The Honda Civic is the car that proved that small cars can be good to drive, appeal to the masses, and not be entirely soulless. Honda's ninth-generation Civic debuts for the 2012 model year, but unless you look closely, you might not notice. Both inside and out, the Civic retains signature cues from the previous car, with a single-arc profile and a two-tier dashboard. For the sedan, there are few changes to report under the hood, either, as the 1.8-liter four-cylinder and five-speed automatic carry over. The sporty Si does get a new engine -- a 201-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder -- and eco-warriors now have the choice of the HF sedan (41 mpg highway) or the Hybrid (44 mpg combined). The Civic uses a multilink rear suspension that is more planted and comfortable than the torsion-beam arrangements used by its competitors from Chevrolet, Hyundai, and Toyota, making it one of the better-driving small cars. Inside, however, the Civic has lost some ground to its competitors, with plastics that are not very appealing and a navigation system with fiddly buttons. Still, the cabin feels spacious; the engineers from Honda managed to carve an additional 3.7 cubic feet of interior volume from an exterior that's unchanged in size. A 60/40-split rear seat means that even coupe models can carry large items. The Civic used to stand apart from its competitors, but that's no longer the case. However, we can't discount the Civic's competent road manners, reliability, and stellar resale value.
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