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2012 Honda Civic Review

The 2012 Honda Civic is a high-ranking compact car, thanks to its comfortable interior, refined ride and handling, strong reliability rating, and great safety scores.

Pros & Cons

  • Pleasant ride and handling
  • Comfortable interior
  • Great safety scores
  • Solid reliability rating
  • Small trunk




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.2
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.4
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Honda Civic Overview

Is the 2012 Honda Civic a Good Used Car?

If you’re shopping for a used compact car, the 2012 Honda Civic is a great pick. The Civic is easy to drive day to day, with its comfortable ride and stable handling around corners. It returns good fuel economy as well, and it rates highly for crash safety and reliability. That said, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you plan to haul lots of cargo. The Civic is offered only as a two-door coupe or four-door sedan.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 31 Honda Civic reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2012 Honda Civic?

You can expect to pay between $7,600 and $14,000 for a used 2012 Civic. These figures are based on listings for the 2012 Honda Civic on our site. The average price is $10,500. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2012 Honda Civic Cost to Own?

The Civic’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be $21,800 – or about $4,350 per year. That’s lower than average for a compact car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Civic?

The 2018 Honda Civic starts at $18,940 and it’s a better car than the 2012 for a number of reasons. Unlike the 2012 model, the 2018 Civic is available as a hatchback with a roomy cargo area. The 2012 Civic has a much nicer interior, the latest features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, higher fuel economy (up to 32 mpg in the city and 42 mpg on the highway), and more available advanced safety features like forward collision warning. This all comes at a steep price though. If you simply want a reliable small car, a used 2012 Civic is a great option that costs a whole lot less than the new model.

Read about the new Honda Civic »

Although there are few new compact cars that cost less than a used 2012 Civic, you have several new subcompact cars to choose from. Your cheapest options are the 2018 Nissan Versa, 2018 Chevrolet Spark, 2018 Mitsubishi Mirage, and 2018 Kia Rio. Prices for these models start between $12,000 and $14,000. The redesigned 2018 Rio ranks high in its class. It boasts nimble handling, and it’s available as a hatchback. However, the other three vehicles rank in the second half of the class.

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Which Model Year of the Honda Civic Is Best?

The 2012 mode year marks the beginning of the Civic’s ninth generation, which concluded with the 2015 Civic. There really isn’t a bad pick among these models. Each offers a good reputation for reliability, along with comparable handling and engine performance. There are a few details worth considering, though. For 2013, Honda upgraded the car’s cabin materials, and added a rearview camera, Bluetooth, and a USB port to the standard features list. A blind spot camera (LaneWatch) became available in 2014. The rearview camera is a worthwhile upgrade, but many critics agree that LaneWatch is more cumbersome than helpful.

Honda also replaced the Civic’s five-speed automatic transmission with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in the 2014 Civic. CVTs don’t operate like a traditional automatic, and some have a tendency to make the engine groan loudly when accelerating. That’s not the case with this CVT, however. It does a great job mimicking a conventional automatic, and it provides a small boost in fuel economy over the conventional automatic. Still, there’s nothing wrong with the five-speed automatic.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Civic »

How Reliable Is the 2012 Honda Civic?

The 2012 Civic has a great reliability rating of five out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Civic reliability »

2012 Honda Civic Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are three recalls for the 2012 Civic involving faults with the steering column, fuel line, and left driveshaft. Make sure these recalls have been addressed before buying a used Civic.

See more information on Honda Civic safety recalls »

Which Used Honda Civic Model Is Right for Me?

The 2012 Civic is available in coupe and sedan body styles. There are six trim levels, including the DX, LX, HF, EX, EX-L, and Si. All trims share the same 140-horsepower engine, except for the Civic Si, which has a stronger 201-horsepower engine. Most shoppers will want to skip the DX base model since it offers few convenience features other than power windows.

The Honda Civic LX trim is better equipped. It comes standard with a 5-inch display (i-MID), AM/FM radio, a CD player, USB and auxiliary audio ports, cruise control, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and power door locks. The Civic HF trim (sedan only) adds aerodynamic enhancements for slightly higher fuel economy.

The Honda Civic EX trim adds a moonroof, Bluetooth connectivity, alloy wheels, and a split-folding rear seat. The EX-L trim adds leather upholstery and heated front seats. Lastly, the Civic Si complements its more powerful engine with a limited-slip differential, larger wheels, fog lights, sport seats, and a rear spoiler. A navigation system and satellite radio are available, but only in EX, EX-L, and Si models.

See 2012 Honda Civic trims and specs »

How Safe Is the Civic?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Honda Civic sedan a 2012 Top Safety Pick. The Civic received the top score of Good in all four areas tested. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2012 Civic sedan a perfect five-star rating for overall, front, and side impact safety, as well as four stars for rollover crash safety. The Civic coupe received a four-star rating in all areas.

See Civic safety scores »

2012 Honda Civic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2012 Honda Civic or 2012 Toyota Corolla?

The 2012 Toyota Corolla falls short of its Honda rival in many areas. The Corolla has cheap interior materials, an underpowered engine, and clumsy handling. Still, the Corolla is a good alternative if you’re shopping for a used car. It rates well for reliability, returns decent fuel economy (up to 27/33 mpg), and it offers an even comfier ride than the Civic. Give both models a test drive to see which one you prefer.

Which Is Better: 2012 Honda Civic or 2012 Ford Focus?

The 2012 Ford Focus isn’t a great used car pick. The Focus’ unrefined automatic transmission and poor reliability rating largely overshadow its merits like nimble handling and high fuel economy. You’re better off sticking with the Civic.

Compare the Civic, Corolla, and Focus »

2012 Civic Performance

How Does the 2012 Honda Civic Drive?

The front-wheel-drive 2012 Civic has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 140 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, and a five-speed automatic transmission is available. The engine is refined and it provides the Civic with adequate power around town and at highway speeds. The automatic transmission changes gears smoothly, and the manual gearbox is a breeze to shift. Drivers will need to select the Econ mode in order to net the Civic’s best fuel economy. The tradeoff is that this driving mode numbs acceleration and engine response.

The Civic Si takes it in a different direction with its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. This 201-horsepower engine feels brawnier than its power rating suggests, and it confidently hustles the Si up to speed.

Regardless of engine choice, the Civic offers some of the best driving dynamics in its class. The Honda remains stable when rounding turns. The power steering may feel a bit light for some tastes, but we suspect most shoppers will find it perfectly acceptable and responsive. The Civic’s brakes slow the car down assertively, and the suspension soaks up road bumps and dips nicely.

Does the 2012 Honda Civic Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Civic gets great fuel economy for a compact car. It can hit 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway when equipped with its automatic transmission, or 28/39 mpg with the Civic HF. The manual transmission lowers this rating to 28/35 mpg, and the Civic Si returns 22/31 mpg.

Read more about Civic performance »

2012 Civic Interior

How Many People Does the 2012 Civic Seat?

The 2012 Civic seats five and is available in two body styles: a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan. The front seats are cushy and supportive, and there’s plenty of room for taller drivers and passengers. Forward visibility is good as well, thanks in part to the Civic’s thin roof pillars. While the Civic sedan offers sufficient back-seat space for adults, the coupe’s rear seats are cramped and best left for the kids. Cloth upholstery comes standard, and some models have leather upholstery and heated front seats.

The Civic’s cabin has modern and handsome styling, but some of the interior plastics look and feel rather cheap – especially in the DX trim. A fair amount of road and wind noise makes its way into the cabin as well, though this is fairly typical for the class.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2012 Honda Civic?

There are two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the 2012 Civic.

2012 Honda Civic Features

The base model Civic DX is startlingly low on features. All other Civic models come standard with a 5-inch Multi Information Display (i-MID), a USB port, AM/FM radio, CD player, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, and cruise control. Available features include Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and a touch-screen navigation system.

The basic audio and climate controls are straightforward and well placed on the Civic’s dashboard. The i-MID screen is user-friendly as well, and it displays pertinent audio and driving information within the driver’s line of sight. However, the optional navigation system isn’t as easy to use due to its small buttons, which replace the simple audio controls of base setup.

See 2012 Honda Civic specs »

Read more about Civic interior »

2012 Honda Civic Dimensions

Honda Civic Cargo Space

The Civic sedan and coupe have 12.5 and 11.7 cubic feet of trunk space, respectively. That’s small for a compact car. The rear seats in both models fold down to accommodate longer items. Consider the 2012 Scion xB and 2012 Mazda3 hatchbacks if you need more cargo space.

2012 Civic Length and Weight

The Civic sedan is 14.8 feet long. It has a curb weight that ranges from 2,608 to 2,917 pounds. The Civic coupe is 14.6 feet long, and its curb weight is between 2,597 and 2,877 pounds.  

Where Was the 2012 Honda Civic Built?

Honda built the 2012 Civic at factories in Indiana and Canada.


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