Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $24,205 (Base Price of Honda Civic starts @ $16,575.00)
Major Standard Features: 15-inch tires; power windows; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; side curtain airbags; automatic off headlights only; ABS (Anti-Lock Brake Systems), VSA (Vehicle Stability Assistance); EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and a Multi-Information Display (MID) Center which includes an average fuel economy indicator, a clock, a digital odometer, digital trip meters, a maintenance reminder system and a miles-to-empty indicator.
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter/140-hp (a 2.4-liter is available in the Si model)
Standard Fuel Mileage: 28-city/39-hwy
Competition: 2011 Chevy Cruze LTZ, 2012 Ford Focus Titanium, 2011 Hyundai Elantra Limited, 2011 Kia Forte Sedan EX, 2011 Mazda3 Touring and the 2011 Toyota Corolla LE.
What’s New: The ninth-generation Civic has been redesigned for the 2011 model year. Besides a modestly restyled exterior, the compact provides a roomier interior, a new comprehensive Multi-Information Display (MID) center, a satellite-link navigation system and two re-engineered powertrains.
Honda, like a number of other compacts, is redefining the segment, blurring the lines between the compact and midsize segments, as we found with the living room like comfortable leather seats we experienced in the top of the line EX-L model.
In addition to the roomier interior, our upscale Civic was equipped with 16-inch wheels, a power sunroof, heated front seats, a USB Audio Interface, a Bluetooth Hands Free Link, a XM satellite radio subscription, a premium quality 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with 6 speakers including MP3/WMA playback and a navigation system with voice recognition.
Moreover, the Civic took a page from its luxury brand, Acura, offering real-time traffic data. Not only does this useful data help to steer you around traffic congestion, it’s a rarity to find this type of data in a compact. Furthermore, to improve the fuel-efficiency in most of the Civic line up, an Eco Assist feature is now available in the 2012 model just like in Honda’s hybrids. Conversely, don’t expect this fuel saver feature in the supercharged SI model.
Cons: While the Civic continues to build upon its history of offering an affordable, reliable vehicle, its conservative styling doesn’t quite push the envelope like the redesigned curvaceous, well-appointed Hyundai Elantra Limited.
Also we were a little disappointed that the Civic didn’t offer a back-up camera, a power’s driver seat, lighted visor vanity mirrors, an electronic day/night mirror or a sliding front center armrest like some of its competitors. The new Elantra also offers a heated rear seat too, the only vehicle in this segment. Now while we realize this was a minor gripe of ours, it won’t affect those folks who are die hard Honda fans.
And besides the styling and some of the luxury amenities we’ve come to expect in this current-generation of compacts, we found the nav system to be quite irritating, while attempting to access directions. Due to our frustration level with trying to locate a street, we immediately turned to our easy-to-use smartphone to access real-time directions.