By Greg Wilson
2013 Honda Civic. Click image to enlarge
As Mike pointed out, despite the fact that the redesigned 2012 Civic remains the bestselling compact car in the country, Honda chose to make substantial upgrades to the 2013 model; a tacit admission that the 2012 model was lacking in some respects when compared with competitors like the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte. As the sales leader this year, Honda could have sat on their hands and done nothing, relying on their loyal Civic customer base until the next-generation Civic was introduced; but instead they chose to spend the extra time and money to bring it up to, and beyond, the level of many of its competitors in only a year. That’s a good indication of just how competitive the compact car segment is in this country.
Changes to the 2013 Civic sedan start with the exterior styling, which looks sportier and more aggressive to my eyes. Though it has the same dimensions as the 2012 sedan, the 2013 model appears wider and a bit lower simply due to wider bumpers, a descending upper grille, and a much wider lower grille. Additional chrome strips in the upper and lower grilles add a touch of class too. At the rear are wider L-shaped tail lights that resemble BMW’s. Top trim EX and EX-L models also get larger 17-inch tires instead of 16-inchers with sportier alloys. Note that the exterior styling of the Civic Coupe has not changed for 2013 (except for new fog lights and alloy wheels) but its interior styling has been upgraded.
The Civic’s new cabin is a big improvement. Instead of hard, flat plastic surfaces, there’s a new textured surface with soft-touch material on the front dash, plus attractive chrome trim around the vents, cupholders, and shift lever. The cloth seats have a new texture fabric pattern, audio and climate controls are easier to see, there’s a new text messaging feature, and the instrument panel is angled towards the driver for easier reach. Heated seats (cushion and back) are now available with cloth upholstery as well as leather, and a rear-view camera is now available in upper trim levels. Apparently, heated seats were the number one requested feature in Honda’s focus groups. There’s no increase in interior room, though.