By on February 23, 2011

The interior on the right belongs to the 2011 Honda Civic. The interior on the left belongs to the new 2012 Civic. Apparently they just left the older one out in the sun for a while, causing it to melt and sag.

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51 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Incredible Melting Interior Edition...”


  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    I think it actually looks better, but I’m no fan of the 2-layer dash.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I like the 2012 interior better (the brown one.) As you point out…it’s sharper.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The only area of the interior that I would have wanted improved is the placement of the hand brake. It doesn’t look like they’ve addressed it. Are the A-pillars actually thicker?

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I wish Honda would quit trying to reinvent the dash. Remember the old Prelude where the driver information spread across into the passenger area? Honda said it allowed the passenger to feel involved in the driving experience. The 2 part dash isn’t an improvement either. Go back to a mid-80’s German sedan for a proper dash.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      I drove a 96 Prelude for a few weeks about ten years ago and I agree, that dash was awful.  I’ve driven the Civic quite a bit and I rather like it.  The speedo peeping over the steering wheel actually works quite well once you get used to it.  And it doesn’t take all that long at all.

  • avatar
    Jellodyne

    It looks like it’s melting because the items on the center console are angled towards the driver. I’m pretty sure the horizontal lines don’t saq towards the floor, but the tilt towards the driver and the highish camera angle conspire to give that impression.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    The Civic’s dash actually works very well.  For all the whinging that people do, you get used to it pretty quick and you really appreciate (especially if you’re tall and/or like to position the steering wheel low) how it allows Honda to keep a nice, small wheel while not cutting off the tops of the gauges.  Being able to see your speed and certain other useful tidbits without a long look down is a nice bonus (especially if you wear bifocals).
     
    Yes, it’s different.  So what?  It works better.

    • 0 avatar
      blppt

      I completely agree. I thought the digital readout speedometer and 2 level tach/speedo dash was going to be annoying, but honestly, it doesnt really take much to get used to. And even going back to a “normal” car setup of analog tach/speedo 1 level, doesnt really look odd either.

  • avatar
    civicguy

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
    Civic has one of the best interiors in its class…except for the hand brake location, wtf Honda?

  • avatar
    carguy

    The HVAC vents are still in the wrong place. When you turn on the AC all you get is cold hands.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I can see why you might conclude this from the photos, but it isn’t something I’ve noticed in 4 years of driving a 2007 Civic. Overall, I’d rank the HVAC in the top 2 or 3 of the 11 cars I’ve owned. It is much better than I anticipated based on the dimensions of the windshield and dash top combined with my car’s all black interior.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Oh no! A center stack that actually faces the driver! What’s the world coming to?
     
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Center stacks that point toward the rear middle seat are absurd. At least in the US, the vast majority of the time, you’re driving solo – you wouldn’t point a laptop screen 20 degrees away from you all the time, so why should instruments in a car be any different? If your passenger wants to change something, they have the luxury of time and reach to lean over another eight inches to get a square-on view if they want.
     
    Forcing the driver to look sidelong at nav and controls, all in the name of symmetry (or a misguided attempt to keep things even for the mostly non-existent passenger), is asinine.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Agreed, Ford was on a roll in the 90s…save poor materials, ill fitting components, and until the oval Taurus putting rectangles everywhere to ruin a design (think Mark VIII).

      A flat dash (not driver oriented) isn’t bad if everything is still well within reach and very close. But alot of new vehicles with their tall center stacks and hundreds of buttons defeat ease of use. I do like how the CTS has the basic HVAC settings for the driver and passenger very close for each respective user. But you have to hunt around for everything else.

      I love the simple controls of my old TL (even though I don’t care for digital HVAC controls). But my Outback is prefereable even though the knobs and buttons feel more hollow. Another good reason to keep both around for a long time.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    80s Euro interiors remind me of very small buttons/knobs, poor electronic connections (gold!), materials which cracked easily? Although I always loved the complication of our Becker stereos.

    The orientation and ergonomics were there, as were the thin A-pillars. But, the Japanese did those well and added high quality materials (both seen and unseen) throughout the late 80s and 90s. Along with simple controls (even on digital HVACs).

    Too bad they’re all going the same direction these days. I think I’ll keep my 07 Outback a while longer, one of the better dash designs from this past decade.

  • avatar
    EChid

    You know, I tend to agree that this is a somewhat lazy approach to a redesign, the Civic’s interior was really not at all behind. In fact, most competitors have started doing similar designs to the Civic. So, I don’t really think they had far to go with this one.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Looks like a more driver-involved lay-out to me— certainly more ergonomic and functional than most of what I see from some of Honda’s competitors.

    Still, even though I drive Hondas by choice I still find negative reviews like the above encouraging, because it sure beats the living hell out of the negative reviews of other vehicles that mention REAL issues like chronically fragile head gaskets, transmissions and electrical components. If a “melting” instrument panel is all they can slam Honda’s definitely on the right track.

    Kinda reminds me of the floozies at the cocktail party who are insensed that the classy and gorgeous blonde with the heart of gold is garnering all the male attention: “What could they possibly see in her anyway? She has, like, UGLY ankles!”…..

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      I don’t think Honda and Reliable transmissions can be stated in the same sentence.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Yeah, you should really write off an entire company based on one transmission design.

      Honda has never designed any other transmissions other than the 5ATX that had 3rd gear issues. Honda has always had issues with every other transmission/transaxle they’ve manufactured and never gave a damned about owners having a bad transmission…they sure didn’t replace them and offer an extended warranty.

      Get a clue.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      I like the functionality of my Element, but it’s been one of the least reliable cars for me.
      Manual tranny needed replacement at 88k to the tune of $3000, the seats rock back and forth due to weak bushings, etc.
      I’ve only driven manual tranny for 30 years now and never had manual tranny fail on me before.
      All new cars should come with 100k power train warranty these days.

  • avatar
    DubTee1480

    It’s all in the angle of the picture it seems.  It hurts my eyes at the angle it was taken, but I agree: I like the driver centric dash design.  One of the favorite things I remember about my brother-in-law’s ’86 C10 was the dash orientation.

  • avatar
    Scott_314

     
    Did you all notice the speakers at the bottom of the A-pillar? Jeez, even less visibility than the massive A-pillars of the current-gen limit.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The newer dash is better since its angled slightly towards the driver… the CRX was like this as well and it had one of the best interior layouts ever (really low seats helped). The tweeter speaker pods are angled well too, but they are too far forward compared to the location of the midranges. Sorry but my inner audio geek slips out every now and then.

  • avatar
    prattworks

    This type of design, or redesign, seems to be becoming the norm.  I am, admittedly, a bit of a luddite when it comes to design.  I prefer simple, straightforward gauges that clearly provide data.  My Alfa spider was a model of efficiency.  Currently, a dashboard is meant to make a ‘design statement’, changing every few years for the sake of change, rather than refinement or improvement.  Everything morphing and melting onto itself and into other panels.  Complication wins over intuition, more is more, brighter is better, digital over analog – until you’re dizzy, dilated and palpitating.  And don’t get me started on the state of current running shoe design – it’s as bad or worse.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Hell, while you’re on running shoes – the guys who design those must be smoking the same stuff as the guys who design boom boxes. Jesus H. Christ. It’s like their goal is to stuff the entire chrome-and-useless-bend content of a ’59 Chrysler into a 3 cubic foot space. Horrifying.

  • avatar
    don1967

    How I miss my ’89 Civic Si.
     
    When we recently shopped for a second car I honestly thought Honda would win me back; the deals on the 2011 Civic are great.   But it took only 15 seconds in the driver’s seat to rule that out, and head for the nearest Hyundai dealer with pen in hand.  As for the underwhelming 2012 Civic, I doubt that it’s causing the competition to lose any sleep.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    In angling the center console towards the driver, it actually looks like Honda has taken a cue from the Optima. This in itself is potentially very interesting.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    why the hell does honda think that your RPMs are the most important variable to display to the driver. The gigantic tach is the worst trend since the zig-zag automatic shifter.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      Did you not see the digital speedo on the upper tier, along with the fuel and coolant readouts (digital bars)?

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      If you drive a manual, tach is the most important display.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      re: strafer
      1: 80% of civics are automatics
      2: if you need a tach to drive stick you don’t know how to drive stick. Real stick drivers shift entirely based on engine feel.

    • 0 avatar
      cmoibenlepro

      3800Fan:
      Why do you need a speedometer?  Real drivers know their speed entirely based on their feeling from their environment.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      @cmoibenlepro

      Given varying context and conditions, it’s quite difficult to determine speed within the accuracy necessary to avoid being hauled off to the hooscow. If you were talking about determining reasonable speed for the road? Sure. If you’re talking about maintaining X mph? Different story altogether.

      RPM is insanely easy to gauge from sound, presuming you’re not deaf or driving something that should really be an automatic anyway.

      Reliably determining when you hit 65mph is very hard; there are almost no fixed reference points: Scenery is at varying distances; road feel is different on every road; even atmospheric conditions alter your perception of speed.

      Engine RPM, however, is conveniently consistent: 5500rpm always sounds like 5500rpm. Now, if you tell me, eyes-closed, to go to 4923rpm and hold, it’ll be difficult (I don’t have perfect pitch). But if you run the engine there, say, “Shift here”, and have me go without a tach? Sure. I can’t even imagine how that could NOT be easy with even a shred of effort.

      I do driving simulation (we’re talking $90k+ machines here, not “the ultimate driving simulator” with three metal tubes and a PlayStation) for a living, and when a car gets to the shift point, it’s so obvious that it’s like getting hit in the head with a mallet, even if I’ve never heard the car before. And that’s with imperfect simulation audio. If you actually own a car? Damn right you better be able to tell what the engine’s doing.
      You don’t demand gauges to know how hard you’re accelerating, braking, and cornering, do you? Engine RPM is a hell of a lot more obvious than those things.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      While I do agree that you don’t need a tach for shifting…I hardly look at mine when I am shifting (yes, a manual wagon).

      I guess those NASCAR guys aren’t real sticks drivers, what with their tachometers and oil pressure gauges.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      @3800fan
      I also have been riding motorcycles for 30 years and I usually don’t even look at the speedo.
      I got used to gauging speed by the gear i’m in and the rpm.
      If your ears can tell you when you hit the red line, then more power to ya.

    • 0 avatar
      Jellodyne

      I can tell by ear when I hit the rev limiter, does that count?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      This is a silly argument because the most prominent instrument on the Civic’s dash is the huge and clear digital speedometer. Your eyes barely have to leave the road to know exactly how fast you are going, and you can set the steering wheel angle and reach for optimum comfort and control rather than so that you can see the speedometer. When I first sat in a 2006 Civic, it seemed like a deal breaker for reasons of unfamiliarity. Having driven 4 years with it, it is probably the best design on the market. Ironically, the car I would have considered instead merely for its conventional dash was the Mazda 3. I wasn’t alone in not buying the Civic. Honda sold as many Civics here in any given year as Mazda will sell 3s in total for the current generation.

  • avatar

    I love dashes that are driver-centric and are angled for that very reason. This one, however, does not work for me because of the double-layer display. It is because of this dash why I would buy a Honda Fit over a Honda Civic.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    That split dash design is really poor.  Give it up already.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Honda sold about 1.3 million Civics with that design in the US alone over 5 years. I guess the people who matter don’t mind it so much. Once you’ve driven with it a while, you get spoiled and don’t like having to compromise steering wheel angle so you can see the speedometer when you drive other cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Signal11

      CJ’s in the right here.  I don’t own a Honda but I’ve driven the Civic plenty.  The dash design is actually very well thought out.  In a good driving position along with the small steering wheel, the speedo peeps right over the top of the wheel with the tach directly under.  Once you get used to it, it’s very efficient.

  • avatar
    Harley

    The earlier dash is beyond hideous.  The new one is beyond description.  Distorted, a total mess.  It’s all wonky.  It doesn’t seem possible that they could actually make it worse.  They did.  I used to be such a Honda fan.  I’m in total disbelief that this actually the same company.  Every model in their lineup is ungainly and unsightly.  I’d be embarassed to own one.  What the hell happened to this once great car company?!

  • avatar
    anchke

    It appears that the two pics are from slightly different camera placements, and the lighting ain’t great. I suspect the owner can quickly get used to any dash configuration, but wonder what the rationale was for a two tier config in the first place. Does this design feature enhance utility in any way? Dubious. Which makes me wonder if these new dash design tweaks offer any benefit other than it was time for some dithering?

    My family fleet includes a Lexus, CR-V with dash mounted selector and a Saab 9-5 with manual. The Lexus has the most designy dash/cockpit — and, imho, is by far the most annoying for the motorist who just wants to get in, start the car and get underway.

    • 0 avatar
      Selektaa

      Several people have told you the benefits of the 2 tier design.  Having the speedo so close to your eyeline is almost like a poor man’s HUD.  If you want to look away from the road to check your speed, your eyes travel maybe 1/3 the distance to the speedo and back.  It makes it much easier to keep an eye on your speed and keep an eye on the road at the same time.

      If people don’t like the looks of it, that’s one thing, but it’s an undeniable ergonomic improvement over the traditional layout.  Different doesn’t automatically mean bad, or that designers were just sitting around trying to justify their paychecks.

      EDIT: I will say, though, that I think the reason the 2 tier dash came about in the first place is to support the really steep rake on the windshield. That creates a whole lot of dash between the windshield and the driver, and the 2nd tier helps break up what would otherwise be acres and acres of dash. Still, i stand by my statement that what they came up with works very well and is ergonomically superior to a more conventional layout.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Another yay vote for the dual tier dash.  Modern autos need to convey more information than their predecessors, and this is a good way to do it.  When it comes to interior ergonomics, from stalk placement to gear box to dash, Honda doesn’t dither; they deliver.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    “Apparently they just left the older one out in the sun for a while”
    Isn’t that how Tauruses were made for the longest time?

  • avatar
    vbofw

    Agreed.  Dash design is very functional, but also very ugly.  Offers a nice choice for those who value the ergonomics over the aesthetic (even though that is not Honda’s intention).
    Obviously this car will do just fine given the legions of Honda minions.  Although at first glance the Elantra looks like the one to beat in this segment, unless you’re willing to pay $4k more to load-up a 2012 Focus.

  • avatar

    I test drove a 2009 Si and found the two-tier dash awesome.  It was so easy and convenient to glance down and see digits that were just the right size to tell me my speed without completely taking my eyes off the road.
    Now, as far as keeping it clean, I don’t know about that.  I could see that it would add another section that would accumulate large amounts of unreachable dust.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Different strokes I guess cause we had the 2010 Civic about ready to go, and decided to drive over and look at the Mazda 3 – bought the Mazda. Got a GT 2.5 with leather, bose, bluetooth, everything except nav for $1000 more and got a better finance rate (0 for 60).  Ok it’s my daughter’s car and she difinitely liked it better. The only civic buyers I see are midlle aged women that are past the minivan age.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I chose the 2010 MZ3 iTouring Sedan over the 2010 Civic too!  But it wasn’t because of the Civic’s dual tier dash, which I liked.  It was because the MZ3 was more fun to drive and fuel efficiency was almost as good.  Added fog lights and the auto dimming mirror Yep, I got the same finance deal (0 for 60).
       
      For some reason, the 2010 Civic didn’t have split rear folding seats, nor did it have dynamic stability control — at least in the trim I was looking at — which the MZ3 had.  Overall, the Civic, while nice, was just uninspiring.
       

  • avatar

    I am so utterly disappointed in Honda’s attempt at a “new” Civic, I almost can’t stand it. I was excited when I heard they were going back to the drawing board after feeling the heat of the new competition, but at the same time, apprehensive. To me, that move was a two-fold. On the one hand, I was happy to see they recognized their shortcomings and went back to square one to rectify it. On the other, what kinda of mediocre garbage HAD they planned on giving us in the first place?
    The new Civic looks like the current Corolla and Civic got frisky. Literally. That’s the only difference I can see in the body. The interior is also a profound step in the wrong direction. It doesn’t flow from a design standpoint. At all.
     
    I’ve owned a 2006 Civic Si and a 2010 Civic EX-L sedan with navi. The Si, in four years, had it’s transmission replaced three times (I fought them for two years before they’d fess up to the wholly underpublicized 3rd gear issue), and it never was really fixed, the SRS airbags malfunctioned twice in the passenger seat, the power steering died twice as a part stopped sending signals to the car, the door panels couldn’t stay connected, it had starting issues, the alcantara fabric was wearing after 2,000 miles, the subwoofer cracked like four times, and it had a ridiculously bad rev hang.
    That said, it was probably one of the most fun to drive cars I’ve ever owned. It had a sleek coupe exterior, the Fiji Blue color was gorgeous, the seats comfortable and gripping, was fuel efficient, and, when working, the transmission was a pleasure.
    It got to be too much of a problem and Honda wasn’t willing to help me at all. The transmission was what bit it for me and the build quality. I thought, at first, maybe I was just unlucky.
    Then I bought my 2010 EX-L last May. In 14,000 miles, the cable reel in the steering column broke (and it just broke in the last 100 again), the heated seat heaters stopped working on both seats, the clip that holds the leather to the underside of the seats broke off, and the blower motor died…twice in the middle of subzero Minnesota winter. It has also, from the first frost-ridden night, exhibited major starting problems.
    It’s a damn shame, because truthfully, as of the last gen compact segment, the Civic was easily the most well-rounded (the Mazda3 is still the best, if you ask me, fuel economy aside). It was arguable one of the more attractive compact cars, fun to drive, decently fuel efficient, and had decent materials. But I can’t explain or justify all of these problems.
    I’ve owned three heavily used American cars from the 90s in my life, and combined, they had less problems than my Civic Si did.
    I can effectively say that while I want to love Honda, I probably won’t ever buy one again. Which is truly a shame, because the Si was a great little car. And I don’t care what anyone says, that two-tiered speedometer, love it or hate it aesthetically speaking, is fantastic. I hated it for the first five minutes but now I can’t imagine being without it.

  • avatar
    Ion

    Heres whats wrong

    1 the gas pedal is no longer hinged to the floor
    2 they expanded the upper split dash
    3 the waythe heated seat control is on the center console is a waste of space
    4 they ruined the e-brake integration
    5 what happened to fit and finish?

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