Make us your home page
Instagram
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: Honda Civic Coupe is still a safe bet

Recently, Consumer Reports gave the 2012 Honda Civic sedan a "not recommended" rating — a first for the popular compact. In the automotive world, that's equivalent to S&P lowering the U.S. debt rating. Our tester was the coupe version. We don't have a test track like CR, but we didn't see any substantial issues.

Appearance: The aerodynamic design is more of a tweak than an overhaul. There are a few more body creases but it keeps the familiar Civic coupe profile. (If it ain't broke . . .) The grille is smaller and sleeker, which struck Peter as less of an improvement than change for change's sake. In the rear, there's more design interest, thanks to an integrated spoiler on the trunk lid.

Performance: While CR faulted the Civic's braking distance, we had no problems in city driving. While the brakes were responsive, the steering feel — another CR criticism — is indeed light; Lyra found it much too sensitive. The 2,778-pound car can be skittish on highway bumps and you'll feel the wind on stormy days. The Civic borrows some of Honda's hybrid vehicle ideas: As in the Insight, there's an Econ mode for more fuel-efficient driving. Just push the green button on the dash; the acceleration in this mode is sluggish. Another hybridlike feature: The digital speedometer, part of the dash's Insight-like display, turns green when driving conservatively. If you have a heavy foot, it turns blue. In either mode, the five-speed automatic shifts smoothly.

Interior: The first thing we noticed is the easy-entry passenger seat for rear access; even Lyra's 8-year-old son could get in and out by himself. And the door is light, so he could close it. If you have young kids, this is important in a two-door car. Yes, CR, the interior noise is noticeable, but we didn't find it any more pronounced than in other compacts we've driven. Materials? The thing that jumped out at us were the AC and temperature dials, which seemed a bit cheap. The seats are comfortable, although Lyra would like a bit more bolstering. The futuristic, split-level dashboard panel takes some adjustment for the driver, but the key gauges — speedo and fuel — sit high and are easy to read at a glance. We also like the gauge's 3-D appearances. Some other things we liked: the big nook in front of the shifter for gadgets and coins; an ergonomically friendly steering wheel with phone and voice recognition buttons that can be pressed from the back; and a quick-cooling AC. For a compact car, the Civic coupe has great trunk space (11.7 cubic feet).

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Econ mode: I appreciate the hybrid influence.

Gauges: Like Lyra, I think the futuristic look is appealing.

Looks: There's no wow factor, it's just a sleek and attractive little coupe.

Lyra Solochek

Voice recognition: System understood commands well.

Design update: More curves and details, but not a far departure from previous model.

Gauges: Crisp two-tiered, easy-to-read instrument panel.

The bottom line: An argument can be made that the new Civic isn't as good as previous generations, but that's only because the competition keeps getting better and better. With its history of reliability, we still think it's a safe bet.

2012 Honda Civic Coupe EX-L

Price: $15,605 Coupe start ($15,805 start for sedan), $24,225 as tested

Powertrain:

1.8-liter I-VTEC 4-cylinder

Horsepower:

140 at 6,500 rpm

Torque: 128 pound-

feet at 4,300 rpm

Seats: 5

Curb weight: 2,778 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 103.2

Length, 175.5

Width, 69

Fuel economy:

28 miles per gallon city, 39 mpg highway

Fuel type: Regular unleaded

Safety features: Airbags and curtains, ABS, brake assist, electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist with traction control, side-impact door beams, front and rear crumple zones, ACE body structure, daytime running lights

Website:

automobiles.honda.com/civic-coupe/

The Daily Drivers: Honda Civic Coupe is still a safe bet 08/26/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 26, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.