In the September, 2011 issue of Consumer Reports, there is an updated evaluation of small sedans and hatchbacks, including the newly redesigned 2012 Honda Civic. Although previously Civics were highly-rated, and although the Civic was the magazine’s “top pick” in that category as recently as 2007, they were…shall we say…very much underwhelmed by the 2012 model, and as a result, they ranked it #11 in a field of 12 vehicles!
For some specifics on where Honda apparently fell down on the job with this new design, here are some excerpts from the article:
“…no longer scores high enough in our testing for us to recommend it…against fresh competition, it feels insubstantial…vague steering weakens its agility and robs it of its fun-to-drive feel…stopping distances are long…ride is choppy…road noise is pronounced…interior feels cheap…body lean sets in early…steering is overly light and devoid of feedback…cost-cutting is apparent throughout the interior, from the cheap headliner and ubiquitous hard plastics to the unlined trunk lid…several gaps and misalignments are obvious”
The only good things that CR had to say about the new Civic were that it had very good fuel economy (the best in the category, actually), and that crash-test results were good.
As to how the other cars in this category were ranked…
1–Hyundai Elantra GLS
2–Nissan Sentra–2.0 SL
4–Toyota Corolla LE (a car that has not seen a total redesign in…a long time!)
5–Kia Forte EX
6–Mazda 3i Touring
7–Chevy Cruze 1LT (1.4T)
8–Ford Focus SE (another new design, and CR confirms low-speed shifting problems mentioned by some folks on this board)
9–Chevy Cruze LS (1.8)
10–Mitsubishi Lancer ES
11–Honda Civic LX
12–VW Jetta SE (2.5)
Only numbers 1-6 were actually recommended for purchase.