Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush

2013 Honda Civic Coupe
2013 Honda Civic Coupe. Click image to enlarge

The Honda Civic has gone through some sweeping metamorphoses since the debut of its teeny-weeny clown car in 1973. During the mid-eighties, the CRX became the darling of the Fast and Furious set, the foundation upon which the Great Tuner Craze was built. Back and forth the Civic wavered through the ‘90s and the early years of the new millennium, a sensible sedan here, a pocket rocket there.

Growing ever larger in both size and popularity, the Civic sold millions of models yet began fielding criticism for becoming dynamically stagnant. In the wake of the economic meltdown the ninth gen model released in 2012 was an exercise in economy – a cost-saving endeavour for buyers in a depressed market.

A good belt-tightening strategy – but Honda underestimated the overachieving onslaught from others in the mid-size segment, most notably the feature-loaded and uber-stylish Hyundai Elantra, and the back-from-the-dead General Motors with their excellent Chevrolet Cruze.

The 2012 Civic was lambasted by the automotive press for its cheap, plasticky interior and surprising lack of innovation for a vehicle known for its appeal to the younger generation. But buyers embraced it and the Civic was once more the bestselling car in Canada last year. Nonetheless, Honda responded to the stinging criticism with an overhaul that addresses most of the grievous complaints.

I was at the Los Angeles Auto Show unveiling of the latest Civic, which went a lot like an old “Who” song since the new one looked pretty much the “same as the old” one.

2013 Honda Civic Coupe2013 Honda Civic Coupe
2013 Honda Civic Coupe. Click image to enlarge

While the new Civic sedan received an extensive design overhaul, the coupe remains virtually unchanged with only a few subtle revisions to the front and rear ends. After all, there were few complaints about the car’s looks, so why fix what’s not broken?

The base model LX Civics ride on 15-inch steel wheels, but my top-spec EX-L Navi had 17-inch alloys with an eye-catching multi-spoke design. While my heart didn’t sing at the thought of spending an entire week behind the wheel, the Civic Coupe makes a favourable first impression as a good-looking, sporty two-door. My tester, in a rich peacock blue, or more officially “Dyno Blue Pearl” (I had no idea that pearls came in blue – perhaps from strangled oysters?) is quite flashy and its slick new wheels are head-turners.

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