Read Honda Civic 2012 text version


Redesigned for model-year 2012, this ninth generation Honda Civic is offered in sedan and coupe body styles. At the outset it was supposed to be larger but Honda had a change of heart, which delayed its arrival. All dimensions are practically the same as before except wheelbase, which shrinks 3 cm in the sedan and 2.8 cm in the coupe. Despite the shorter wheelbase, the sedan's interior volume increases by about 4%. The sedan is offered in six versions: DX, LX, EX, EX-L, Si and Hybrid. Interior and trunk The Civic is relatively low, which complicates entry and exit. The new, lighter seats are comfortable but they would be so if the cushion angle could be adjusted and if the angle of the backrest adjusted more precisely. The driving position is good but again, more adjustability would make it better. The seats do not have lumbar adjustment. Leg room is good, but with the sunroof, head room is rather tight for tall people. Rear access is more difficult because the roof is lower at the back and the doors are narrow. Exit is further complicated by the lack of space between the B-pillars and the seat cushion. The bench seat is comfortable for two, but head room is very limited for people of above-average height. The 60/40-split seatback (one-piece in the DX) folds nearly flat, but about 8 cm higher than the floor of the trunk. The trunk opening behind the seat is narrow and low. Trunk capacity is adequate, with a good-sized opening. However, the hinges can crush items placed underneath them. Convenience and safety features Cabin finish is impeccable. The quality of materials is good in general, but there are lots of hard plastics. As is often the case with Honda products, road noise is always present. There are several good storage spaces. The sun visors do not have an extension and do not slide on their supports. Gauges and controls are well laid out. Several controls and the glove compartment are not lighted at night. Climate control is efficient, but in Heat/Defrost, the system sends more air to the floor than to the windshield, especially on the driver's side, even at the top (twelfth) blower speed. This year, for the first time, all Civics except the DX come with an i-MID (for intelligent Multi-Information Display) screen, which displays audio, trip and navigation functions, and other customizable driver information.

Photo: Honda

The windshield is deeply recessed from the front roof pillars, which allows snow to accumulate and could force the windshield wiper motor. Safety equipment includes six airbags (dual front, side and curtain), four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake assist, stability control, good headlights, head restraints at all seating positions, front seats designed to reduce the risk of severe neck injury, and the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure for better protection in the event of a collision with a higher or lower vehicle. The designers also reduced the width of the A-pillars to improve visibility. Outward visibility is good in all directions except on a three-quarter-rear angle and straight back, making it difficult to judge distances when backing up. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Civic a Good rating, its highest, for roof strength, driver protection in a frontal offset impact and all-occupant protection in a side or rear collision. Engine and transmission The 1.8-litre 4-cylinder was refined in order to reduce friction, fuel consumption and emissions while still developing 140 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque. Improvements include connecting rods that are 13% lighter, refinements to the i-VTEC and injection systems, more efficient intake manifold thanks to curved, rather than straight intake ports, etc. A first from Honda for a non-hybrid engine, this four-cylinder also gets an ECON driving mode that reduces fuel consumption by adjusting the functioning of the throttle, automatic transmission and air conditioner. Fuel consumption is expected to drop to 7.2 L/100 city and 5.0 L/100 km highway, down from 8.2 L/100 km and 5.7 L/100 km respectively. ECON mode is not for people in a hurry, and you have to keep a heavy foot on the gas pedal just to keep up with traffic, which brings up questions about fuel economy. In normal mode, acceleration and pickup are adequate, but no more. The engine runs smoothly. The five-speed automatic transmission always functions very smoothly. Gears are well spaced, and the vehicle can be driven off in second. Because of a lack of resistance in the shift lever, you can end up in D3 when you want to shift to D4. Asked why a six-speed gearbox is available only for the Si, the chief engineer explained that the format and efficiency of the current transmissions meet the objectives of his team. This automatic transmission is equipped with a system that uses the engine coolant to heat or cool the transmission fluid. On the road The platform is essentially the same as before but lighter and stiffer thanks to a more abundant use of high strength steel. The engineers concentrated their efforts on reducing the transmission of noise and vibration into the passenger compartment. Bolted to this platform is a fully independent suspension that provides a very smooth ride on all types of pavement, thanks to a suave mix of suppleness and firmness. The Civic handles like a much larger vehicle. Road holding is good but not as incisive and sportive as before, with more lean in turns. Overall the Civic drives with a solid feel. The 2012 Civic is the first Honda in North America to use the Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS) system that works with the stability control system to maintain vehicle stability during cornering or braking on slippery surfaces. When instability is detected in such conditions, the system automatically initiates steering inputs to prompt the driver to steer in the correct direction. The system can, for example, help the driver turn the wheel to the right

degree so as to mitigate over- or understeer or to maintain a stable trajectory in case of hard braking on two different road surfaces. The electric-assisted steering system is well-tuned, stable, precise and relatively quick. It transmits little road sensation. Its steering circle is small. In normal driving, braking is efficient and resists well to fade. Emergency braking distances are a bit long. Inspection An inspection at a CAA-Quebec technical inspection centre showed that the Civic rests on a sturdy platform. Rustproofing is not applied everywhere, but joints are sealed. Protection of the fuel filler pipe extends to only half its length. Debris could get through the openings under the front bumper and end up damaging the air-conditioner condenser. There are two hooks in front and one in back to attach a canoe or other cargo more securely to the roof. The Civic has a full-size spare tire and wheel. The engine's overhead camshafts are chain driven. Conclusion To make the Civic more accessible to buyers in the 17-34 age group, Honda not only lowered prices, it added more standard equipment. There are no radical changes; with this new generation of Civics, it's more about evolution and refinement. When compared with progress achieved by the competition, it will be interesting to see if consumers think that's enough. PROS: smooth ride, fuel efficiency, smooth automatic transmission, fit and finish, handling, good road holding CONS: road noise, access (especially for tall people), small opening (seatback folded), sun visors without extensions, visibility when backing up, long emergency braking distances 2012 HONDA CIVIC sedan (except Hybrid) Engine: 16-valve, 1.8-litre 4-cylinder; 16-valve, 2.4-litre 4-cylinder Horsepower: 140 hp at 6,500 rpm; 201 hp at 7,000 rpm Torque: 128 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm; 170 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm Transmission: 5 or 6-speed manual; 5-speed automatic Suspension: fully independent Brakes: disc/disc (DX and LX: rear drum) Wheelbase: 267 cm Length: 450.4 cm Width: 175.2 cm Height: 143.5 cm Weight: 1,190 to 1,373 kg Tires: P195/65R15; P205/55R16; P215/45R17 Maximum towing capacity: 454 kg Airbags: dual front, two side and two curtain airbags Fuel consumption wit 1.8-litre engine and automatic transmission Natural Resources Canada rating: City: 7.2 L/100 km (39 mpg) Highway: 5.0 L/100 km (56 mpg) Test result: 7.3 L/100 km (38.5 mpg) Test temperature: 12°C to 28°C CO2 emissions: 2,856 kg/20,000 km

Fuel tank capacity: 50 litres Fuel requirement: regular grade gasoline Acceleration: 0­100 km/h: 9.9 seconds 60­100 km/h: 7.7 seconds

Competition: Chevrolet Cruze, Dodge Caliber, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Forte, Mazda3, Mitsubishi Lancer, Nissan Versa, Scion xD, Subaru Impreza, Suzuki SX4, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta Warranty:

Full basic coverage: 3 years/60,000 km Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km Surface corrosion: 3 years/unlimited km Perforation damage: 5 years/unlimited km Emissions control system: 3 years/60,000 km (full coverage); 8 years/130,000 km (catalytic converter, electronic control module, onboard diagnostic system).

Factory replacement parts: Rear bumper: $729 Front brake disc: $90 Brake pads: $75 Front shock absorber: $134 Front fender: $248 Price according to trim level (freight and preparation included): DX: $16,385 LX: $18,885 EX: $20,885 EX-L: $24,785 Si: $27,385 Main options: Automatic transmission: $1,200 Price as tested: $22,085 Dealers: Quebec: 61 Canada: 204

© August 2011. All rights reserved, CAA-Quebec


Honda Civic 2012

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