenged years following the globaly-driven sub-prime mortgage disaster meant that the 2012 Civic has been a complete disaster, with the automotive press and consumers steering clear of its bland interior, increased cabin noise and uninspired driving experience.

So much of a disaster in fact, that Honda has announced it will work to release improvements to the car for 2013 -- a full year ahead of its planned mid-cycle update.

“We take feedback seriously, regardless of who it’s from, and we will act accordingly quickly,” John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president told Automotive News.  “I don’t know how much we can do, and how quickly, but the comments of Consumer Reports and our customers have not gone unnoticed. We are appropriately energized.”

2012 Honda Civic sedan

2012 Honda Civic sedan

Enlarge Photo

Mendel was referring to a review of the 2012 Civic in which Consumer Reports said the car “feels insubstantial with a cheap interior”.” After the review, Consumer Reports took the Civic from its “recommended” list of cars to buy for the first time in many years, while the Wall Street Journal said it was “Heavy on the ‘Ick’”.

Consumer Reports and The Wall Street Journal aren’t alone in criticizing the car either. Our sister site The Car Connection gave the 2012 Civic Sedan a lowly 6.8 out of 10, while our own John Voelcker said the dash was “reminiscent of the aged Toyota Corolla, which is distressing for a car that’s brand-new for 2012.”

We have to agree. With base models offering as extras equipment we’d now expect as standard on any car, and a dashboard made of plastic so thin and cheap you’d think you were sitting in a poorly-made Chinese copy of a previous-generation Civic, it’s no wonder Civic sales are dwindling. 

2012 Honda Civic launch, New York Auto Show, April 2011

2012 Honda Civic launch, New York Auto Show, April 2011

Enlarge Photo

Honda officials are remaining tight-lipped about what the updates will include, but we can only hope a better quality interior, more adequate sound insulation, and more standard-fit items are among them. 

We’re glad to see Honda finally responding to six months of criticism, but with over a year before upgrades will be seen, expect current Civics to start dropping in price as many buyers wait for what we hope is a better-built car. 

If you can cope with the cheap interior and noisy cabin, you might just be able to grab a bargain. 


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Comments (4)
  1. Good for Honda for at least admitting its mistake and promising to do better. Of course, what exactly that entails is unknown, so let's see what actually gets changed first.
    Even for a company whose designs had really been bad lately, the Civic and current Accord were pretty bad. I never thought I'd see the day when the Chevy and Ford small cars are better looking than the Honda and Toyota versions. Well, not so much for the Corolla, I guess.
    No excuse for the terrible interior when Honda usually does well here. The road noise thing is a mystery & is the one area where Honda is always worst or near worst in class.
    Get it right next time, Honda! The Civic has been too good for too long.

  2. Well let's all jump on the bandwagon! I have had a 2012 Civic for 3 months now and have put on 7600+ miles mostly highway/
    business.This is the best car I have ever owned,period.It is not a rocket but it is quiet and the stereo is incredible.The leather seats are very comfortable and after driving 10+ hours
    they still retain their comfort.My coupe is very fuel efficient and many people have given their thumbs up on the tight feel the car has.Quiet,tight and efficient with great comfort means a winner for me,period.

  3. The upper layer of the dash block your view, distracts your vision, and is the reason I did not buy a new 2012 civic.

  4. I hope the 2014 Civic has Honda's "Earth dreams" engines, with Direct Injection and Atkinson valve behavior at low throttles. This will help their regular Civics have hybrid MPG on the highway and a small boost of MPG for the ctiy. I think they are the only manufacture putting in pseudo-Atkinson engines in regular non-hybrid cars.
    I hope it will challenge Chevy's diesel Cruze and the VW Passat TDI.

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