As gas prices hover around $4 per gallon in many cities, small cars are in high demand as fuel-efficiency becomes a top priority. Not only does the latest crop of small nearly reach or exceed 40 miles per gallon on the highway, but these cars aren’t the “ecoboxes” of years ago.
Today, small cars borrow technology, styling cues, and creature comforts from luxury cars. Although prices in the compact segment have gone up in the last five to six years, consumers are at least benefitting from the availability of more content and features.
The just-launched 2012 Honda Civic is of course leading this dramatic evolution of the economy car. Now in its ninth generation, the Civic remains one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. But for 2012, it’s also more stylish than before, with its sloping hood, an arcing roof line, and a split-level dashboard.
The standard Civic’s fuel efficiency is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway. An all-new Civic HF model is rated at 41 mpg on the highway. There’s also a Civic Hybrid, with Honda’s first use of a lithium-ion battery, rated at 44 mpg in the city and on the highway.
These days, Honda has plenty of competition. Not only is it battling the usual entries from Toyota and Nissan, but Hyundai, Kia, and Ford, are all offering competitive products in the compact segment. Honda’s reputation for efficiency, reliability, and value, will undoubtedly make the new Civic a success. However, the car will also find plenty of buyers for its range of comfort and tech goodies that help it standout from its processor.