Honda’s Civic has been the company’s best selling car (and the most stolen) compact car in its class. In fact in 2012, Honda sold 331,872 of them. And that despite a negative review that year by Consumer Reports.
But for 2013, Honda did a substantial makeover from exterior to interior, and the results will definitely maintain Civics’ top seller status.
Exterior wise, Civic takes on an Accord-influenced front end and rear bumper. It now looks like part of the Honda family. And in fact is probably the best looking Civic to date with its slippery contours.
Interior appointments now have soft touch surfaces with materials that look and feel high-end. The dash is of a two-tier design with digital speedometer, 5-inch audio display, clock and temp gauges. The test car did not have a GPS nav system but one with voice control is optionally available for inclusion with the rearview camera system.
Included too are a long list of techy features like Bluetooth, text messaging (that allows hand free listening and responding), iPod interface, Pandora and more. There are a myriad of buttons on the steering wheel, some of which require a study of the owners manual for operation.
The front cloth seats were supportive, but could use a bit more padding, as they are a touch too soft. Order the leather enhanced and they’re likely firmer. The back seat has ample leg and headroom and can seat three tweens or teens but realistically only two adults. Rear vis is hampered by tall headrests that could be easily remedied by installing folding ones.
Because of the short rear deck overhang, trunk space is a modest 12.5 cubic feet that will hold one large roll-a-long luggage bag and a few small duffels. Fold the rear seatbacks and two golf bags will fit with room to spare.
Civic rides and handles appreciably better than earlier models thanks to several structural enhancements that also afford better frontal protection. The suspension system was recalibrated for a better ride and it parks easily. Honda also added thicker glass and increased sound deadening for a quieter ride.
Civics are available in 10 variations that include a coupe, hybrid and natural gas model. More specifically, there’s the base LX, EX and top line EX-L trim models.
Except the hybrid and Si models, all Civic’s are powered by a 1.8-liter, 140-hp four cylinder that produces 128 lb/ft of torque with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission – that was in my test car. The combination provided EPA mileage figures of 28 city, 39-highway mpg. So configured, acceleration from a standing stop was brisk, while merging into a crowded freeway required a wait for a large opening.
The CNG model gets a version of this powerplant but is only rated at 110-hp with EPA figures of 27/38. The hybrid model uses a 1.5L, 4-cylinder with an electric motor for a combined rating of 110-hp and an EPA of 44/44. The Si gets its power from a 201-hp four with estimates of 22/31 mpg.
As you see, Honda certainly gives buyers a wide choice of sedans and coupes to choose from.
We tested the mid-line EX with cloth interior and a long list of standard features including floor mats, a rearview camera and power sunroof. Goodies that many others charge extra for.
The base price of my EX came in at an affordable $20,815 to which was added $790 for delivery. The bottom line reflected $21,605 but the base LX can be had for a little as $17,965.
With its improved rigidity, Civic garnered a five star overall rating in frontal and side crash tests, and received a highest “Good” rating for frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
To test drive a 2013 Civic stop by Lehigh Valley Honda on Lehigh Street in Allentown. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.