2012 Honda Civic Hatchback Review and First Drive

by under Review on 26 Jun 2012 08:49:58 PM26 Jun 2012
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km


With the 2011 flooding of its factory in Thailand and earthquakes in Japan causing supply issues, Honda Australia has had a tough start to 2012. With production back in full swing, Honda Australia plans to finish the year of with a bang and the 2012 Honda Civic hatchback will help.


The latest five star ANCAP rated Honda Civic hatchback is European styled and built at its plant in Swindon, UK. The Honda Civic is a very important car for the Japanese manufacturer the latest model launched in Australia today is 9th generation Honda Civic that has spanned 40 years


2012 Honda Civic Hatchback Overview

The 2012 Honda Civic hatchback is available two variants the entry level VTi-S and the top spec'd VTi-L. The entry-level VTi-S includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic air-con and USB connectivity. The VTi-L gains cruise control with a speed limiter, rear view parking camera, folding door mirrors plus automatic electric rear windows. It also brings dual-zone air-con, Bluetooth Hands Free Telephone, front fog lamps, auto headlights and wipers, leather steering wheel and gear knob, ambient interior lighting and seven-speaker audio system.


The full 2012 Honda Civic hatchback range is

VTi-S manual – $22,650
VTi-S automatic – $24,950
VTi-L automatic – $29,990

2012 Honda Civic Engine

You’ll find the same engine in the hatchback as you will find in the sedan. The Honda Civic hatchback range retains the same 1.8-litre, four-cylinder powerplant with 104kW at 6500rpm and peak torque of 174Nm at 4300rpm.


The combined cycle fuel consumption for Honda Civic hatchback is as low as 6.1l/100kms (manual) while the auto is rated at 6.5l/100kms. It produces only 146 grams of CO2 per km, a 10 percent reduction from the predecessor, the new engine also meets EURO4 emission standards.

2012 Honda Civic The Interior

Honda has updated the interior for the 2012 Civic but has retained the same over all feel as the outgoing model. The design has focused on getting the cockpit spot on for the driver, they have taken inspiration from a fighter jet and race car. Getting the focus right they have spilt the cockpit in to three areas. The first is the “driver focus” meaning a clear and large viewing area of the road . The second is the “driver interface” think instrumental panel, heads up display and trip computer. The last is the “comfort zone” here we have the climate control and audio system. 


One of the most impressive features of is the dive down seats in the rear. The clever design allows the seats to lay fully flat, this allow the luggage capacity to go from a respectable 390 litres to a whopping 1120 litres when folded.


In an effort to be green the main instruments change colour to ‘coach’ you in fuel-efficient driving green means you’re doing well blue means you have a heavy right foot. The steering wheel adjustable for rake and reach with the usual audio controls on both models and Bluetooth and cruise control on the VTi-L. 


Audio is a CD/MP3/WMA system with four speakers in the VTi-S model and the VTi-L has a seven speaker system including tweeters and a sub-woofer. Both models also have USB and iPod compatibility and speed-sensitive volume compensation.

2012 Honda Civic Exterior & Styling

The styling is an evolution of the outgoing model. Some might feel that the space age concept has gone a little too far, but the team at Carshowroom loves cars that push the boundaries. The new Civic 20mm lower but 10mm wider than the outgoing model, this stance gives an even more sportier and space age look to the car. It is available in a choice of seven exterior colours and two interior colours.


The front of the Civic hatchback is sportier and more aggressive than its sedan sibling. The short bonnet slopes down in to a Y shaped black grille with large Honda logo in the centre. The LED running lights are nice addition. The aggressive body flows down the side of the car past the colour coded mirrors in to the redesigned rear.

The rear of the car sees the rear lights and brake combination moved higher up, they also double as the rear spoiler that helps with aerodynamic by managing airflow over the top of the car.


Fans of the existing three-door model will need to look elsewhere as this is a five-door only model.

2012 Honda Civic On The Road

We had the opportunity to sample VTi-S six speed manual and the range topping VTi-L five speed auto on a looped drive from Sydney to Wollongong. A complaint about the outgoing Civic hatch was that the ride was too firm. Honda took this feed back on board and has improved the suspension set-up and also strengthened the body to improve control. 


The steering is light but feedback might be a little on the light side for some drivers. During the twisty section of our test drive the Honda Civic was well balanced with a hint of over steer when pushed hard, there was no sign of body roll in high speed corning. The six speed manual gear box was a great performer, the changes are precise and the gear box is light and predictable.

Switching back in to the five speed auto for the drive back to Sydney we expected to confronted with an underpowered and sluggish car – we were wrong. The five speed automatic has great gear ratios and kicks down gears perfectly when required. 


A couple of other notable change across the range was the improvement in cabin noise and the new hill start assist.

2012 Honda Civic Hatchback Challenges

The most obvious issues would be the lack of cruise control option on the entry level models (non dealer option only,) Also you cant have an integrated dealer fitted sat-nav – portable only for Civic hatchback owners.

2012 Honda Civic Hatchback Competition

Where do you began? The $40,000 and below small car segment is busy, there are around 27 different cars to choose from. With so many different hatchbacks to select from finding one should be easy.

It’s also hard to go past the best selling car in the country the Mazda 3. It’s priced from $20,330 for the entry neo manual, with the option to have integrated sat-nav it might be enough to tip you in the Mazda. 


Volkswagen Golf - Honda benchmarked the latest Civic hatch against the Euro superstar. Priced from $21,990 77TSI the euro street cred might be just the right fit.

Hyundai have just launched their latest iteration of the great i30 with its great new look and options list as long as your arm the car from South Korea is priced from $19,500

If none of these sound right you can always look at the Ford Focus (from $21,990) Holden Cruze (priced from $21,990), Subaru Impreza (priced from $23,990) and the ever reliable Toyota Corolla which is priced from $20,990.

2012 Honda Civic Verdict

Why would you buy one? Honda cars have a reputation of being bullet proof and you can expect the latest Civic hatchback to be the same. The new starting price of only $22,650 is also a massive coup. Load in some sharp looks and nearly 1200 litres of cargo space and you are on to a winner.



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