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

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

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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