2012 Honda Civic Series II Sedan Road Test
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 5 December 2012
It's time again for another two week testing extravaganza, this time it's the 2012 Honda Civic Sedan Series II.
Those two words "Honda Civic", automatically bring to mind descriptions such as: Reliability, Value, Comfort and Efficiency. It takes more than just a great car to bring such a positive aura with a brand. It take's consistent great cars over a number of years. Ala, The Honda Civic.
The 2012 Civic Sedan Series II range includes the base model Civic VTi, Civic VTi-L, Civic VTi-LN, Civic Sport and Civic IMA. We kicked off our 2-week road test journey with the VTi-LN and wrapped it up with the base model Civic VTi. Let's take a closer look at these two Series II Sedans..
First up on our Honda adventure was the Civic VTi-LN, a Luxury model that's a slight bump up from the Vti-L, thanks to the addition of satellite navigation. Equipped with 5-Speed Automatic Transmission, the VTi-LN does what it intends to do very well.
That is, get you from A to B efficiently, easily and in comfort. I won't pretend to claim that the 2012 Honda Civic is the most fun to drive car on the market, it isn't. It oozes comfort and efficiency, not "breath-taking fun".
Week 2 arrived and we settled into the base model VTi fitted with 5-speed manual transmission. Surprisingly, the VTi is the only variant that comes with a 5-speed manual transmission option.
The base model VTi is a welcome addition to the range and priced at just over $20,000, is great value for money. At around $6,000 cheaper than the VTi-LN it is a great alternative for car buyers who can cope without a few luxuries.
Despite Honda claiming that the 2012 Civic has, "undergone significant engineering development, with increased fuel efficiency, smoother handling and improved driving dynamics", the 2012 Series II drives like any Civic you may have previously driven. It's smooth, refined and very capable, yet lacks that extra grunt to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Hitting corners and both the VTi and VTi-LN held their shape and line consistently. Superb drivers positioning enables the driver to maintain total control of the vehicle at all times; Sweeping turns and open highways both.
There was a slight discrepancy between our fuel consumption figures, and those published by Honda. For the base model manual VTi, Honda claims fuel consumption to be 6.8L per 100kms. We notched up 8.7 litres. Whilst for the VTi-LN, Honda claim 6.7L per 100kms, we noted 9.1 litres.
Realistic figures would suggest somewhere in the middle as, I admit, we did flick off the Econ button more often than not. Naughty Naughty.
Both the base model VTi and the VTi-LN utilise a 1.8 litre SOHC i-VTEC engine.
The 1.8 litre i-VTEC engine is as smooth as silk and almost no engine noise transcends through to the cabin. Well, that is until you try to hammer the pedal to the metal. When attempting to make the car move at any decent speed, a whining, tinny rattle emits from the engine.
There's a quick fix for that: Don't smack the pedal to the metal. The Civic isn't built for high performance or any decent speed.
Maximum power for the 1.8 litre i-VTEC petrol engine is 104 kw at 6500rpm, whilst maximum torque sits at 174 Nm at 4300 rpm. Around what we have come to expect from a Honda Civic.
Econ mode is standard amongst all of Honda's recent releases and, to no-ones surprise, takes prominence on the front dash. A quick flick of the Econ button and the engine will conserve fuel and emit less pollution. You're welcome Environment!
The Series II Civic Sedan is best described with these two words: Simple and Clean.
It's not the type of car that will turn heads or have people choking on their lunch as you drive past, to put it as straight-forward as possible: there is no "wow" factor. A well designed, simple, clean, efficient design is what's on offer here. One to please the driver more than the public.
Across the range there are slight enhancements as you move up the price chart. The base model VTi strikes a clean on-road stance with prominent halogen headlights paving the way. Clean style lines run the length of the vehicle and are supported by body coloured handles.
The VTi-LN drops the body coloured handles for chrome ones, sports 16" alloys and comes with smart keyless entry and front fog lights.
Available in seven different colours, there is bound to be a Civic Sedan suited to everyone.
Really folks? Do you actually think a Honda Civic will be bear anything lower then a 5-star safety rating. Not surprisingly the 2012 Civic Sedan maintains Honda's high regard for safety and sports a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
The 2012 Civic Sedan received a score of 34.91 out of 37 during ANCAP testing. Featuring Front, Side and Full Length Curtain Airbags, Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Progressive crumple zones (rear & front) the Civic is decked out with safety features.
Also coming standard across the range is Vehicle Stability Assist and front head rests designed to protect passengers from whiplash. Despite not looking very enticing and/or attractive, the front headrests are an example of Honda's philosophy. Safety First.
The interior of the 2012 Series II Honda Civic perfectly replicates the way the car drives: Simple, efficient and clean. Everything inside the cabin serves a purpose, is easily accessible and is designed in such a way to keep the front dash as simple and clean as possible.
Once you sit inside the Series II Sedan, the improvements from the base model to the VTi-LN are most prominent. Both variants include an Intelligent Multi-Information Display, Spacious cloth trim seating (Leather seating is only available with the Civic Sport) and Cruise Control, yet the Civic VTi-LN has a few more luxuries up its sleeve.
Such luxuries include Climate Control, Chrome interior trim and a Start/Stop Button. The biggest step up from the base model to the VTi-LN is the centre console display screen with Satellite Navigation System and DVD player. A perfectly serviceable navigation system that frustratingly doesn't allow input when moving, even from passengers. But hey, don't forget, Safety comes first.
Bluetooth and iPod connectivity are standard throughout the range. A speaker system inhabits the walls of the cabin and provides adequate (yet nothing mind blowing) noise quality.
This 9th Gen Civic continues the long run of quality engineering by those at Honda.
Delivering improvements to fuel efficiency and a more refined driving experience, the Honda Civic is always a safe bet when purchasing a new car. Safe and reliable with a smooth on-road performance. Three massive ticks.
With a model range to suit most driving styles, the Civic is a well recommended car for a stress-free driving experience. The base model VTi, priced at $20,490 doesn't come with the flashy gizmos but is a great buy. The VTi-LN comes with a few more luxuries and costs a little more at $26,990. Also don't forget the Sport and Hybrid models, both will set you back a little more coin.
Don't hesitate to check out the 2012 Series II Civic Sedan range now.
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Honda dealer.
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