2012 New York - Honda debuts refreshed version of 9th generation Civic

That the wheels of fortune turn around and don’t stay still is a known fact. But, that it does so quickly was not known until now. Thanks to Honda, we have realized that fortunes change at the blink of an eye. The Japanese manufacturer learnt it the hard way recently with the Civic, which is not only one of Honda’s highest selling models globally but also one of the most successful nameplates in automotive history. Yes, the brand 'Civic' has existed since 1972 and has passed through eight full generation changes, closing in on 20 million customers across the world in the process. Moreover, the Civic has been the default benchmark in its segment for close to two decades now, with the eighth generation model being amongst the finest Civics ever made.

Yes, that is the model that's still on sale in India while rest of the world have moved forward to the next generation model.

So, when Honda launched the ninth generation Civic in 2011, they would have, at least, expected it to maintain the standards set by the previous model if not better it. All those plans were crushed into pieces when the media gave a collective thumbs down to the all-new Civic. Not one, not two, but every other journalist and automotive enthusiast who got to drive the new Civic gave it an ample dose of thrashing. Reviewers found the new Civic to be lacking in design, interior quality, driving dynamics and power output compared to the old Civic. Surprisingly though, for all the flak that it received, sales of the new model were not affected and the Civic continued to be a top seller, even in USA where it was heavily criticized.

All these negative publicity forced Honda to come out with a significant facelift in just a year after the new model was launched, something that has never happened in the automotive industry, atleast in the recent past. Referred to as an 'emergency refresh' in industry circles, the face-lifted Civic made its debut a few hours back at the 2012 New York Auto Show.

Without touching the main sheet metal portions of the car, Honda has done a brilliant job and has brought in much-needed flamboyance to the Civic's design. Headlights and taillights get some elaborate detailing along with a bigger mesh grille and bumper that now accommodate more chrome than before. Just like the eighth generation Civic, taillights now extend into the boot and the new Civic creates an overall impression of a mini Accord. The interiors have been refreshed too and Honda has added luxury and safety content to make the Civic feature-rich. As always, Sedan and Coupe body-styles are available with customers also getting a wide choice of power-train to choose from - Natural Gas, Hybrid, Regular and Si. With all these changes, the Civic is now better equipped to handle pressure from strong competitors such as Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Jetta.

Sadly for us, India isn't on the list of markets where Honda is planning to launch this Civic. Though its rather unfortunate to miss out, there just isn't a market for premium petrol cars in India. So, what got us excited then about the new Civic then? It was these shots of the sporty Civic Si variant, which is back with killer looks and stunning road presence to go with its powerful engine and sportier handling.

Let the prayers for getting this in India begin!


  1. i think such a giant in auto maker wont make any noticeable blunder like compromising in car performance... otherwise design part and looks may differ aomng individuals. If performance is ignored then it cant switch to next gen. Instead of next gen they could have termed as toned down current gen...
    Just my view...

    1. Well said Sri, the fact that Honda has come out with a facelfit in just a year proves that they have taken the criticism seriously. As for looks, yes, they are subjective and depends on the individual's perspective. While we think that this facelift looks good, there are people who are reporting that this isn't.