I am not a fan of new Civic. I think it is a very conservative version of outgoing Civic. Honda has played it very safe with the design of new Civic. It's an evolution of 8th Gen but a very boring one.
But i can understand Honda has done it. When 8th Gen Civic came out, its design wasn't very well received for quite long time(like 1-2 years) especially in US. I am sure all have heard on auto forums people saying 'new Civic looks like a spaceship' 'new Civic = batmobile'...etc.
Especially interior design was hard to swallow for both new buyers and Honda fans who were used to their simple looking Hondas. In many ways it is same story repeating as with BMW. BMW fans were used to their simple and effortless looking BMWs but then came the 2001 BMW 7 Series design by Chris Bangle and gave a big shock to all especially fans. No doubt Bangle designed BMWs sold well but designs were very polarizing and controversial so for current generation BMW are taking far less risk. Look at new 7, 6 Series, X3. They are conservative evolutions of their respective predecessors.
No doubt design of 8th Gen was ahead of it's time. And that is the thing i loved about the Civic. 8th Gen was so ahead of the competition. But now story is different. Honda has taken far less risk and their new car isn't very special, isn't very different from the rivals, there isn't any significant improvement or innovation so there is bound to be criticism. Reality is others like Hyundai, Ford, GM are raising their game but Honda hasn't.
Interior looks same, Engine is same and guess what same old now outdated 5 speed Auto gearbox. New Civic has become jack of all trades and master of none. This philisophy is strictly very unHonda like who always excelled AT LEAST in one department compared to competition. Performance or Fuel Efficiency or handling. But new 9th Gen Civic is a bencmark in no measurable department.
But it is a Honda so it will sell. Sell on past reputation. But this 'resting on their laurels' attitude won't last long as competition is very fierce.
Excuse me for the long post, but these are honest words from a very passionate Honda fan.