By on August 4, 2011

As far as manufacturer PR reps are concerned, there’s nothing worse than an automotive media outlet that’s willing to criticize a car. But when the unthinkable does happen and, say… I don’t know, Consumer Reports fails to recommend a new Civic, at least there will always be another publication that backs up your opinion. And, in the midst of unprecedented C-segment competition, Honda’s Executive VP for sales John Mendel trotted out this very approach recently. In an email to dealers that was obtained by the LA Times, Mendel wrote

Sometimes you disagree even with those for whom you have the greatest respect. And it seems as if that is what has occurred with the Consumer Reports review of the 2012 Honda Civic LX. We fundamentally disagree with their suggestion that Civic doesn’t rank among their recommended small cars…

Among many other very positive reviews of the Civic lineup, Motor Trend magazine recently tested eight compact cars, including Civic. The respected auto enthusiast magazine -– which knows a thing or two about ride and handling –- ranked Civic second among eight compact cars in the comparison drive. Many would be thrilled with this result. However, we disagree with Motor Trend as well –- we think there is no better compact car than Civic.

Luckily Motor Trend’s staff empathizes… they wish they could have given all the cars first place! And what about Car & Driver giving the Civic second place in its comparison… of two? In all seriousness though, Honda needs to check itself for signs of bunker mentality. Yes, Mendel’s responsibility is sales not product development, but creating an insular world where critical opinions are ignored and feedback is cherry-picked for the rosiest possible picture is bad for the long-term culture of an automaker.

Compare this approach to that taken by Honda Europe. It’s previous generation of Europe-only Civic (FK/FN) was widely criticized in the press for its poor-riding torsion beam rear suspension, lack of refinement and dynamic failings. With a new Civic coming to Frankfurt, Honda Europe is making it clear (by releasing the video shown above) that it is addressing those criticisms head-on, promising a “two-generation improvement” in ride quality. That’s the Honda that became a global player: responding to criticism, not burying its head in the sand.

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99 Comments on “Honda Cancels Its Subscription To Consumer Reports, May Start Reading Motor Trend Instead...”


  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I bet Dear John didnt have a problem with the ranking of the Civic for the last decade or so…Honda is resting on their reputation and CR called them on it.

  • avatar

    CR was a bit dramatic about it, I think, but the point was needed. I think the other think we have to be careful about here is that this seems to be mostly Honda NA’s fault, not the company in general (although arguably, they’ve determined who is in charge over here).

    • 0 avatar

      There’s so much creeping mediocrity throughout the entire Honda and Acura lines that it couldn’t possibly all be the NA group’s fault.

      • 0 avatar

        True, up until lately I have been able to that “even though they are ugly and bloated, at least they are still good quality, unlike Toyota.” The Civic ended that reasoning.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        To be fair to Toyota, their cars are still topping most objective reliablility rankings in the long term. What they do seem to suffer as of late are teething problems.

      • 0 avatar
        jplew138

        “Creeping mediocrity”…that’s an excellent way to put what’s happening to Honda right now. Kinda like what happened to the Big Three in the late Seventies and early Eighties. And we all know how that story ended.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The mediocrity wasn’t “creeping” in Detroit during the 1970s – it was rampaging.

      • 0 avatar
        texlovera

        The MIL has just bought a new Mazda3, rather than another Civic (hers is a 2005). She test drove both, and could not believe how much louder the new Civic was compared to the old one. The Mazda felt “nicer” to her (and she is not one to spend a lot of time on these decisions – she makes up her mind pretty quick).

        Another interesting factor in her decision: Although the Mazda dealer participated in Costco’s new car program, the sister Honda dealer did not.

      • 0 avatar
        jaje

        Honda has been sliding down in quality, engineering and reputation for the past 10 years – after the spirit of its founder has been pushed aside by bureaucracy who is now burying its head in the sand denying any criticism – seems a lot of the ignorant management from GM moved over to Honda. I fact we are in the market for a new car and no Honda comes close to even visiting the dealership (not that there is a reason as the dealer has very little inventory anyway).

    • 0 avatar
      jplew138

      Well, I have my issues with CR, but they did deliver quite the slap in the face to Honda, and they desperately needed it. The problem with the new Civic is simple – instead of building the next Civic, they decided to build a better Corolla instead. And that pains me, because you could always count on Honda to at least try to push the envelope a bit. And that’s no longer the case.

  • avatar

    Seems I was wrong the other day (in the editorial Ed linked to). I figured they might cherry pick reviews when it was TTAC vs. MT (and Automobile also gave the car a decent rank, 3rd out of 6), but that CR would certainly provide the necessary wake-up call.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Consumer Reports also didn’t recommend the Insight. It didn’t stop the Insight from being the most reliable car in any of CR’s surveys. It just shows creeping mediocrity of intellect. If you want a reliable and efficient car, light weight is better than bleeding edge technologies. Hondas will continue to deliver the ownership experiences valued by people who read consumer magazines while delivering class leading performance. The tradeoff is less overwrought interiors and fewer drivetrain acronyms. Hopefully this will blow up in CR’s face when people realize they bought cars built to exploit shortsighted ignorance.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Consumer Reports also didn’t recommend the Insight. It didn’t stop the Insight from being the most reliable car in any of CR’s surveys

      The scoring discussed here doesn’t include reliability.

      CR will only recommend cars that (a) it likes and (b) get average or better reliability scores in the owner’s survey. There are cars that CR likes in terms of driving, feel, packaging, etc., but that it does not recommend because of the sub-par reliability survey results. This Civic appears to be suffering from what may be the opposite problem.

    • 0 avatar
      Bytor

      The Insight is basically a fairly horrible car and most honest reviews state that. It can be a horrible car and reliable.

      The civic is a much better car than the Insight and the new Civic actually scored higher highway MPG than the Insight, so efficiency doesn’t have to be horrible.

      But there isn’t a Honda I would buy today. Honda really needs to work on their NVH. Every small Honda I have been in seems like the forgot to put any sound damping materials in it.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Just because a car is reliable (or at least comes from a historically reliable brand) does NOT exonerate it from any and all criticism regarding ride, handling, interior finish, etc.

      Will the new Civic be a reliable car? In all likelihood, yes. Is it a particularly good car in terms of how it drives and feels relative to its peers? According to Consumer Reports, no.

      I do like how you consistently label anyone who criticizes Honda or in any way disagrees with you as an idiot, though.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Yeah the Insight has been a great sales success!

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      “It just shows creeping mediocrity of intellect.”

      If you are talking about Honda, then I agree with you.

      Honda used to make great rifle shot vehicles. See a market. Aim carefully. Hit the bulls eye. Next.

      Now Honda seems to be reduced to the kind of thinking the worst bird hunters posses. Look, a big flock of birds. Get out the auto loading shotgun and blast away in hopes of getting dinner.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        When exactly did Honda routinely hit market bullseyes? The Civic Wagovan that sold in hundreds? The first Odyssey van? The Acura Vigor? The Accord wagon? The Prelude died because Honda couldn’t even keep up with where the market went, and that decline started in the early ’90s and ended a decade ago. Honda has always had hits and misses in the market, and they still do. What exactly are they randomly shooting at today for that matter?

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        The CR-Z comes to mind. So does the current Insight, which was such a transparent Prius clone that a good trademark lawyer could have put together a convincing case against it and won. Same for the Ridgeline, which is pretty much everything a pickup truck shouldn’t be, summed up and built.

    • 0 avatar
      ppxhbqt

      Did you forget Honda made its reputation on drivetrain acronyms and terms, such as CVCC and V-Tech? It’s what their fanboys live for. Plus, it’s not just lightweight. Honda seems to have used tires with no grip. Let me again point out the the F-150 stopped quicker for CR. MPG becomes much less important once you’ve rear-ended someone.

      People who read Consumer Reports also will value what CR values: quiet, for safety’s sake, since noise is fatiguing; a smooth ride for much the same reason; short braking distances for safety; responsive handling that’s stable in an emergency with a high speed through their test; quick acceleration for safety; room; and good gas mileage. The Civic doesn’t lead its class on any of those. Plus it’s sparsely equipped.

      If fuel economy is everything, the Corolla did better and was within .1 sec of the Civic in every acceleration test. If it’s truly performance, the Elantra was faster than either of those two, had a higher avoidance maneuver speed, stopped shorter, and would need 25 gallons a year more than the Civic, a cost that easily be made up by its lower cost, especially if you want even typically common features such as Bluetooth, which requires a step up in trim on the Honda.

      As for the reliability factor, I’d note that both the Sonata and Equinox/Terrain have been around with GDI for well over a year and there’s no indication so far either system is causing troubles that I’ve seen. In fact, Inside Line got a faster 0-60 time with both after they’d been driven for a year and about 15K miles, so the carbon issues everyone has been claiming would be popping up just aren’t. Fact is, unless Honda starts using plastic glued to aluminum for their cars, they’ll fall further behind in the mileage wars.

  • avatar

    I test drove today Acura TSX. I also test drove BMW 325i and Infinity G25. I cannot say it more politely but TSX is a joke. If Honda thinks that they can compete in Europe against Passat, Mondeo and Insignia with TSX they are kidding themselves. Only mindless American Honda fanboys can like this car. Car feels kind of cheap with inferior electric steering and impresize chassis. I test drove Buick Regal and Regal felt solid in German way and more refined compared with TSX. Ford Fusion/MKZ are a better cars, MKZ additionally has a better interior materials than TSX and Fusion has a better chassis, better steering and is more reasonably priced – and both of them are older designs to be replaced soon with new and even more competitive European Mondeo platform to which Honda does not have an answer – Acura may become irrelevant soon. I enjoyed Sonata more than TSX if it says you something about how TSX is engineered. I would rather compare TSX to Avalon, but it would not do any justice to Avalon – Avalon feels like more refined and more expensive car.

    After driving TSX I understand why CR rated Civic so low – after all those new and exciting cars like new Focus, Cruze and Elantra Honda offering should feel cheapened yesterday tech.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      The prior generation TSX was a decent car. The current generation, like almost all recent Honda redesigns, is a big step backwards.

      Maybe Honda needs to stop dreaming about jets and robots and get back to business.

      Yes Mildred, Honda really is deep into developing a small jet:
      http://hondajet.honda.com/

      Perhaps you have met Asimo, Honda’s robot, at a car show:
      http://world.honda.com/ASIMO/

    • 0 avatar
      obruni

      do not make direct comparisons between vechicles sold in europe and america when it comes to handling. suspension settings for the US market are generally much softer, focusing more on ride compliance than cornering.

      its an apples and oranges comparison, really.

      and as for steering: dead steering feel is becoming more common given increased use of electric power steering. Even BMW is starting to have issues with steeering feel because of this (see Topgear’s reviews of the new 5 and 6 series models)

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Electric assist is an interesting beast. Some companies (Mazda) seem to have it nailed, while others seem to have real trouble. Toyota’s is terrible, for example, and BMW’s is no great shakes.

        Honda is somewhere in-between, and varies by model. My Fit (2008, not the current one) is quite good, but others, like the Civic Si, are kind of lifeless.

      • 0 avatar

        TSX is the European Honda Accord and Buick Regal is Opel Insignia. Ford Mondeo is the European car as well as Passat. TSX is nowhere close to any of them. Even French cars will beat it in comparison. I can compare it only to Toyota Camry, but Camry was not popular in Europe at all and was taken out of European market. May be Honda will be forced to take out Accord also. I cannot see why European buyer may prefer TSX Ford, Opel or VW, or even Skoda or Renault.

        Yes I drove previous TSX and even though it felt cheap compared to say Audi A4 it was fun to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        TSX is the European Honda Accord and Buick Regal is Opel Insignia.

        The TSX comes only with higher trim levels and some of the larger engine choices. The standard Euro Accord doesn’t directly compare in those respects — the US version is positioned as a near-luxury sedan, not a family car.

        The Regal’s non-turbo drivetrain isn’t offered in the Insignia. The only drivetrain in the Insignia that is same as the Buick is the 2.0 liter turbo version. Without driving the US market versions, you don’t know what we’re being offered.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I suppose John Mendel won’t get near TTAC if he’s that ticked at CR!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    “poor-riding … suspension, lack of refinement and dynamic failings”

    In Honda’s defense, they did actually make two of the three improvements. I drove a 2012 today (and have a 2010 for a DD) – the new car no longer drives like someone hopped up on caffeine. I can’t really speak for the dynamic qualities though, as I didn’t push it hard enough to find if it’s as predictable as mine (less exciting though).

    Also, as much as there’s a bit of noticeable decontenting, it still feels marginally more substantial than the Elantra (which seems to be the car that keeps getting tossed around).

    Part of me gets the feeling that the new Civic is less frequently judged for what it is than what it isn’t. It’s still a good car (I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it), it just feels less special (and could potentially get lost in a field of excellent, less special compacts).

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      That’s it exactly – it used to be head and shoulders above the rest of the C cars. Now it’s just a good C car, but there are other choices as well.

    • 0 avatar
      rickhamilton620

      @ maymar, the US car didnt have torsion beam rear suspension last generation. I dont believe it does on the new one either.

      that said, i agree with most everyone saying that this is the wakeup call honda need: the designs have gotten so bizarrly ugly and the powertrains barely competative.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        The European Civic did have a rear torsion beam, which allowed it a seating arrangement much like that of the Fit. For most drivers, a twist-beam axle in a front-drive compact is perfectly fine: there’s enough independence for daily driving, and the cost and packaging is worth the trade.

        That the last Civic might have had a brittle ride is really more the result of Honda’s suspension tuning choices. The Corolla has a twist beam at the rear, as does the Jetta and Cruze Eco, and they all ride quite well.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Oh, I know the 8th and 9th gen Civics both have IRS. I was more referring to the fact that my car rides much worse than the new one (and removed the part about the torsion beam).

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        The differences are noticeable, and are independent of ride characteristics. The twist beam’s ride is acceptable, but the handling deficiencies are real. I went from one to the other(on the same architecture– PL v. PT) last time I swapped drivers.

        Are there separate rear suspensions for the various Civic models, or was it twist beam only? If the solid axle is/was used on anything with a sporting pretense(which means any low-roof model) they deserve to be ridden hard for the compromise.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Mendel’s email to the dealers sounds like an effort to rally the troops. After all, they are the ones who need to sell the car to the general public, and to buy the inventory from the company.

    Those who remember Robert Farago’s “flying vagina” review of the Subaru Tribeca will recall that he caught much flack for it. Yet wouldn’t you know, Subaru redesigned the front end of the car within a year or two. They never thanked him or even acknowledged the bad design cues, of course, but they should have paid him a consulting fee.

    We’ll see whether there is a substantial refresh of the Civic, possibly one that is earlier than normal. That’s obviously too soon to call; we’ll know in a year or two. If they don’t change much very soon, then we’ll know that Honda corporate isn’t particularly concerned.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      Not to take anything away from RF and his wittiness, but I’m sure other people derided the Subaru Tribeca’s styling, if less humorously.

      I’m equally sure there were people who liked the “FV-Tribeca”. Styling is tough. There is no accounting for taste.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Pch101: We’ll see whether there is a substantial refresh of the Civic, possibly one that is earlier than normal. That’s obviously too soon to call; we’ll know in a year or two. If they don’t change much very soon, then we’ll know that Honda corporate isn’t particularly concerned.

      We can only hope that Honda is at work on this, as the new car is a disappointment in too many ways.

      But just as the UAW’s Bob King isn’t going to say, “The transplant operations refuse to negotiate with us, and there is very little the union can do about it,” Honda isn’t going to say, “Unfortunately, Consumer Reports is correct, we made a mistake, and we’re working on the problem right now.”

      Mr. King isn’t going to run up the white flag in public, and Honda isn’t going to risk demoralizing its dealers – while giving competing dealers some serious ammunition.

      This is purely anecdotal evidence, but the two local dealers did seem to sell their initial allotment of new Civics very quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new car sells well at first to loyal Honda customers who were waiting to trade an older Civic on the new one. The acid test will be when the newness has worn off the car, and it has to compete for buyers among customers not necessarily intent on buying a new Honda, and willing to compare it to the competition.

      • 0 avatar
        civwave

        Check out where the 2012 Honda Civic outsold ALL others in this class for November 2011 sales figures. Yes, a fact. The facts don’t lie. People know what they want and know what they’ve come to rely on as far as the Civic goes.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Not to take anything away from RF and his wittiness, but I’m sure other people derided the Subaru Tribeca’s styling, if less humorously.

      The point is that mistakes may be acknowledged privately while denied publicly. Geeber’s comparison to King’s statements are on target.

      Actions speak louder than words. If the Civic refresh addresses these items, then you’ll know that the rhetoric inside corporate was different from the contents of this email that was sent to Honda’s direct customers, their dealers.

      I haven’t seen the latest car (and I’m in not the demographic for it, anyway), but this sounds like a decontenting issue, which may well reduce comfort or perceived quality but that does not necessarily reduce reliability. If they don’t address these items, then you will know that Honda either genuinely disagreed with CR or else didn’t believe that the content was worth the cost. At this point, we can’t tell.

      This is purely anecdotal evidence, but the two local dealers did seem to sell their initial allotment of new Civics very quickly.

      My bet is that sales will hardly be affected by the review. A lot of buyers consult with CR, but at the end of the day, they’re going to buy what they want, and the legacy brand reputation will help Honda.

      When brands like these begin to decline, the unit sales figures don’t necessarily reflect the problem. Many notorious POSs such as the Pinto, Vega and Chevette sold quite well — from a commercial standpoint, they were successful cars. But they proved to be harmful products, because they tarnished the brands of their sellers, which helped at least some buyers to lose their loyalty and to consider seriously some alternatives that they may have previously rejected.

      What Honda doesn’t need is for buyers to begin to think that a Hyundai or Ford or, God help us, a Chevy is as good as one of their cars. That sort of shift in consumer tastes would damage their margins and really hurt their competitiveness. Honda and Toyota’s successes have been built on selling quality in exchange for higher prices, and they can ill afford to lose that advantage.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I sat in a few at the dealer while my Accord was being serviced last month.

        The interior materials have been downgraded…the materials on the door panels and dashboard look cheap and hard, while the carpeting is very thin and has absolutely no plushness. Outside, there is little, if any, chrome, and the rear window molding at the “Hofmeister kink” has been applied in a very cheap manner.

        Yes, it’s hard to believe, but the Cruze looks like a more substantial and well-trimmed car than the current Civic, particularly on the inside.

      • 0 avatar
        civwave

        Check out where the 2012 Honda Civic outsold ALL others in this class for November 2011 sales figures. Yes, a fact. The facts don’t lie. People know what they want and know what they’ve come to rely on as far as the Civic goes.
        Why, my new 2012 Honda Civic LX Coupe is the best Civic ever!
        Yes, I am car-pedjudiced, but when you’ve been scammed and discouraged at buying and from buying GM products (as I have in the past), Honda is the best choice for me.
        GM products will always be inferior products to me. Always.
        I am very satisfied with my 2012 Honda Civic purchase, as I was with my 2001 Honda Civic purhcase in 2001. Now that’s saying something.

  • avatar
    obbop

    If they will pay me for my efforts I will shout out and write accolades aplenty about that Civic.

  • avatar

    I know at least one person that just took delivery of a new 2012 Civic, replacing a 2008 Civic, there was nothing that will change his mind, he did not even test drive any other car.
    I drove a 2010 Civic and hated every min, the interior, the rear suspension is a joke, every sharp bump feels like they are about to fail, noise.
    Again, I don’t think anybody cares what any magazine is saying, look at Toyota Camry numbers.
    When I was looking for a new car, I looked at MPG, it was really difficult to choose a car I like based on MPG, once I decided to ignore MPG it was much easier, Mazda3 hatch 2.5L, so much fun but you pay at the pump.

    • 0 avatar

      Camry was MT COTY no long ago and took 1st place in MT midsize car comparison test. I do not think typical car buyer reads Car and Driver or Automobile – most likely Motor Trend or CR.

      • 0 avatar
        MrWhopee

        That friend you know seem typical of a Honda fanboys. It’s like a belief to them. Just like Big 3 fanboys used to be a few decade ago. Hmmm, do they still exist? a ‘Ford’ guy or ‘Chevy’ guy or whatever, who thinks these brands always have the best car in the market and never bother to check other makers? Maybe they still exist in rural Appalachia or something. Or WWII vets because Chevy or Ford or Chrysler help them won the war or something. Anyway, nowadays it’s more likely a Honda guy or Toyota guy. Though the Toyota guys’ faith has likely been shaken badly by the unintended acceleration brouhaha not too long ago. This CR report could potentially do the same to Honda faithful. I guess that’s why Honda took it seriously, and rally all the auto-journo-’hack’ in their payroll to their cause.

        “Motor Trend”? Didn’t they crown the ‘Shamu’ Caprice their Car of the Year a while back? That ought to tell you something. They’d christen the Sebring their Car of the Decade and proper rival to the BMW 3-series if Chrysler could come up with enough cash.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Eh, in the MT midsize comparison the year prior, the OLD Sonata beat out the Camry (put little credence on MT’s midsize comparison results).

  • avatar
    TurboDeezl

    Time is now for Focus, Cruze etc. They are FAR superior to Honda’s lame entry. Civic days are gone.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      We just went through that exercise of comparing cars in that class when we helped buy our granddaughter her first new car for HS graduation this past May.

      Her choice? The Elantra! The Mazda3 came in a close second. These two cars were just the most fun to drive and she’s as happy as a clam. The Elantra clearly was the best value for the money and its quality was excellent. Price was better than the others.

      Our granddaughter is commuting better than 150 miles a day, 5 days a week to college prep courses at the university she’ll be attending in the fall, and has three other girls riding with her. The Elantra is just super.

      The Civic just has gotten too bloated, too staid and boring like the Corolla. No fun factor there. Ford and GM are not yet up to the level of quality, value and content of the Elantra and Mazda3.

      If a buyer test drives each one of these cars before choosing I think that a truly unbiased and open-minded person will clearly see the value inherent with the Elantra and Mazda3. And don’t forget the Elantra’s warranty. It’s the best in the business. Outstanding!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “The Civic just has gotten too bloated, too staid and boring like the Corolla.”

        I believe you that you compared the cars and didn’t like the Civic. Too bloated though? There are ways of quantifying that. Unless you mean that the back seat is too roomy and comfortable, the Civic is the lightest car in its class and one of the smallest externally. It is an inch shorter and almost an inch narrower than the Elantra, which it also weighs 100 lbs less than.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        CJ, it wasn’t about me. I was just an observer, a passenger, the guy who wrote one of the checks to pay for my granddaughter’s new car.

        We let her do the choosing, and we (my son, daughter-in-law, and I) merely rode along and observed as she went through the selection process and vocalized her likes and dislikes out loud.

        I learned a lot about what a 17-year old looks for in a car. The most important thing is an iPod/MP3 interface and a killer sound system, not the confusing Sync system. Secondly, is the fun-factor. And the Elantra and Maza3 look appealing to young people AND they just gush ‘fun’. And then comes ease of operation and everything else, including a cruise-control for long commutes to college.

        In riding along I found I could also observe for myself what was going on, check out the interior finish, quality of workmanship, etc. What I observed coincided with everyone else’s opinion in that the Elantra and the Mazda3 were just a blast to drive and to be a passenger in.

        The Civic not so much. It may the lightest of all in that class but it is a slug off the line, waddled on wash-board road surfaces, and reminded me of the cushy ride of my Toronado. The Civic is still a good car in that class, but it appeals to people who look for that type of car, just like the Corolla has its following.

        To make a long story short, the Elantra beat the Mazda3 on warranty, price, content and overall value. The Focus and Cruze were just not competitive and lacked fun factor. The Corolla S probably came in a distant third, but the top value actually was the Impreza, albeit at a higher price, although no one liked the styling (and certainly not a 17 year old).

    • 0 avatar
      civwave

      Oh, because you say so?
      The Chevy Cruze is by far the most inferior of ANY C-segment car on the market today. For Focus is getting better, but still not my (second) choice. The Elantra is nice, but too severly cheapened by all the “extra’s” they are slapping into that car. Although the competion is getting “better”, any of them is still not my top pick. Honda is only suffering from trying to put in less qaulity dash (no padding), and other plastics, etc, but the Honda quality is there… so they could stay competitive in price. The Ford Focus is even more expensive (why?). I am not worried, as my new 2012 Honda Civic is the best one ever, in my opinion, even over the 2011 models.
      Even at the Civic’s so-called worst year yet, (which it isn’t by figures provong to be the best-selling compact car for November 2011, selling more CIvics than the Ford Focus, the Chevy Cruze AND the Hyandai Elantra… yes, check it out and prove it to yurself… Honda Civics are outselling the competition weather you like it or not) the Civic is still my top choice, and the competition is inferior at all levels. That’s my opinion, and CR isn’t a credible source anyway.

  • avatar
    Adub

    I have shopped small cars in the past month and the Civic is, in my opinion, far behind the Mazda3 and Hyundai Elantra. It really feels, aside from the styling, not much improved since the last redesign.

  • avatar
    autoguy

    Hopefully, Honda will realize that the Civic has failed to place 1st in every review that I have read (in most of not all the reviews the Elantra always places ahead of the Civic). Although, it would be difficult for Honda to do much about the styling of the sedan which I find to be too generic and bland it could easily improve the Civic by dropping in a 6 speed automatic with paddle shifters, increase the power of the engine, and discontinue the practice of outfitting the LX models with cheap, rear drum brakes and of course blue tooth should be standard in the LX. Hopefully, this will shake HOnda out of its complacency and the next generation Civic will have all new powertrains (ie. direct injection, turbos, 7-8 speeds dsg tranmissions, HID lights, start stop buttons and styling that is better than the Elantra (which I really love).

    • 0 avatar

      Disagree disagree disagree. What you are talking about is largely gimmicks. Gimmicks are not what the Civic is lacking or needs.

      Paddle shifters? Largely useless in an auto like the Civic’s, just get the manual.

      Power? The Civic is one of the lightest and smallest in its class. Power is not its problem. Plus, if you want more power get an SI.

      Brakes? Contrary to what most people seem to think, drum brakes can actually be a good thing at this price point. Since rear brakes catch a lot more grime and are used less, discs corrode much more easily than drums. Drums are effective, and much cheaper (on the rear) for the owner.

      DI, turbos, DSG. Honda is about reliability. Its engine matches engines using all or some of those things for economy and it is naturally aspirated. That is impressive. Again, who here is complaining about it’s efficiency? Also, I may be alone on this, but DSG transmissions are NOT selling points in the small/cheap car class. They have yet to proven reliable by any company who has brought them to mainstream cars. See VW’s hugely unreliable DSG (and $7000 repairs), Fiesta transmission problems etc.

      HID headlights? Start-stop buttons? Gimmicks gimmicks gimmicks. If you want that, there are plenty of small luxury cars to choose from (go look at Acura, for instance).

      What you are talking about is essentially lipstick on a pig. The Civic has some fundamentally good things: reliable, simple tech, small size, light car, but also fundamentally bad things: cheap, nasty interior, loss of good driving dynamics. None of that is fixed by your suggestions.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        Post like these are reminiscent of the posts I used to see people chiding about GM cars a few years back…

        6-speed transmissions? Too cutting edge. Direct injection? You want pushrods, my boy…

        To be fair, there is a place for cheaper lower tech cars, not everyone wants to deal with potentially expensive to repair/replace items on their $15K car.

        Honda, seems to be stuck in second gear lately. I don’t know if it’s because of the Yen/Dollar ratio or some other constraint not immediately apparent. There was a time when Honda would deliver all of the things that autoguy mentioned and get 50 MPG in the process.

        I guess it’s particularly annoying to Honda fans when an upstart company like Hyundai-Kia comes along, steals the playbook and speeds to success.

      • 0 avatar
        Bytor

        Exactly. Honda just wants to build another Corolla.

        Apparently that is is all they need do to impress Honda Fans.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Exactly. Honda just wants to build another Corolla.

        The Corolla sells a quarter-million cars in a market that’s typically compact-hostile (North America), and has been, and might still be, the most popular nameplate and platform on the planet. It also has a pretty high customer satisfaction rate and, mediocre as it is to drive, it’s still pretty unbreakable.

        You could do worse.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Honda didn’t get where it is by imitating Toyota. It offered an alternative to Toyota. If people want a Toyota…they can simply buy the real thing.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        @psar

        I’ll second you on the Corolla being pretty well regarded by those who own them. My brother currently has a 1994 Corolla DX with the 5 speed manual. Maintenance is kind of a joke. Instead of changing the oil or filter he just fills it up when it gets low and keeps on chugging. He’s put about 80k miles on it in 6 years and is happy as a clam. It’s reasonably quick for him and it doesn’t ask for much. Considering the lack of maintenance at 225k I’d say it’s doing pretty well. Apparently the clutch is just now starting to give up the ghost and I think it’s original, and my brother isn’t precisely kind to his car.

      • 0 avatar

        @geozinger.

        “Post like these are reminiscent of the posts I used to see people chiding about GM cars a few years back…”

        I see your point, but my point was not that the Civic was a great car as is, or that I prefer older tech. My point was that none of the things autoguy mentioned would “fix” the Civic. With a few exceptions.

        Frankly, I’d like to know what Honda is doing on engines, because it seems like pretty much nothing. Still, they remain impressive in the sense that they would likely give you lower maintenance costs (important at this level) but provide consistently good mileage. Sure, I would love to see what Honda can do with DI, turbos etc.

        My issue remains with two things. One being DSG transmissions. I’m not being an old fart here and saying I don’t like them “because” (also, I’m 22). I do like them, I think they are a great idea, but I also think no one has pulled them off reliably in a mainstream car yet. With the repair bills DSGs throw, they have no place in cheap cars (yet), nor do they deserve to be a selling point. Ever wonder why the Japanese manufacturers haven’t really delivered them yet?

        My last point was on gimmicks. If you can really say that a car that is as unpleasant as a Civic or Carolla can be fixed with some xonon’s and keyless go, you would seem to be really disconnected from why these car’s are being reviewed so poorly.

        As for the 6th gear, I’m all for it. Yay low revs. But still, am I not allowed to find it somewhat impressive that Honda managed to match efficiency/power using pretty old tech against cutting edge newbies?

  • avatar
    rnc

    Honda and Toyota have to deal with thier cost structures, no differently than Ford and GM had too. Thier first shot at it was making the cars faster and cheaper (and that started in the early 00′s) and it isn’t working like it didn’t work for GM and Ford (Ford had a plan, but however in the hell the ovaloid design theme made it to production I don’t know and the fact that Toyota and Honda went downstream when Ford tried to go up, it looked like shear brilliance, which only encouraged more cost cutting), what’s next? What choices do they have that ford and gm didn’t, beside the hard ones? The reason they don’t have 6 speed transmissions and such is cost.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      I can’t believe Honda doesn’t get blasted for still having 5 speeds. Who do they think they are, Chrysler? No, wait. Chrysler does get blasted for it.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I dunno — Volkswagen de-contented the US spec Jetta, lost the recommendation of Consumer Reports, endured the dismay of nearly every reviewer, even the softball Sunday newspaper “reviews” and is now enjoying healthy sales. Perhaps Honda, as disappointing as it may seem, is following that sales model where selling price in this highly competitive segment usurps overall refinement.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Key point here is not what CR said but Honda’s reaction. To cut of the subscription is like a child who just takes their ball home after another child is “mean ” to them. If one of the domestics had done this then some of the Honda fans on here would have been the first to say “old Detroit”, “can’t they take criticism” etc. Now the shoe is on the other foot their tune changes. Consistency please!

  • avatar
    John Horner

    The funny thing is that Honda making a big deal out of cancelling its CR subscription is a great marketing tool, for Consumer Reports! Nothing improves the credibility of a consumer magazine like having a big corporation bitch and moan about what the magazine had to say.

    Plus, CR got it right. The newest Civic belongs with the other also rans.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I get the impression that this Civic was designed to meet a cost point and that Honda was scared enough by what the economy was doing to re-trench and make a cheaper Civic so that they’d have some room should things really go south.

    Recall that this wasn’t the car Honda originally intended to build: they went back to the drawing board when gas spiked and the recession hit. Ostensibly this was to downsize the car (that was the discussion at the time) but it’s just as likely that a heavy decontenting was part of the plan as well. The last Civic, regardless of what people think of it’s looks, was a relatively high-cost car, and that might not be sustainable in the next few years.

    VW has done something similar with the new Jetta and Passat, and for the same reason: the MkVs were very expensive to make and left little wiggle-room.

    Considering governments spent the last two years and billions of stimulus dollars doing everything but investing in consumer demand and employment stability—and don’t seem to have any plans to change—we’re very likely looking into the maw of a lost decade/malaise era. If that’s the case, Honda, Toyota and VW might be better positioned than we think.

    Murilee’s article on the Cutlass 442 might be oddly prophetic, and all of us calling for simpler, lighter, cheaper, plainer cars might just get our wish. We won’t necessarily like it—we’re looking at those cars with rose-coloured glasses—and it’ll be a good reminder that those supposedly-awesome 80s Japanese products, while frugal and reliable (like the current Civic and Corolla are) were kind of miserable compared to the high-cost iron of the decade prior.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Actually, it was the reverse regarding those 1980s Hondas and Toyotas – they were astonishingly nice compared to 1970s cars that sold in that market segment, as well as more than a few 1970s car that sold at a higher price point.

      Compared to the Pintos, Gremlins, Vegas, Chevettes, Rabbits, Omnis/Horizons and Fiats of the 1970s – the natural comparison – well, there WAS no comparison. The 1980s Toyotas and Hondas blew everyone else out of the water. For that matter, they blew the 1980s Fords, Chevrolets, Dodges/Plymouths and VWs out of the water, too.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Actually, it was the reverse regarding those 1980s Hondas and Toyotas – they were astonishingly nice compared to 1970s cars that sold in that market segment

        I’m not entirely sure that’s correct. They were more reliable and didn’t spit parts and trim pieces, but they weren’t, in performance or opulence terms, all that good.

        I spent a lot of time in a lot of compacts, admittedly in models made in the late 70s and early 1980s and they really, honestly, weren’t that special. By the 1990s, yes, but that had to do with Detroit completely throwing in the towel and ceding the compact game to the Japanese until the Focus showed in ’99.

        The reviews pretty much agreed with this sentiment: gushing over each new generation of American compact, only to find that paint peeled, head gaskets warped, trim fell off, fuel injectors didn’t, etc. That hasn’t changed, and magazines are still gushing over new product, with only the likes of CR noting that, three, five, or ten years down the road, the Corolla et al are still soldiering on.

        You could make a credible case that an Omni or Citation was nicer than a Corolla or Civic of the same vintage. They’re all relatively mean little cars, but the Japanese cars didn’t break down.

        Time tends to put a rosy sheen on things, and the narrative about Japanese cars being better has enabled this, but it’s not really true.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        The Citation sold at a higher price and size point than the Corolla and Civic. It may have been nicer than the Civic that was available when it debuted in April 1979 (as that was still the first-generation Civic), but not the one that debuted for the 1980 model year. And the Civic sedan that debuted for the 1982 model year simply blew any X-car – let alone the Rabbit, Escort, Chevette, Cavalier and Omni/Horizon – away.

        I had a 1982 Civic hatchback and a 1988 Civic sedan, the latter brought brand new, and they were simply miles ahead in performance, comfort, reliability and features of anything from Europe or Detroit available at that time, let alone in the 1970s.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        “By the 1990s, yes, but that had to do with Detroit completely throwing in the towel and ceding the compact game to the Japanese until the Focus showed in ’99.”

        You’re completely forgetting Chrysler’s neon. It was released in 1994, and sold obscene units in it’s infancy.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        You could make a credible case that an Omni or Citation was nicer than a Corolla or Civic of the same vintage.

        Ummm NO. My mother had an mid 80s Omni, I had a mid 80s Civic – no comparison: the Civic was quicker, had way better handling, a perfect interior and way more reliable. My ’85 Civic also shamed the ’89 Cavalier my girl friend had. Now the mid ’80s Escort (in GT trim) wasn’t bad in the acceleration and handling department but its interior was cheap with a capital “C”.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The reason that the CR pan of Honda hurt is that the Civic’s target market is much more likely to read — and heed — CR than any of the usual car buff books. Not that this is a fault, but the buff books — when they’re honest — have an enthusiast’s bias. So the “driving experience” takes priority. CR’s view is a little more balanced and less focused, probably accurately reflecting the interests of its readership, just as the buff books’ point of view reflects their readership’s point of view.

    In my opinion . . . and in the opinion of a lot of people much smarter and more expert at this than I am . . . both Honda and VW are playing a dangerous game by de-contenting their products in an effort to compete on price with lower-cost producers, like the Koreans. In industry after industry, this has proved to be a losing strategy.

    Honda needs to give this tactic up before it wrecks the company. Let’s consider another Honda disaster: it’s hybrid technology. The Accord hybrid was so bad, it was pulled from the market. The Civic hybrid was not much better. The Insight was originally touted and brought to market as a CHEAPER alternative to the Prius that was “90% as good.” Well, that didn’t work out to well. It was cheaper all right, but it was a clear case of getting what you paid for vis-a-vis the Prius . . . so now Honda puts money on the hood to move the metal. And the Insight was also panned by lots of folks, including CR. Then there’s the absolute low point in “Honda engineering” the CRZ “sporty hybrid” that — apart from having only two seats is neither sporty nor hybrid-thrifty. What’s the case for buying a CRZ over, say, a Focus? A few more MPG in the city? But the Focus is actually a useful car: it carried 4 people comfortably and their stuff.

    I have an ’08 Pilot (purchased new), which has been a good car. When the ’09 came out, I was happy I had bought an ’08. There was nothing about the ’09 that would have made it more attractive to me and a number of things that made it less attractive.

    It seems like, of the smaller Japanese makes, the Mazda folks have the right idea . . . and Subaru for that matter. They’re not trying to decontent cars to complete on price with the Koreans. And remember, most people finance cars, so price differences have to be translated into monthly payment differences. When you can own a demonstrably better car (in terms of what you can touch, feel and hear) — and one with an established reputation for quality — whats a few tens of dollars more a month in payments? That’s the way to deal with the Koreans or any other low-price competitor.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Actually, the Accord hybrid was not bad at all. Rather, Honda answered a question that was not being asked. The Accord Hybrid used its hybrid technology to make a fast, reasonably efficient Accord. They did not go for ultimate efficiency. Hybrid buyers, for the most part, are about max MPG, not speed. Enthusiasts typically don’t even look at hybrids. So Honda made a good car that appealed to a very small audience. Kind of like the old Subaru SVX’s problem.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Sounds like John Mendel has a bright future ahead of him-at GM.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Mendel’s response gets a B-.

    The timing of of the rebuttal is right. The level of severity is right. The execution lacks imagination.

    It’s plainly obvious that CR wrote what they did to sell magazines, since they couldn’t have said what everybody else had said up to this point. You don’t sell media being the second person to say something. Honda’s response is at the right intensity, but wrong execution. How you you handle a situation like this? Yes, you do call out a disingenuous review by pointing out it’s short comings, but you have to do so with a sly bit of humor.

    The reason why is that media literacy is at an all time low, and American society is ridiculously polarized. What CR did is abhorant in writing terms because their conclusion is not supported by their findings. If the 2012 Civic gets better mileage, is quieter and hsa a bit more usable interior room than the 2011, does that mean that the 2011, which ranks higher on their scores, is a better car?

    Factually this is absurd, and absurdity calls for humor. It’s not worth going for a Suzuki-style truth-to-power take-down of VW, but so few companies do PR management well in this day and age. The audience (consumers) are watching closely now, and rightly or wrongly, PR spats are about theater and entertainment. Or said another way… if you can handle a spat intelligently, that gives the impression that you can build cars intelligently as well.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      First, not only is the 2012 Civic all-new, but so are the 2011 Cruze and 2012 Focus and Elantra. So even if the 2012 Civic is better than the previous model, if the competitors improved even more, it could still drop in the overall rankings. Which appears to be what happened.

      Second, while the 2012 Civic is improved in some areas, it has gotten worse in some others. Meanwhile, I don’t think that anyone is going to deny that the Cruze, for example, is a monumental improvement in every way possible over the old Cobalt.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’ll do it. I’d take a Cobalt over a Cruze any day, although a gun would have to be involved for me to accept either. The Cobalt shares the same chassis, has a more tasteful dashboard, and, most importantly, was available with good engines. I’d take a crummy Cobalt with a good naturally aspirated engine over a mediocre Cruze with a weezing, gas guzzling, short lived direct injected 1.4 liter turbo any day. Besides, the Cruze looks like an old Daewoo, and it isn’t by accident.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      I don’t know if you read the review, but CR called out the new Civic for having a poorer ride, numb steering, overly long braking distances, and shoddier interior quality relative to its predecessor.

      It’s slightly quieter and more fuel-efficient, yes, but those are the only places where it improved.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        Steering and interior quality yes, but their take on ride quality is at odds with a number of other reviews. Braking distances are nothing new, and are just as reflective of OEM rubber as they are of mechanicals. Taken on their own, these are well within reason, but the conclusion does not reflect CR’s mission. If I were to read CR, I the point is not to find the ‘best car’… it’s to help me make the ‘wisest purchase’. That’s the talking point were Honda needs to engage… that conclusion is out of step with CR’s stated mission.

        Likewise, if I were Nissan, trying to rebut Top Gear point for point on the Leaf review is pointless. They need to engage on the strengths of the car. TG’s review demonstrated one aspect, but rather than trying to argue that an electric car really does have lots of range, they should be focusing on how the an electric car makes for a better city-runabout than a conventional car.

        However, these reviews are based on what you value, and everybody values something differently. Me, not being an engineer but coming from an engineering family, mechanicals matter… better real world fuel efficiency, reduced interior noise… those things are reflective of better engineering.

        The point of the matter is that we’re talking about this because of what CR did. Coming from cameras, a similar thing happens with DxO’s proprietary ratings… they generate a lot of discussion, a lot actually, but a core group of people ignore them all together because ultimately, the ratings are a weighted average, and there is a high degree of subjectivity in the average.

        Whether or not we think the new car is better or worse is not the point, that’s a different discussion. From a media management, this is a golden opportunity for an intelligent way to engage the consumers. As somebody who does work in media, I think CR’s review has had it’s intended purpose, it’s going to drive sales for their print publication, but it’s not something that they will be able to do on a constant basis without eroding their credibility. Trust me, this type of thing doesn’t go down on print without a number of heated discussions at the editorial level… entirely justified or if only trying to be provocative. Is it not without merit? Of course not, but it drives home the realities of print journalism in the internet age.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      The repeated refrain that CR “only did this to sell magazines” is utterly without merit and will only wither up and blow away with all the other pathetic Honda fanboy excuses as more and more customers cross-shop with Honda’s competitors and realize they really aren’t getting anything for their money. Since when has CR ever felt the need to court controversy for the sake of sales? You can criticize CR for a lot of things, but polemics isn’t one of them. CR’s greatest strength has been avoidance of controversy and maintenance of objectivity, in contrast to the other car rags. Splashy editorials and exaggerations aren’t what sell copies of CR: objective and sober information (sometimes to a fault) is what does. But honestly, the denialism from the JDM crowd is only going to help fans of interesting and innovative cars in the long run. It will only help the Koreans and the Americans eat their lunch that much faster.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      What CR did is abhorant in writing terms because their conclusion is not supported by their findings.

      I don’t see how you determined that. I didn’t read the printed review, but the video review expresses unhappiness with a number of aspects of the car.

      If the 2012 Civic gets better mileage, is quieter and hsa a bit more usable interior room than the 2011…

      In the video review, CR complained about road noise.

      But in any case, the review should benchmark the current competition, and only make comparisons to the manufacturer’s prior model. A 2012 Honda is competing in the market place against other automakers’ 2012 MY cars, not against its own prior generation.

      I appreciate the effort to look for spin. But in this case, you seem to be creating your own. These scores are relative; they account for the state of the art and standards at the time of the review.

      Part of the problem here is decontenting. But another aspect of the problem is simply that the competition is catching up and, yes, passing it in some respects. If everyone is improving, then it isn’t just a matter of building a model that is better than the last, but also one of surpassing the new competitors, as many of them are upping their game.

      The competition is aiming higher. That means that Honda will have to work even harder than it has if it is to be regarded as the gold standard in the class.

      It’s tough for them as producers, good for us as consumers. The standards of today’s car are very high. Today, reviewers complain when a sporty efficient compact car needs a bit under 7 seconds to get to 60 mph or if it produces skidpad figures just above 0.80g. Not long ago, these figures would have been considered to be true sports car territory, well out of reach of the average buyer, and the resulting vehicle would have sucked far more fuel in the process. In a way, they’re victims of their own engineering prowess; we’re addicted to improvements, and there are never going to be enough.

      • 0 avatar
        civwave

        Wow, very well put. I am confident that the 2013 & 2014 Honda Civics will be even harder to beat. And with what Consumer Reports has done, with low ratings and then all-of-a-sudden change of heart by putting the 2012 Honda Civic Si on their recommended lists (after about 6 months) does raise a red flag of Consumer Rpeorts credibility.
        I think my new 2012 Honda Civic LX Coupe is simply the best Civic ever, even more improved over the 2011 modles…and that’s where it counts as a consumer AND car buyer.

  • avatar
    Koblog

    Consumer Reports is generally lame, and not just about cars. They have wacky ways of considering something “good.”

    For example, consider how they rate audio speakers, amps, cameras or power tools. Professional ears, eyes and hands would NEVER use CR recommendations. Consumer Reports avoids or misses entirely the most important reasons why things are excellent. They’re like Costco buyers: Stuff they like is not really the best, just what they consider a good deal.

    Same with cars. If Consumer Reports told me the sky was blue, I’d check myself before believing them.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    -> Pintofan “The repeated refrain that CR “only did this to sell magazines”

    This isn’t the Autoblog forum, and that’s not what I said. Re-read my comment about media literacy and polarization.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      >”It’s plainly obvious that CR wrote what they did to sell magazines”

      So you’re going to deny that you said this? Because it’s right up there, as plain as day. You say that I need to re-read your comment. I say that you need to re-read CR’s review of the Civic, and stop coming up with convoluted excuses for why uncompetitive cars don’t get recommendations. The Dodge Avenger had the greatest fridge ever installed in a car. That doesn’t stop it from being fairly horrible in all other aspects.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        ”It’s plainly obvious that CR wrote what they did to sell magazines”… yes I said that, but that’s not all of what I said. Reread the comment about media literacy and the fact the we’re talking about how to handle a PR response to a bad review. And rethink what ‘polarization’ means in the context of this discussion.

        Don’t take my word for it, some of CR’s readers agree with CR’s conclusion and some take issue with it for the reasons I outlined.
        http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2011/08/2012-honda-civic-lx-scores-too-low-for-consumer-reports-to-recommend.html

        And after that, some further reference.
        http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/a-flowchart-of-the-internet-argument-to-end-all-internet-arguments/

      • 0 avatar
        Bytor

        @stuntmonkey

        So you are going to point to other anonymous forum posters to make your case?? It hardly does that, response there is much like it is here. Most agreeing Honda is slipping and a couple of defensive fans.

        To claim CR did this just to sell magazines is just angry fanboy rhetoric with no basis in fact. It isn’t like they said the Civic will explode, or that it eats babies. It just didn’t make the cut for their recommended list. Hardly a huge controversy to anyone but angry fanboys.

        Read the actual review, watch the video(compare with the same for the new Elantra). Honda had a couple of minor improvements, But interior quality is a let down, they show hard brittle plastic in the video. In the Elantra it is soft touch. The Civic suspension wallows and jitters over the their test track bumps, the braking is actually worse than before.

        This against a field that is massively improved.

      • 0 avatar
        civwave

        Yes, totally true. Toady, it seems like they will publish anything to sell a magazine. Consumer Reports is now back-tracking… too little too late I say. What? Recommending the 2012 Hnda Civic Si on their recommended list, while it should’ve been there from day one? As well as all of the Civic lineup, like the LX line… a truley excellent product. I know, I have one, a beautiful 2012 Honda Civic LX Coupe.
        I never really relied on Consumer Reports anyway, nor will I ever buy one of their magazines. Favoring a GM product over a Honda product raises a red flag with me (like possibly being bribed by the competition???? You think?), especailly when the Chevy Cruze is inferior, GM has had known quality issues for decades. Nothing new, nothing has changed. The competition is reeling from years of being bested by Honda. All this will do is compell HOnda to continue to do what they do best…not an issue with Honda as they are the best in my opinion…. and the 2013 and 2014 Civic models will be even better! Besides, my 2012 Civic was the best pick for me in the C-segment cars, by far! Even at is so-called worst year (not), my 2012 is still better than any of the competioin. No doubt at all. More… the 2012 Honda Civic outsold all other compact cars in November 2012. Fact!

  • avatar
    Bytor

    CR gets flack in proportion to how much a fanboys favorite brand is in decline. A decade ago, big three fanboys would whine about CR like it was the only erroneous source that Detroit was in decline. Now it is regular occurrence from Honda Fans.

    To me it is fine to appreciate a certain brand, but when you start attacking the messenger when he reports something you don’t like, you have crossed the line into fanboy denial.

    Say what you will about CR, but the fact remains that is the only publication that doesn’t take payouts from the car companies. No advertising money, no flight to Tahiti in January to stay at a resort and test some company supplied cars. They just buy the same car from the same assembly line and the same car dealers as you and me.

    Fly me to Tahiti in January and put me up at a resort and I can’t say it wouldn’t affect my review despite every attempt to remain unbiased.

    • 0 avatar
      civwave

      Read where Consumer Reports now recommends the 2012 Honda Civic Si on their recommended list after 6 months!?!?…. still part of the Civic family, Civic as a whole. And yes, because of this, I will never read Consumer Reports again. Favoring a GM product over a Honda product raises a red flag, espeacially as the Chevy CRuze is truly an inferior product. I don’t care if the Chevy Cruze is reportedly improved, GM has (always) been inferior in many ways, and the Cruze is no improvement in my eyes.

  • avatar
    delpiero1980

    What are they 4 ?? They have been CR’s top rated small sedan since forever and when the time comes for a negative review they can’t handle it??? OMG That’s ridiculous Honda you cry babies. There is nothing worse than not to take a defeat like a man!!! Man up Honda and learn from your mistakes. Your 2012 Civic is boring and identical to the 2011. The Focus, Cruze and Elantra are going to be your worse nightmares. The time has come for you Japanese. You reigned the US for almost 15 years….it’s time for America to claim back their turf.

    • 0 avatar
      civwave

      Ha! I am not a bit worried about the Chevy Cruze, what an ugly car. The Focus is nice, much better than the Cruze but was still not my pick. The Focus was even more expensive (why?) I checked out all three of these cars here that you mentioned and I am here to inform you that these are INFERIOR products, in my opinion. The Elantra was so full of itself and over-filled with uneeded extra’s, I felt that the qulity will suffer in a few years time (as before). Althought he Elantra is very nice, still NOT my pick! You can have your opinion, and I can have mine. We enjoy freedom of speech here, yes?
      My new 2012 Honda Civic was the BEST choice for me, by far. Nothing can change that, no, not even you or what you say.
      Now, Consumer Reports will back-track waht they’ve done. they will see.
      Odd that they are now recommending the 2012 Honda Civic Si on their recommended list after 6 months. Sending mixed sigals is bad for Consumer Reports. I will never use them again, as I enjpy my 2012 Civic.
      I will enjoy my Civic and am very satisfied with my choice. ANd very, very glad I did not purchase the other inferior products, especially the Chevy Cruze… OMG! GM products are the worst, a proven fact!

  • avatar
    civwave

    There’s more to Consumer Reports’ low rating of this fabulous 2012 Civic, than they are leading on to us. I presume an investigation by Honda into this will tell all; I would fully support that investigation morally, because something morally is amiss here with Consumer Reports. Ther’s no doubt about that iin my mind.

    Consumer Reports will never be on my reading list ever again, it seems as if possibly (you never know) that Consumer Reports was bribed by the competition to rate this 2012 Civic at low levels. The 2012 Civic doesn’t deserve this, it is shocking. BEing a 2012 Honda Civic COupe LX owner, and having done extensive car shopping on my own, I found the 2012 Civic to be the BEST value, (even at is’s so-called worst year), and see it to be the BEST CIVIC EVER. I previously owned a 2001 Honda Civic, another fantastic car; and wanted to complete some car shopping, comparisons before buying a new car. I was not surprised that I concluded the 2012 Honda Civic is simply the best value for the money, the best quality; the best engineered…. I could go on. I found most of the competition out today is pretty much inferior, especially the Chevy Cruze! The FOrd Focus was a good second choice, but still was not my pick. The Hyandai Elantra was nice, but it, too, seemed cheapened by all the extra’s Hyandai was putting inot that car… it just didn’t feel right.
    The 2012 Civic is comforatble, quiet (im my opinion, all cars have some road noise to an extent no matter how you put it), and the 2012 Civic is a breeze to drive, far from boring. I find it very pleasant. I will take this over the competition any day, I can live with so-called boring, while I enjoy Honda Quality, reliability and an economically sound choice. HAnds down!

  • avatar
    civwave

    I agree with some others here. This will blow up in Consumer Report’s face. Time will tell and I can hardly wait to see that I will be right. The used car data will tell all in a few years.
    I for one really never used Consumer Reports, the magazine was just enterainment reading… now I know I never will actually rely on this mag. Their credibility just isn’t there for me.

    • 0 avatar
      Bytor

      You seem to be having an extreme fanboy reaction(Did you post a dozen times overnight in this thread?). You need to get over this, get over Honda, and get over yourself.

      • 0 avatar
        civwave

        Yes, and VERY glad I did. Thanks for your (silly) reply. I am already over you. Two can play your game. Consumer Reports did so to avoid a backlash, but too little, too late. This will blow up in CR’s face. Quite comical and so are you. I just can’t wait to see your next reply…

        Next….

  • avatar
    civwave

    For all you Honda Civic fans, what have you… Some good reading by a RELIABLE, reputible mag. And there’s even some good comments here, by both Civci lovers and haters…

    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/coupes/1104_2012_honda_civic_drive/

    And for all you Civic haters out there, you can even log in and post silly replies, but it won’t do you any good.


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