When Honda starts selling the 2012 Civic later this month, it will have to contend with tougher competition. The Civic has been around for nine generations and has gotten quite a foothold in the compact segment. In fact, 25% of Honda customers buy a Civic. The redesigned 2012 Civic is actually the first of three core vehicles that get revamped within the next 18 months.
The two other models are the CR-V compact crossover that is set to come out in September and the reworked Accord that arrives in the summer of 2012. It’s notable that every time Honda redesigns the Civic, it gets bigger.
The current Civic is already almost as big as a 1994 Accord. Right before r&d work for the redesigned 2012 Civic was about to be approved, the worldwide economy took a dive. Honda had planned the 2012 Civic to be even bigger and to be given additional upscale features but with the crisis, Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito decided to make drastic changes.
Ito believed that the car they had set out to make would struggle and would not be in line with the Civic’s push for economy.
At the recent press preview, John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said that the 2012 Civic was “carefully packaged” according the needs of the segment. The base Civic has a fuel economy rating of 39 mpg. In comparison, the Hyundai Elantra is able to achieve 40 mpg on the highway across all trim levels.
However, some Civic models surpass this figure. Vicki Poponi, Honda assistant vice president of product planning, explains that fuel economy comprises only one aspect.
According to American Honda Motor Co.,Inc Sales EVP John Mendel, the Honda Civic is the only one of its kind to deliver a combination of smart packaging, sporty performance, fuel economy, alternative fuel and above all, long-term value. Honda is giving emphasis to improved fuel economy for the ninth-generation Civic, ranging from the hybrid sedan model to the sporty Si.
Aside from the Civic Hybrid and Civic HF, the Civic Coupe, Sedan and Natural Gas models are projected to achieve enhanced fuel economy as compared to the existing models. On the highway, the Civic Coupe and Civic Sedan achieve an EPA-estimated 39 mpg fuel economy, a 3mpg improvement as compared to the present model. The GX Natural Gas vehicle is expected to produce a 7% improvement in fuel economy as compared to the present model. The Sedan, Civic Coupe and Natural Gas models will be incorporated with Honda ECO Assist technology.
Alongside improved fuel economy, the latest Civic lineup delivers added performance as well, especially with the Honda Civic Si. The Civic Si coupe and sedan models will be powered by a larger, 2.4-liter engine and a new 6-speed manual transmission. This new engine is expected to supply 200 hp and 170 ft-lb of torque. In spite of the larger engine and a 22% increase in torque, the Civic Si aims to accomplish an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 31 mpg on the highway, a 2 mpg increase as compared to the present model.
The 2012 Civic lineup consists of a sedan and coupe together with conventional gasoline models, a new high fuel (HF) economy version, 2 "Si" sporty, performance versions, a hybrid version, plus an alternative fuel variant that uses natural gas.