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2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid was new.


Interior: 7.4

While the industry likes that the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is more spacious than its predecessor, they aren’t overly impressed with the interior. The leather seats that look like pillows because of the way the stitching gathers at the seams, and while the interior is functional, reviewers dislike the cheap plastics that look recycled. The Civic Hybrid’s boring colors and the interior can’t compare to the one on the Volkswagen Golf TDI. The Golf TDI also comes with 140 horsepower, 30 more than what the Civic Hybrid makes, which means it offers a better combination of power and quality.

  • "Surprisingly the interior is slightly more spacious than before." -- Bloomberg
  • "Plastic quality improved slightly, and there is interesting rice-paper-like graining on the door panels." -- Car and Driver 
  • "My least favorites are the sparkly gray plastic on the dashboard and the aluminum-colored door handles. I also noticed conventional felt like ceiling fabric, a step backward considering that the earlier generation featured a higher-quality woven headliner, which is becoming more popular across the market." -- Cars.com 
  • "The Civic’s cabin is distinctively sporty. The interior focuses on updated styling with a redesigned version of the previous two-tier instrument panel. Instruments are arranged in a unique two-stage fashion with a digital speedometer up high, just below the driver’s line of sight, and a tachometer down lower." -- Kansas City Star
  • "Unfortunately, the kit just doesn't manage to stack up to the cabins of three of the newest competitors on the block: the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, 2012 Ford Focus and the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Each of those vehicles offers a more up-scale, sorted dash while the Civic's cabin seems to have been lifted straight from the 1995 Prelude." -- Autoblog
  • "Compared with a few competitors, some interior surfaces look rather plain. The Civic continues Honda's approach of combining a variety of textures and styles. In my opinion, they don't always go together well. If nothing else, when there are many different textures and materials, there's a good chance you'll object to at least one of them." -- Cars.com


Sometimes hybrids have less interior space than their gasoline counterparts. That isn’t the case with the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid. Just like the base DX model, the Civic Hybrid’s shoulder room has increased to 56.6 in the front and 53.3 in the rear, up the 2011 model’s the 53.7 inches in the front and 52.4 inches in the rear. Outward visibility has also improved. That’s because Honda made the A-pillars thinner. Test drivers like this adjustment. Test drivers can’t agree on seat comfort. One reviewer says Honda finally got it right and produced seats with more lumbar support, while another test driver thinks there’s too much lumbar support. You may need to test drive the Civic Hybrid and decide for yourself. The Civic Hybrid has optional leather seats, but you have to select Navigation and XM Satellite Radio to get them, which brings the Civic Hybrid’s price to about $27,000.

  • "Thinner A-pillars aid forward visibility, and new seats feel more supportive, mercifully, they have less-intrusive lumbar support." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Honda opened up more room in the 2012 Honda Civic cabin, and it's most noticeable in the sedan's additional 3 inches of front passenger shoulder room. Even your elbows feel a little more free to roam the door panels. Rear-seat sedan passengers also get a little more room to stretch their legs." -- Edmunds
  • "The cabin has more shoulder room and more rear-seat legroom." -- Kansas City Star
  • "Still, the cabin feels more open inside than the outgoing model because of improvements such as widening the body slightly, raking the windshield even more sharply forward than before, and thinning the front roof pillars while enlarging the little windows at their base. Actual interior space is slightly greater, allowing for more front-seat shoulder space and 1.6 in. of additional rear legroom." -- Bloomberg
  • "Leather is optional, although it has that wrinkled look we’ve grown accustomed to seeing (and hating) on many a General Motors product." -- AutoGuide.com 
  • "In a car of the same size, Honda couldn't work magic, but the passenger volume has increased by about 1 to 3.5 cubic feet in the sedan, topping out at 94.6, keeping it competitive in the class." -- Cars.com
  • "Seats. Fronts, too much lumbar lump. Rears, not bad; just keep in mind it’s still a compact car, not a big sedan." -- USA TODAY

Interior Features

The good thing about the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is that it has a lot more standard features than the base DX model. It comes with Bluetooth, power windows and doors, steering wheel mounted audio controls, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and an AM/FM stereo with CD player, USB connection and auxiliary input jack. Navigation and XM Satellite Radio bring the Civic Hybrid to about $26,000, and adding leather seats brings the Hybrid to about $27,000.   

New for 2012, is intelligent Multi-Information Display. Located on the instrument panel, i-MID integrates Bluetooth, fuel economy data and trip information. If you select navigation, i-MID will also give navigation instructions. Reviewers who have commented on this feature have varying opinions. One says it’s relatively easy to use and that they prefer it over other integrated systems on the market. Others say they never liked Honda’s split-gauge layout.

Eco Assist also comes with the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid. It’s a system that allows you to drive more efficiently, simply by pressing the ECON button. As you drive, you can look at coaching bars on both sides of the speedometer. When these bars are green, you’re conserving fuel. Blue bars mean you should change your driving habits. 

  • "The secondary controls are simple to use." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The hybrid's air conditioning compressor is powered either electrically or by the engine crankshaft, so the cabin remains cool even when the engine is switched off." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "i-MID system adds value." -- AutoGuide.com
  • "All trim levels except the DX introduce Honda's entry to the multifunction controller phenomenon with a feature called i-MID: intelligent Multi Information Display. I like some aspects of this approach, not the least of which is it doesn't have the words ‘touch,’ ‘you’ or ‘my’ in the name." -- Cars.com 
  • "If you found issue with the split-gauges of the last-gen car, you'll find no sanctuary behind the wheel of the 2012 model. The upper screen has been elongated to incorporate what Honda calls its i-MID system, or intelligent Multi-Information Display. The high-resolution five-inch LCD screen puts the navigation display to shame and educates the driver on audio selections, turn-by-turn directions and vehicle information. You can even upload your own personal backgrounds or leave the screen blank should you find it too distracting." -- Autoblog
  •  -"The second tier now offers the i-MID, or intelligent Multi Information Display, a menu screen that displays audio, Bluetooth and vehicle information, all controlled through steering wheel buttons and keypads. Opt for a Civic with navigation and you'll have four inputs fighting for a share of your cerebral cortex. Skip the navigation and instead you get an oversize radio and button assembly that looks like something Chevy might have offered three years ago." -- Edmunds


The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid doesn’t have a lot of trunk space – only 10.7 cubic feet – but that’s typical of hybrids because their batteries take up a lot of space. Test drivers don’t mind this amount, especially since it has increased from the 10.4 cubic feet available with the 2011 Civic Hybrid, but they are disappointed that the rear seats don’t fold down. If you want a more spacious hybrid, consider the Toyota Prius. At $23,050, its $1,000 less than the Civic Hybrid, gets 51/48 mpg city/highway and has 21.6 cubic feet of trunk space.

  • "Stowage space in the center console is generous." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It helps keep weight and size down and increases the trunk volume to 10.7 cubic feet versus the 2011's 10.4 cubic feet, though the backseat doesn't fold in the Civic Hybrid, typical of hybrid sedans." -- Cars.com
  • "The hybrid models sacrifice trunk space to the battery pack, leaving 10.7 cubic feet." -- Edmunds

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