Let’s get this out of the way first: The interior plastics feel cheaper than the previous-generation Civic. But our intention with this post isn’t to set the 2012 Honda Civic up for a litany of potshots to make ourselves feel like automotive demigods. Go read some other publication with too much time on its hands if that’s what you want.
What we wanted to focus on is what the Civic does well, specifically on the inside. In every dimension, the Civic is sized very closely to its competition. Yet, somehow Honda has packaged the Civic better than most cars in its class. Staring at the backseat, Honda engineers were able to give the Civic a nearly flat floor and carve out the front seatback to optimize knee room. The result ends up embarrassing most midsize sedans for its size and versatility.
Up front, the Civic retains the bifurcated instrumentation of its predecessor, but updates it with glowing strips that run along either side of the top-mounted digital speedometer. When the car is running in fuel-efficient ECON mode, they glow green. And when you decide to put your right foot into driving, they shift to a blue hue that matches the rest of the interior lighting.
It’s not the most stylish package around, but it’s functional with large, well-labeled buttons. Some may find the labels belittling with a built-in “duh” factor, but then again, the non-intuitive may take delight in its ease of use.
Whatever you may think of it, it’s durable and functional. And those two factors go a long way for any car, no matter if the dash is covered in hard, industrial-grade plastics or the hand-stitched leather of a Bentley. The question is: Would you put one in your driveway?