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2012 Honda Civic EX-L (photos)

Honda's new Civic doesn't look too different from the old one, but the devil's in the details.

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Antuan Goodwin
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1 of 25 Josh Miller/CNET
If you're not looking for the changes, you could mistake this 2012 Honda Civic sedan for an older model. Look closer and you'll see that Honda has tweaked the design.
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The new Civic hasn't grown much in size, but the vehicle has grown up in image with a less aggressive nose and a much smoother ride.
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Under the hood is a rather pedestrian 1.8-liter engine. You'll find no turbocharging or direct-injection tech at work here.
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The Honda achieves its EPA fuel economy numbers under the influence of the Econ mode, which optimizes efficiency at the expense of some performance.
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Power exits through the front wheels by way of a five-speed automatic transmission. The object of the Civic's game is efficiency, so there is no Sport or manual shift mode to get the driver's hopes up about fun.
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The Civic's profile may look low-slung, but the sedan's upright seating position and the glassy greenhouse afford the driver nearly 360 degrees of visibility.
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Redesigned headlamps and taillamps will be your best indicator that you're looking at a new Honda Civic.
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The more rounded and organic design goes a long way toward making the Civic look less like a spaceship than the previous generation does.
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The trunk is quite spacious, with a 60/40-split pass-through for long or bulky objects.
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Inside, the Civic's cabin is smartly organized, but the dashboard materials feel cheap and hard to the touch.
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The steering wheel falls nicely into the hand thanks to telescopic adjustment. Our EX-L model's wheel is wrapped in leather.
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Information is organized into three major areas. The first area is this upper brow, where the most important information (speed, fuel levels, and fuel economy) is kept close in the driver's field of view.
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13 of 25 Josh Miller/CNET
In the LX and EX models, the I-MID also resides in the upper brow where it displays a variety of secondary information. For example, here it displays metadata from iPod playback, complete with album artwork.
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The I-MID can also display radio station data, in this case XM Satellite Radio.
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Trip computer data is also displayed by the I-MID. We averaged 33.3 mpg over the course of our testing, which included a 700-mile trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back.
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Navigation directions are also mirrored on the I-MID as the vehicle approaches the next turn.
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Steering-wheel controls allow interaction with the I-MID and the audio system. Dedicated voice buttons enable you to make hands-free calls or initiate navigation.
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Just below the upper brow is the larger instrument cluster where you will find a large tachometer, various warning lights, and a transmission gear indicator.
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Farther down in the center of the dashboard is the optional navigation display. The maps are of the same low resolution that we've been groaning about for almost a decade now, but the rest of the infotainment system has seen upgrades.
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For starters, Bluetooth audio streaming joins the ranks of digital audio sources that the Honda Civic can handle.
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The USB/iPod interface has been restructured and now allows fast browsing of large libraries.
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Hands-free calling is standard on the EX trim level.
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Destination entry is still a bit of a mess, but by the end of our week with the Civic, navigating the navigation interface had become second nature.
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Satellite radio joins the list of audio sources at the EX trim level.
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The USB input can be found in the center console. You'll have to bring your own iPod cable, but the Honda will accept it natively.

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