These changes alone would have been enough and Honda could have easily stopped there, but they didn’t. Instead, they went about improving the driving dynamics as well. The suspension bits have been heavily revised to improve cornering response as well as reduce NVH; all without hampering ride comfort. The bump motion stiffness is up 24 percent in front and 3 percent in rear. Body-roll has been reduced 37 percent up front and 25 percent in rear while steering response is now 7 percent quicker.
2013 Honda Civic. Click image to enlarge
On the road, I didn’t notice a huge difference in handling despite the touted suspension changes. Then again, the last 2012 Civic I drove was the Si HFP Coupe. I did notice a good reduction in body roll through the corners and the steering definitely feels quicker. Other than that, the car drives the same as always, even with the 215/45R17 tires that are now standard on the Canadian-exclusive Touring model.
As mentioned earlier, Honda really focused on NVH in the 2013 restyle and it shows. The engine still makes its usual louder-than-average noises, but road, tire, and wind noise have been greatly reduced. And they still had one more parting piece for the redesign: safety. On top of the current safety gear found in the 2012 Civic, all 2013 models will come equipped with a sensor allowing deployment of side curtain airbags in the event of a rollover and have a next generation ACE body structure to help increase occupant protection. Honda hopes this is enough for class leading safety by being the first compact to receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick ‘Plus’ rating.
Mechanically, the 2013 Civic’s drivetrain is unchanged. All non-Si models are powered by a 1.8 L four-cylinder engine producing 140 hp and 128 lb-ft, and send power to the front wheels via a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. Si editions of the Civic retain the 201-hp 2.4L engine and six-speed manual transmission. Although I only spent 20 minutes behind the wheel of the 2013 Civic Touring Sedan, I averaged around 7.0 L/100 km driving mostly country roads, so efficiency should be just as good as before.
In this day and age it is rare for an automobile company to update a vehicle as quickly and so extensively merely to be the best. I mean, it is not like the Civic was a poor seller here or south of the border. But, with these improvements Honda has definitely gotten a lot closer to their goal of not only having the bestselling vehicle, but also the best vehicle in segment.