$6,625 - $12,032

2012 Honda Civic Interior Review

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


Interior: 7.8

The 2012 Honda Civic has a long features list, a trunk that’s a bit larger than the 2011 model and more space for front and rear passengers. Still, the automotive industry isn’t wooed by these changes because the Civic is still outdone by the competition. Models like the Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra are not only larger, but they also offer more interior features at a comparable price. The base Civic, which costs about $15,800, doesn’t come with air conditioning or a radio, but the Cruze comes with these and adds XM Satellite Radio, MP3 playback and an auxiliary audio input jack for about $16,500.

Not only are models like the Cruze and Elantra a better value, but reviewers also prefer them because they look better on the inside. In fact, test drivers label the Cruze one of the most upscale models in the class because it looks and feels expensive. They don’t give the Civic that compliment.

  • "Like the exterior, the interior is immediately familiar, yet new. Plastic quality improved slightly, and there is interesting rice-paper-like graining on the door panels. Thinner A-pillars aid forward visibility, and new seats feel more supportive, mercifully, they have less-intrusive lumbar support." -- Car and Driver
  • "The trouble is outside of those brief moments, the Si has not just turned in late homework, but been kicked out of the honors class. While the steering wheel controls have been tweaked and the seats remain well done, the Civic's dash plastics look bleaker than a conclave of emo kids in a Hallmark store. Stepping into a new Elantra immediately after exiting a new Civic only heightened how nice the Hyundai's interior is." -- Jalopnik
  • "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


Honda changed the 2012 Civic’s dimensions slightly, and reviewers say those alterations have increased the cabin’s interior space. There’s more room shoulder room for front and rear passengers. However, one reviewer notes that the Civic still trails the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze in terms of back seat space.

The 2012 Civic comes with leather seats on the EX-L trim, but not all reviewers like the way the leather gathers at the seams.

If you’re familiar with the 2011 Civic, you may notice that the 2012 model has better outward visibility. That’s because Honda made the A-Pillars thinner. Test drivers like this adjustment.

  • "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." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The cloth seats' contemporary fabric improves on the previous generation's; the optional leather is of high quality, but the bunchy "gathered" look is a polarizing design." -- Cars.com
  • "From the front seat, the coupe feels just as spacious as the sedan. The reduction in cubic feet must have come at the expense of the backseat, which we didn’t try to climb into, would you?" -- Car and Driver
  • "Honda actually clipped the wheelbase of the 2012 Civic by 1.2 inches in the sedan and 1.1 inches in the Coupe for added maneuverability, but still managed to increase interior room. In four-door configuration, total passenger volume has grown by 3.7 cubic feet thanks to additional hip room in all seating positions and shoulder area up front. As a result, the cabin feels more open and offers more rear legroom than the Focus, Elantra or Cruze. The latter two of those fighters best the Civic in front legroom, however." -- Autoblog

Interior Features

The 2012 Honda Civic has interior features that most shoppers are looking for, but you’ll have to go up a few trim levels and pay more than $20,000 to get them. The base DX trim, which starts at about $16,000, offers next to nothing in terms of interior standard features because there’s no air conditioning and no radio. To get these, upgrade to the LX trim, which costs about $18,000 and adds a USB audio interface, Windows Media Audio with MP3 playback capabilities and an auxiliary input jack.  

New for 2012 is intelligent Multi-Information Display, a system standard on the LX trim. Located on the Civic’s instrument panel, i-MID integrates Bluetooth, fuel economy data and trip information. If you select navigation, which is available on the EX for about $22,000, 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 he prefers it over other integrated systems on the market, while others say they never liked Honda’s split-gauges and still don’t.

Eco Assist is also new for 2012. 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 located on both sides of the speedometer. When these bars are green, you’re conserving fuel. Eco Assist is standard on the base DX trim.

Honda has made the Civic more class competitive, but journalists find that it lags behind the competition in terms of price. The Hyundai Elantra, for example, comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, XM Satellite Radio and a USB input jack for your iPod for about $15,000. Add Bluetooth and air conditioning, and a similarly-equipped Elantra only costs about $16,800. You can even get a fully-loaded Elantra with heated leather seats in the front and back, navigation, push-button start, cruise control, steering wheel mounted controls and a leather steering wheel and shift knob for about $23,000. A fully-loaded Civic is about $24,000, but you don’t get heated leather seats and its warranty is shorter.

  • "The Civic's interior hasn't changed all that much. The distinctive two-tier instrument panel remains, and some of the dials and gauges look very similar to the ones in the previous Civic. However, the dash has a new rice-paper-like texture that's quite attractive, and the center stack has been gussied up with a 5-in. color display. The backlighting of the instrument panel changes from Honda blue to green when the driver is driving economically and conserving fuel." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The menus and functions [on i-MID] are relatively simple. The screen displays album art from an attached iPod, a relatively recent enhancement in onboard electronics. The upper display duplicates navigation prompts, but the option relies mainly on a trusty touch-screen, within easy reach on the center of the dashboard. I'll take this division of duties over any multifunction controller on the market." -- 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." -- Autoblog


The 2012 Honda Civic’s trunk is a good size. Civic sedans have 12.5 cubic feet of trunk space, but that number is small in comparison to the competition. The Hyundai Elantra holds 14.8 cubic feet, while the Chevrolet Cruze holds 15.4. If you want to stick with the Honda brand but need more space, try the Honda Fit. It has a total of 20.6 cubic feet of cargo room with the seats up and 57.3 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded. The Fit even has a Magic Seat with four modes (tall, long, people and utility) that increase functionality. 

  • "Trunk size in the sedan rose 0.5 cu. ft. to 12.5 cu. ft., but that's still way behind the Elantra's 14.8 cu. ft. and the Chevy Cruze's 15 cu. ft." -- BusinessWeek

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