Fall from Grace: 2012 Honda Civic Stripped of Consumer Reports Recommendation

There’s blood in the metaphorical water today: after years of garnering praise from the editors of Consumer Reports, the 2012 Honda Civic was stripped of its “recommended” tag.

While CR praises the refreshed Civic for good fuel economy and great crash test ratings, it liked virtually nothing else. It criticizes the new model’s ride and handling, braking, road noise, and interior quality. CR drove another nail into the nameplate’s coffin by criticizing the car’s fit and finish — something long considered to be a positive hallmark of Honda’s small cars.

CR says the Civic suffers from a “choppy ride, long stopping distances, and pronounced road noise,” ultimately leading the Senior Director of CR’s Connecticut Auto Test Center to say “the Civic has dropped so much that it now ranks near the bottom of its category.”

With competition in the compact sedan segment increasing, it would be fair to say that the sharks are circling. The segment’s leader, according to Consumer Reports ratings, is the Hyundai Elantra — which, five years ago, trailed the Civic in quality and reliability scores. The Elantra now handily beats other established names, like the Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.

Of course, Honda begs to differ. A prepared response insists “in virtually every way, thecompletely redesigned 2012 Civic is a step forward,” and highlights the new model’s great fuel economy, safety, and reliability — which, it so happens, are three attributes Consumer Reportsactually praised.

If Honda is worried about sales figures being impacted by this review, there is a measure of good news: the Civic does manage to best the all-new Volkswagen Jetta in CR’s report, which also received poor marks from Consumer Reports after a recent redesign. Interestingly, sales of the new, cheaper Jetta have been largely unaffected by the findings. Will the same hold true for the Civic? Time will tell, but we imagine buyers who enjoyed the previous generation model will find plenty to like in the 2012 model.

Source: Consumer Reports

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