If the late Tim Russert were somehow coaxed into posthumously analyzing today’s compact car segment, the 2012 Honda Civic — which made its first auto show debut earlier this morning in New York — would likely be labeled a “red car.” Seeing as the new car looks, feels, and drives quite similar to the outgoing Civic, this overhaul is conservative through and through.
That may be a bit disappointing, but it’s completely rational: the ninth-generation Civic has handily outsold its rivals for several years, and built a name for itself by offering refined manners, a comfortable interior, and substantial build quality. The new 2012 Civic doesn’t break from that tradition, but as competitors — notably the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, and Ford Focus — up their A-game, we wonder if the Civic will continue to retain its edge over the pack.
Predictably, pricing hasn’t changed much either, as the company notes 2012 models ring in at an average of $33 — yes, $33 — more than the outgoing models. An entry-level Civic DX sedan, fitted with the five-speed manual, rings in at $16,555, including $750 in destination fees. Opt for an automatic, and that price goes up by $800.
LX models, which start at $18,605, add air conditioning, 160-watt audio system with a USB audio input, and cruise control. Similar content is also found on the fuel-sipping HF coupe, which stickers at $20,205, although the automatic transmission isn’t an option.
Nor is it on the $21,255 EX sedan — in fact, this stage, it’s standard equipment, as are aluminum wheels, a power moonroof, a rear seat armrest, and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system. EX-L models add leather seating and $1490 to the window sticker, and both EX and EX-L models are available with Honda’s navigation system for another $1500. Enthusiasts will predictably prefer the 2012 Si and its new 2.4-liter I-4, which starts at $23,155.
Other green options include the 2012 Civic Hybrid, which stickers at $24,800, and the 2012 Civic Natural Gas. Pricing for the CNG-fueled model — previously known as the GX — has yet to be announced, but should remain close to the $26,420 asking price for the 2011 model.
With the exception of the Hybrid, Natural Gas, and HF models, the two-door Civic Coupe is with in the exact same levels and equipment, yet rings in at $200 less than its four-door siblings.
With few exceptions, the 2012 Civic is already on its way to dealers around the country. Si models won’t be on sale until May, wile the Natural Gas’ launch is tentatively slated for “late 2011.”