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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Dec. 06, 2023

2012 Honda Civic Review: Has It Aged Well? It's Pros And Cons Today, Reliability, And Possible Mechanical Problems

Related: How To Get The Best Deal On A "Brand New" Honda Civic

In today's high-priced car market, many buyers are looking for "older" vehicles that have aged well as a way to save hard earned dollars. Of course, this only has a chance of working out well if the buyer sticks to models that have already historically proven to be reliable.

2012 Honda Civic Sedan

The 2012 Honda Civic, while having some mechanical issues, as all cars do, has earned a very good overall reputation for reliability and durability. Purchasing one today, if done carefully, can be a practical and budget-friendly choice. Its enduring reliability, decent fuel efficiency, and timeless design could make it an appealing option for buyers seeking a dependable and cost-effective daily driver.

However, buyers should weigh the aging technology and potential mechanical concerns against the advantages of affordability and reliability before making a decision.

So here, ...

- We'll take a look at the 2012 Civic's overall pros and cons.

- Next, we'll review its features as it was originally released in 2012.

- And then we'll list mechanical problems that some owners have experienced that should be checked before buying.

But first, two very important suggestions ...

1. Know How To Get The Lowest Used Car Price:

Get Dealers To Compete For your Business: When you are searching vehicles to possibly purchase, the following is the absolute best way to get the lowest price, and it is extremely easy and stress-free.

Just go to a national car listing site, (I happen to prefer for their massive dealer participation and ease of use, although others will get the job done as well) and find several listed vehicles that you may be interested in.

Then write something like the following in the "Check Availability" box or "Contact Dealer" box or whatever the site you are using uses.

"Hello, I've contacted several dealers about cars I am interested in and am looking for the best value. I am also a serious buyer planning to make a decision soon. Please send me your best out-the-door price. Thank you.

After receiving the offers, follow up by explaining that based on the price, you're leaning in another direction but still really like their car and would certainly consider another offer. When dealers drop out, you'll know you're at the best price.

Using the internet to get dealers to compete for your business is extremely important. More details on this and how to intereact with the dealers can be found here at Best Used Car Buying Techniques.

2. Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle:

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the dealer or private seller, it's best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

2012 Honda Civic Pros

Affordability: In the current high-priced market, buying a reliable used car can save a significant amount of money.

Reliability: Honda has a reputation for building reliable vehicles, and the Civic is no exception. It generally has a good track record for durability and low maintenance costs.

Depreciation: Since the car has already undergone a significant amount of depreciation, the rate of value loss might be slower compared to buying a more recent model.

Fuel Efficiency: The Civic typically offers good fuel economy, which is a significant plus for many buyers looking for a cost-effective daily driver.

Comfort: It provides a comfortable ride for both driver and passengers, with decent legroom and comfortable seating.

Safety: The 2012 model came equipped with standard safety features like antilock brakes, stability control, and front-seat side airbags.

2012 Honda Civic Cons

Potential Issues: As it's an older vehicle, there might be a higher likelihood of encountering mechanical issues compared to a newer car. However, a thorough inspection and maintenance history check can mitigate this concern. (More of mechanical issues below.)

Outdated Features: The 2012 model might lack some of the modern features found in newer cars, including updated technology, safety features, and conveniences.

Lifespan: Depending on the usage, a 2012 model likely has higher mileage, which could impact its remaining lifespan. However, if well-maintained, Hondas can often go for many miles without significant issues.

Interior Quality: Some critics and owners found fault with the interior materials, which they felt were not up to par with previous Civic models and lacked a premium feel.

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Styling: The exterior design of the 2012 Civic received criticism for being somewhat bland or uninspired compared to previous iterations.

Road Noise: Some owners noted that road noise could be more noticeable in the cabin than they'd prefer, especially on rougher roads or at higher speeds.

Suspension and Handling: While the ride quality is generally comfortable, some enthusiasts found the suspension to be a bit soft, impacting the car's handling and agility.

2012 Honda Civic Review

The 2012 Civic is among the leaders in the compact car segment, although no longer as dominant as it once was due to major improvements by solid competitors. It has had an illustrious history of providing pleasant, reliable and fuel efficient transportation, while also offering enough powertrain and body style choices to meet the needs of a large portion of car shoppers.

And new for 2012 is a useful, if somewhat subtle, redesign. While there were some modest styling changes, of more significance is a new model offering improved gas mileage performance, as well as the Si being on the receiving end of a power boost. While the fuel economy numbers for most 2012 Civic models are right around the same as 2011, the new Civic HF offers an impressive EPA rating of 41 mpg on the highway.

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While the new 2.4-liter engine (up from 2.0) for the Si generates livelier torque for those who value a fiester drive, both gas mileage and power were increased for the Civic Hybrid model as well.

Inside, cabin space has been increased with 3 additional inches of upfront shoulder room as well as 1.6 inches of additional rear legroom. And new features include a very nice 5-inch information display, additional iPod connectivity availability and standard stability control across the entire lineup.

All told, the 2012 Civic has been a solid and appealing choice. But that said, strong moves by competitors at the time has also leveled the playing field for the once dominant Civic. Those shopping the small car segment may also want to consider worthy rivals such as the Chevy Cruze, the Ford Focus the Hyundai Elantra and the Volkswagen Jetta.

Trims, Standard Features And Options:

The 2012 Honda Civic is available in either coupe or sedan form. It's wide range of trims include the DX, LX, EX, Si, and Hybrid. There will also be a super-clean Natural Gas model offered later in the year.

Standard features on the base Civic DX model include power windows, a rear window defroster with timer, a 12-volt power outlet, 2-speed intermittent wipers, a tire pressure monitoring system, daytime running lights, auto-off headlights, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a fold-down rear seatback and 15-inch steel wheels.

Moving up to the very popular LX model adds air-conditioning, power door locks, power mirrors, a multi-information display (i-MID) with a color screen, cruise control, illuminated steering-wheel-mounted audio and i-MID controls, keyless entry, body-color door handles and a 4-speaker stereo system with a CD player and auxiliary/USB audio inputs.

The new fuel-economy oriented Civic HF sedan is equipped like the LX, but has upgrades to boost fuel efficiency, including aerodynamic cast-aluminum wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires, a rear spoiler and more wind resistant underbody panels.

Those who opt for the Civic EX get a sunroof, auto-on/off headlights, Bluetooth, rear disc brakes, 16-inch alloy wheels, an outside temperature display, variable intermittent wipers, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks and a premium 7-speaker audio system, while the top-of-the-line EX-L adds a leather interior, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats. Also available is an optional voice-controlled navigation system with real-time traffic and satellite radio.

2012 Honda Civic Coupe

The Civic Hybrid is offered in two models. The base hybrid comes standard with features similar to the regular EX sedan, plus exterior mirrors with turn signals, a rear spoiler, 15-inch alloy wheels, low-rolling-resistance tires, LED taillights and a 160-watt, 6-speaker audio system.

The Civic Hybrid "Leather" trim is outfitted like the regular EX-L with features such as leather upholstery, heated front seats and heated mirrors.

The sportier-performing Civic Si models come standard with a larger and more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip front differential, front and rear spoilers, a chrome exhaust tip and foglights.

Standard interior features include most of those found in the EX model, in addition to front sport seats, Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, gauges with red backlights, a unique Power Monitor display, an aluminum shift knob and a 7-speaker audio system.

Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:

The 2012 Civic is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with most models equipped with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 140-horsepower and 128-pound-feet of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard while a 5-speed automatic is optional (both the HF and EX come standard with the automatic).

The EPA-estimated gas mileage for this engine is quite good, ranging from a low of 28 mpg city and 36 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission to a high of 29 mpg city and 41 mpg highway with the HF.

Public Car Auction Database

Under the hood of the Civic Hybrid is a 1.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that was given a power boost this year. They combine to generate 110-horsepower and 127-pound-feet of torque and are mated with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The fuel economy for the Hybrid is EPA-rated at 44 city and 44 highway, a 3 mpg improvement over last year's model.

Powering the Civic Si is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (up from a 2.0-liter last year) which pumps out 201-horsepower and 170-pound-feet. It's paired only with a 6-speed manual transmission and, despite the added gusto, still manages a commendable EPA rating of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg on the highway.


Standard safety features on all 2012 Honda Civics include stability control, antilock brakes (four-wheel discs on the Si and EX), brake assist, front-seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.

Govenment crash tests had not yet been completed on the new Civic at the time of this writing. However, the 2011 Honda Civic received five out of five stars for front-impact occupant protection (both front and rear), five stars for rear passenger protection in side impacts and four stars for front passenger protection in side impacts.


2012 Honda Civic interior

The Civic's cabin is attractive, well laid-out and user-friendly. A plus this year is the addition of a 5-inch information and entertainment monitor display and interface with hands-free phone use.

Passenger room has also been slightly enlarged this year, as has the trunk to a total capacity of 12.5 cubic feet in the sedan and 11.7 cubes in the coupe. Due to the battery pack, trunk space in the hybrid is smaller at 10.7 cubic feet.

The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear. However, while the overall look and feel of the interior is adequate, it has fallen behind those of strong competitors who have upgraded in recent years. There's just a bit too much low quality plastic that detracts from its appeal.


On the road, the 2012 Civic is one of the top-driving cars in its segment. The sedan and coupe models both possess a nice balance between ride quality and handling ... and all accomplished while turning in an impressive fuel economy performance.

The suspension does a commendable job of muting the impact of most road bumps and rough spots, the power produced by the 1.8-liter engine is quite adequate and the steering is precise. That said, wind noise is higher than average on the highway.

Those seeking a more athletic performance will likely be pleased with the Civic Si. It's added torque, sport-tuned suspension and improved electric-assist power steering make it a distinctly livelier and more capable car to drive.

2012 Honda Civic Mechanical Problem Watchlist:

While generally considered quite reliable, like any car model, some owners experienced various mechanical issues over time. The potential issues below should therefore be included in an inspection before buying.

It's important to note that while these issues were reported by some owners, not all vehicles experienced these problems. Regular maintenance and timely servicing can help prevent or mitigate many of these potential mechanical issues.

Transmission Issues: Some owners reported problems with the automatic transmission, such as jerking or hesitation during shifts. This was more prevalent in early models of the 2012 Civic.

Engine Block Cracks: There were reported cases of engine block cracks in some 2012 Civics. This issue might result in coolant leaks or engine overheating.

Excessive Oil Consumption: This has been reported by a small number of owners and was usually fixed by replacing the piston rings.

Braking System: Some owners experienced premature wear on the brake pads and rotors, leading to reduced braking performance or squeaking noises.

Air Conditioning Problems: There were instances of air conditioning system failures or issues with cooling, including problems with the compressor or leaks in the system.

Electrical System: Complaints about electrical issues, such as malfunctioning power windows, faulty dashboard displays, or problems with the audio system, were reported by some owners.

Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting The Lowest Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Honda Civic if the price was really good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.

And checkout our Facebook page for more tips, car news and fun.

Other Older Model Articles:
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2011 Honda Accord
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2011 Honda Fit
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Older Used Honda Fit
Other Oldar Used Hondas
Older Used Civic Coupe
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