The Honda Civic has long been considered one of Consumer Reports' top-ranked small sedans. But the model's 2012 redesign scored too low on the magazine's testing to be recommended.
Compared to the previous model, which received a score of 78, the new Civic LX scored only 61 on a 100-point scale.
While Consumer Reports maintains that the new Honda Civic will continue to be as reliable as its predecessors, it says the new model failed to live up to the standards set by an increasingly competitive field of small sedans, such as the Chevrolet Cruze, the 2012 Ford Focus, and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra.
"The new Civic feels insubstantial with a cheap interior," said Consumer Reports in a statement. "Stopping distances are long. the steering is lightly weighted and comes up short on feedback. Body lean appears early in the corners. The ride is marred by frequent short pitches. And road noise still remains an annoying companion."
Honda, for its part, was quick to respond to the ratings slide:
“In a broad sense, we disagree with Consumer Reports’ findings. Without question, the small sedan segment is more competitive than ever. In virtually every way, the completely redesigned 2012 Civic is a step forward. The new Civic excels in areas that matter to small-car customers, including fuel efficiency, safety, and reliability."
Watch Consumer Reports' video about the 2012 Honda Civic: