2012 Honda Civic Hybrid 1.5 IMA Li-Ion battery from North America
Well built and under-valued, makes a great deal
Mud shields fell off when it hydroplaned at 80MPH; no other damage.
Broke the negative battery terminal sensor while trying to pound it on with a hammer. Battery light came on. The sensor on the negative battery terminal is used to tell the alternator to turn on and off for more efficiency, but the car will still run and charge just fine. I bought a 2017 terminal because it looked like a better design with same connectors. It was not compatible :-(. Got the same year terminal for $50 off eBay.
Tune up, fluids changed after purchase.
Some info about the car:
2012 was the first year they started using Li-Ion Batteries instead of the old NiCad. The battery was moved from the trunk to the back seat. Li-Ions supposedly last longer. These cars also had a software update in 2014 to help with longevity/efficiency.
The 1.5L engine has a timing chain instead of belt :-), no need to change until ~200k miles - Source, Honda dealership.
The engine takes 8 spark plugs, I replaced with Autozone spark plugs in a pinch, but Denso and NGK plugs are recommended.
Takes 0w20 synthetic oil, I change it every ~10k miles.
Takes regular green anti freeze.
Takes regular Dot3 brake fluid; it has a big secondary reservoir, not sure why.
Has electric power steering, no fluid needed.
I changed the trans fluid with dealership ATF; I hear if you change it more often the CVT will drive and catch better. Might switch brands.
There isn't much online info on forums to find on these late hybrids, but it has been rock solid since I bought it. I got it for $5500, the seller bought it for $2000 because it was previously stolen and keyed, and the keys were lost. So they flipped it to me.
There is a dent in the drive door which can leak air at high speeds.
The car handles well on the highway and in the snow in Colorado.
The dashboard looks great and and is driver centric.
Climate control isn't perfect, like most.
The main pet peeve I have with this is the drive train; the CVT transmission is too smooth; I'm used to the clunky automatics and manuals, and I'm starting to miss that. The CVT can take be sloppy when engaging, say when I start it in the morning and put in reverse, the car doesn't start rolling, until I give it some gas, and if you rev it up too high, it will jerk and catch. But learning how to treat the CVT hasn't been that bad.
As for the engine, I think it's well designed; the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) is simple and not overly dependent; if the electric motor or battery fail then the car will still run (unlike a Prius). The low end torque it gives is nice when you're accelerating, until you hit 5000 RPM, and hear the little engine giving its all. Same with most CVT cars i.e.: 2012 Subaru Outback. But you can set the shifter to S mode and zip around cities all day with comfort and economy. A benefit of this is you can drive with a lead foot all day and still get gas mileage above 36MPG. It was built to encourage you to drive efficiently, but you don't have to. I get 41MPG when the car is full with weight and a heavy foot, and 45MPG when it's empty with a light foot on the gas.
I think this car fits anyone that wants dependability and economy. It's not exciting though. The double edged sword is value; so many hybrids are cheap to buy used, because they seem more problematic to most buyers. I disagree, I think these hybrids will go as long as other vehicles, and batteries are only getting cheaper. So if you bought a new hybrid, it's best not to sell, because the depreciation is steep. But if you're looking to buy a used hybrid, then you're getting an amazing deal, along with the gas savings; you're going to hit a breakeven point on gas even sooner. For example my GF bought a 2012 Outback for $20k, 28MPG, pays $300 loan/$100 insurance. I got my 2012 Civic 44MPG for $5.5k and pay $120 loan & $100 insurance. And spend $20 in gas every 2.5 weeks. If I were to trade it in, I would get a Chevy Volt (also undervalued), because it will save even more, but I'd rather have the quality of Honda.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th March, 2018