The Honda Civic's fall from grace

Honda Civic

Consumer Reports has stripped the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic's influential endorsement.

It is no longer a "Recommended" model. In fact, the magazine ranked it second-to-last among the 12 small sedans it tested.

Because Civic is a perennial favorite of Consumer Reports, its fall from grace has not gone unnoticed.

Media from the New York Times to NBC News have issued reports on the announcement.

Hey, and look, here I am blogging about it myself.

But what does the loss of this endorsement really mean for consumers and Honda? Probably not very much.

Although Civic is typically highly rated by the magazine, over the years it has sporadically slipped from the magazine's top tier of small-car rankings.

It didn't matter; Civic continued selling well.

Consumer Reports is just one source of information for car shoppers. It certainly has a role, particularly in areas of reliability, but it is just one of many publications and website evaluating cars.

In an announcement that appeared on its website earlier this month, Consumer Reports said it couldn't give the 2012 Civic its "Recommended" rating for a number of reasons -- none of them relating to reliability.

Among the problems it cited were long stopping distances, excessive road noise, a choppy ride and a cheap interior.

Civic managed an overall score of just 61 out of a possible 100.

But the car Consumer Reports purchased for its evaluation was one of the least costly versions, 2012 Civic LX.

You have to wonder if a more expensive and better-equipped model, such as the Civic EX or Si, might have fared better in the magazine's tests.

They come, for example, with disc brakes on all four wheels and could stop more quickly than the Civic LX, which has disc brakes in front and drum brakes in the rear.

I haven't had a chance to drive the 2012 Civic, so I can't support or dispute Consumer Reports' findings.

But Edmunds.com's review of the all-new Civic was also less than enthusiastic.

What was the magazine's top pick among other small cars in the same evaluation?

The Hyundai Elantra, with an overall score of 80.

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