New and Notable:
Just a year after debuting the completely redesigned 2012 Civic, today Honda went back to the drawing board and produced a slew of changes for the 2013 model which debuted today at the LA Auto Show. The 2013 model marks the 40th anniversary of Civic sales in the United States.
Interestingly, although the 2012 Civic was not well received by the majority of the automotive press, the 2012 Civic still sold in massive quantities — in fact, the 2012 version was the #1 selling car in its segment. Refreshes or such significant updates for cars that have been made over the year before are rare, but Honda is trying to stay ahead of the curve.
For 2013, Honda has given the Civic a styling refresh, inside and out. The changes apply across the whole Civic lineup, including the Civic Hybrid (left), Civic Si (center), and standard Civic sedan (right) models. Honda said that with the refresh they were hoping to convey "more emotional styling inside and out" and at first glance we think that they've succeeded. A new grille with a U-shaped chrome strip, sculpted hood, and a wide airvent that nestles into the middle of the front bumper add a dash of sportiness to the look, and the updated rear taillights are more similar to those found on the new Accord.
The press conference did not mention any under the hood changes, so our best guess is that things remain the same under there. Honda did cite fuel economy numbers of 39 mpg on the highway for regular trims of the gas-only Civic and 41 mpg highway for High Fuel Economy (HFE) versions.
There are also numerous interior upgrades. Materials have taken a step up, offering good tactile feedback from the seats and the dash. Honda's i-MID color display is now standard across all trim levels, as are Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora internet radio, SMS support, and a backup camera. Also new for 2013 is a side curtain airbag sensor that will meet future safety standards, as well an improved body structure that will help the front of the Civic hold up better in front collisions.
The 2013 models will carry a $160 starting price increase versus the 2012, but all of the added standard equipment more than makes up for that price difference. We used to think that the Hyundai/Kia compact cars offered the best features vs. money ratio in the business, but the new 2013 Civic has us reassessing that assumption.
In summation: better looking, more equipment, and updated safety features without a significant jump in price make the 2013 Honda Civic an improvement on its predecessor. So if you're in the market for a compact car, make sure to grab some time behind the wheel of the new Civic.