competition coming from the likes of the 2011
Chevrolet Cruze, 2012
Ford Focus, and 2011
Hyundai Elantra, Honda has to deliver quite an impressive package to keep
on its toes against the reinvigorated competition.
Thankfully, on the powertrain side, Honda has responded
quite well with the new Civic. The standard Civic coupe and sedan models
achieve 39 mpg on the highway (3 mpg higher than the 2010 model). For those
looking for even greater fuel economy, a Civic HF will be offered (it shares
its bodywork with the Civic Hybrid) and get an impressive 41 mpg on the
As before, those looking to get the best fuel economy out of
Honda's compact will have to step up to the Civic Hybrid. This model now
achieves an EPA combined rating of 45 mpg and uses a lithium-ion battery pack
that replaces the previous NiMH unit.
For the "boy racers" out there, the Civic Si coupe
and sedan are back, this time with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder instead of the
previous 2.0-liter engine. Horsepower remains the same at 200, but torque has
increased to a still meager 170 lb-ft. Despite the larger engine, EPA highway
ratings have increased by two to 31 mpg.
Interestingly, Honda has not released EPA city ratings for
any of the new Civics. Also of note is the fact that Civic models with an
automatic transmission are still stuck with five gears when most of the
competition has already moved to 6-speed automatics. However, with the fuel
economy numbers that the 2012 Civic is putting out, this is a tiny knock
against the vehicle.
"The Civic is the only model in the industry that can
deliver on all fronts – fuel economy, sporty performance, smart packaging,
alternative fuel and long-term value," said John Mendel, executive VP of
sales for American Honda Motor Company. "For the ninth-generation Civic,
we are emphasizing improved fuel economy across the board, from the hybrid
sedan to the sporty Si model."
But while the fuel economy numbers for the new Civic look
promising, the vehicle looks like a warmed over 2011 model on the outside and
even moreso on the inside. The interior also looks rather bland and dated in comparison
to its fresh competition.
Honda hasn't released pricing for the new 2012 Civic yet,
but we're sure to learn more in the coming weeks.
quote: Prius-beating hybrid design
quote: A hybrid isn't suited for economic highway driving due to the fact it's running on a relatively small petrol engine