Naughty or Nice: Hotly Anticipated New Models


The process of seeing new cars evolve from sketches to concepts to production cars on sale creates anticipation and excitement over the months and years it takes to release or redesign a car. Driving these cars for the first time can quickly confirm our high hopes, or squash them flat like the chances of getting an unaltered “Han shot first” Blu-ray version of “Star Wars” this holiday season.
More Naughty or Nice Picks


Naughty: 2012 Honda Civic Si

The redesigned 2012 Civic Si has taken a turn toward mediocrity with a softer, more comfort-oriented suspension replacing the previous version’s renowned nimble handling. editor Kelsey Mays says in his Si review, “As a factory performance compact, it falls short, especially given the competition.” We don’t mind the regular Civic going soft like it did for 2012, but it’s a shame to see the sport-compact Si head in the same direction.

Nice: 2012 Volkswagen Passat

For 2012, the Passat is significantly larger and significantly less expensive than the outgoing model. We’re talking $7,200 less than 2010 Passat, which is the last model year sold in the U.S., and it has one of the largest backseats around. Unlike the smaller Jetta that took a hit in its interior niceness with its redesign, the Passat makes few sacrifices for its new packaging. A diesel version rated at 43 mpg on the highway seals the deal.



while i don't think the passat (or it's jetta twin) look hideous, i'd hardly call them nice. the styling is plain and something toyota would have come up the 90s.

Richard Joash Tan

and don't forget, the passat was built in an assembly plant at Chattanooga.



Do you view that as a positive or negative? My Honda was built/assembled in Ohio and it has been a great reliable car, and American workers have jobs because of it. There are BMWs being built in Spartanburg, and Mercedes M-class elsewhere in the US. A VW built in the US at a more competitive price, isn't that a great thing?


Just heard that the current gen Civic is so bad, that Honda is moving up the re-design for next year. This will be the shortest gen Civic ever currently. Honda is improving quality and handling issues as well as design. I guess they got scarred when the Cruze started outselling the Civic this year


But the Toyota Corolla is much worse than the Civic, and do you see Toyota redesigning that? Nope. They rely on their loyalists rather than real design innovation, because the design has basically been the same for a good ten years. Clearly, new buyers are going over to brands like Hyundai, Kia, and Chevy. It shows which brands will be successful in the future. While the Civic needs a redesign, is it as bad as the current corolla?


Yes, the Corolla has been the same, which means the same high quality interior is still there. Honda did cost cutting with their "new" model and Toyota just did a refresh, but the same quality. I have driven both and the Corolla is noticably higher in quality even though the design is pleasant, but not the newest.

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