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How the Honda Civic went from first to worst

Illustration for article titled How the Honda Civic went from first to worst

The new Honda Civic is so mediocre even Consumer Reports, long a cheerleader for the Japanese econo-cruiser, dropped the redesigned 2012 model from its "recommended buy" list after the new model sunk to a rating of just 61 points on the magazine's 100-point scale. That means the newly-redesigned Honda Civic scored too low of a rating to even be recommended.

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Increased competition from American and Korean automakers and decreased value conspire to make the new Civic, like many of the Japanese compact models, an also-ran in a category it once dominated.

As we noted in our 2012 Honda Civic first drive, the new model is mostly indistinguishable from the previous one and behind competitors like the Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus in many key areas.

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The reviewers at Consumer Reports agreed, stating:

Compared with its predecessor, the 2012 Civic has lower interior quality and suffers from a choppy ride, long stopping distances, and pronounced road noise. Vague steering impairs its agility and robs it of its fun-to-drive feel.

The result is a drop from 78 points in their rating, which is considered "Very Good," to a "mediocre" 61 points out of 100 — and dropping it to next to last status behind the Volkswagen Jetta. Effectively going from first to worst.

After decades of domination, it means that the Civic is no longer the car you recommend to your sister-in-law's best friend as a good bet for better-than-basic transportation.

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DISCUSSION

Klaus Schmoll

I don't really understand what most automakers are doing to the American market. In Europe, we still get this tasty little creature which sums up all the Civic-ness.

Also the Accords. Seems like they have gotten bigger and bigger overseas. I live in a German town where the major American land strike forces for Europe are stationed, so I see a lot of 'merrican metal. But what strikes me the most is the difference in what the Japanese offer to you and to us.

The American Accords are (or seem like, correct if me I'm wrong) a whole different animal than what we get here. I like them, they are rare, and in V6 form are the king of most supermarket car parks.

Still, why are global players offering different vehicles to different markets? Ford tried the "world car" thing with their Mondeos, Mercury Mystiques, Contours. Now they are doing it again with the Focus. And having driven it, I have to say, that it's a great car, maybe even the next Civic. A great success story I am sure, except for the fact that they kept the 2nd gen version from you and just offered you a pig with some lipstick.

Now Volkswagen is also trying this stunt. A dumbed down Jetta, a bigger Passat for less $$? Are they thinking you are.......

As customers, you have the power. Just don't buy them. And they will take you seriously again.