CIVIC’S EXTREME MAKEOVER
Honda to fast track update to its Civic
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Published on Sun, Mar 4, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Stung by near universal bad press of its all-new 2012 Civic, Honda is said to be getting ready for a major makeover this fall. Such action usually take at least two years, but Honda is getting the Civic makeover in record time. Curiously, it appears to have nothing to do with the car’s popularity, which just posted sales of 27,087 in February, up 36.0 percent compared to February of 2011. Or maybe it does have something to do with sales? At least in the long run. As it turns out, Honda does care about its perception in the automotive press—particularly with its perception in the Consumers Union publication, Consumer Reports. In its review of the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic, the non-profit organization reported: “We have seen a number of redesigned models do worse in our overall road test score than the ones they replaced. But the 2012 Honda Civic set a new mark. That highly anticipated redesign dropped a whopping 17 points—from a very good 78 to a mediocre 61. The Civic was once one of our highest-rated small sedans and was our Top Pick in that category as recently as 2007, but it now scores too low to be recommended.” The new car has been criticized for vague steering, which impacted its agility and run-to-drive feel. Reviews noted that the stopping distances are longer, and its ride is choppier. But the criticism didn’t stop with the driving dynamics of the car, the fit and finish has come under some harsh words. “Cost-cutting is apparent throughout the Civic’s interior, from the cheap headliner and ubiquitous hard plastics to the unlined trunk lid,” reports CR.
While new Civic sales may be high now, Honda is no doubt concerned about the long-term effects of the negative press it’s getting on the car. After all, much of the strong sales is driven by the reputation that Honda has built up over the years. So in just a few months from now, Honda is expected to introduce new powertrains, significantly upgraded interiors, and exterior changes said to further differentiate it from the previous generation Civic. If it succeeds, it will be the quickest, most dramatic comeback in recent automotive memory. And Honda will be back in a position it’s more familiar with: The driver’s seat. - RN