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Sunday, May 26, 2013

2013 Honda Civic


The 2013 Honda Civic takes a step back in the right direction with an impressive feature set, a sophisticated new look, and much-improved refinement.  Excellent new standard-feature listQuiet, refined ride44-mpg HybridLacks backseat headroomMushy brakesDali-esque dash Choose One of the Styles Below

Gas I4, 1.8L

Front Wheel Drive 

Gas I4, 1.8L

Front Wheel Drive 

Gas I4, 1.8L

Front Wheel Drive 

Gas I4, 1.8L

While the Honda Civic may have seen a redesign in 2012, the new model fell short of meeting the expectations of discerning small-car shoppers. That’s because while the market moved toward more refinement, sophistication, and features, the Civic kept it basic—perhaps too basic. With that in mind, Honda's 2013 Civic has seen yet another redesign, this time with a more sophisticated look, better technology, better materials, more features, and more refinement.

Although the 2013 Civic is really just a mid-cycle refresh, it’s one of the most substantial we’ve seen, and it arguably completely changes the look and feel of the vehicle. From the outside, the Accord-influenced exterior does indeed cast the Civic in a new light from the outside. With a front-end look that clearly follows the Accord’s face, as well as a new ‘open-mouth’ lower bumper, horizontal chrome accent, and black honeycomb mesh grille—as well as integrated fog lamps for the upper trims and new clear-lens cornering lamps (plus a chrome finishing bar in back and new Accord-like rear bumper design), the Civic looks more sophisticated from the outside. Inside, Honda hasn’t completely redesigned the funky contours of the instrument panel, but it’s redone pretty much all of the materials and surfaces, subbing in requisite soft-touch dash materials.

Performance is one area where the 2013 Civic is mostly unchanged--although some modest suspension changes (firmer springs, stiffer anti-roll bar, quieter bushings, and quicker steering ratio) go a long way toward making this staid compact sedan feel a little perkier again. Much of the lineup continues with the 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Si models get a more muscly 201-hp, 2.4-liter four, and Civic Hybrid models will be back with their IMA mild-hybrid system that provides EPA ratings of 44 mpg, city and highway. Front brake rotors also get an upgrade in size, although we've noted that brake feel is a little mushy.

Honda has made major gains in refinement translate to a far more pleasant cabin experience. Its body has been stiffened with more high-strength steel, side pillars have been upgraded, and thicker windshield and front door glass have been applied—as well as more soundproofing for the dash, floor, doors, and rear tray. The difference is that you barely hear the engine when it's idling, road noise has been cut way down, and the softer dash materials make even the acoustics inside feel a bit softer. Interior appointments essentially carry over--with decent front seats but back-seat accommodations that could be better contoured. Ride quality isn't any worse than that of last year's model, and it actually feels a bit more settled.

The 2013 Civic has received some structural upgrades, and based on crash tests, its occupant protection is better than ever. It's achieved top 'good' ratings in the new small overlap frontal test, and it's now an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. Safety-feature content has been bolstered, too, with the introduction of a new SmartVent airbag design—like what’s been introduced in the 2013 Accord—and the Civic Hybrid will get standard Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems.

Features are the other area where the Civic has most changed for 2013. Honda has in the past saved some of its best, most useful features only for its top models, but all Civics will get Bluetooth hands-free calling connectivity and audio streaming, text-message functionality, Pandora integration, and a rearview camera system. In addition, navigation systems have been upgraded with more points of interest and a new FM-based (subscription-free) traffic service). Whichever trim level you go with, we'd advise you go without the nav system, as the base audio system's interface is better and more intuitive.

Honda has dropped the base Civic DX, which used to constitute seven percent or less of sales, and opted instead for well-equipped base cars that cost just a little bit more. Pricing for the 2013 Civic ranges from $17,965 for the Civic Coupe or $18,165 for the Civic Sedan—including all of those features. Top Si Sedans cost $22,715, while the Civic Hybrid now costs $24,360.

Excellent new standard-feature listQuiet, refined ride44-mpg HybridStrong safetyLacks backseat headroomMushy brakesDali-esque dashHybrid's low-speed drivability

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