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2013 Honda Civic Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 2 reviews
The freshly redesigned Honda Civic got redesigned yet again for 2013 in an unprecedented single-year refresh cycle. Coming in second—from the bottom—of the compact class in comparisons highlighting the 2012 Civic's more embarrassing points like interior materials and overall style, Honda's Executive VP stated the company grossly underestimated driver expectations. The backlash almost seems unfounded, though, if you look at owner reviews, especially here at CarGurus. Drivers of the 2012 are happy with their purchase, minus a couple of small details, but the "blah" style that received so much criticism in glossies is praised by drivers, and sales aren't really hurting for all this backlash either.
Truth be told, as much wind noise and shimmy in the dash as you might get in a 2012 at highway speeds, that's still less than in the former eighth or any other previous generation. The seats could still do with a few improvements for longer trips, but this is the Civic—where's your sense of old school? It's here, in the Civic. If you want touring comfort over a fun ride, you're looking at the wrong car. There are other cars with "touring" in the name, just like the Civic was destined for spirited urban driving right from its name. Those other cars won't come with Honda's legendary reliability, though.
Nevertheless, Honda responded to the clamor by improving the Civic for 2013 with a more upscale feel to the interior in both materials and style and a significantly more aggressive skin from new bumper to redesigned taillights, including a new grill, hood, polished alloy wheels and chrome accents throughout. These refinements improve noise reduction beyond that in the 2012 so much that no glossy even makes mention of a noise problem anymore.
The suspension and steering were also recalibrated for more responsive handling in 2013, and the interior sports new standard features across the board, including Bluetooth and iPod connectivity with Pandora, text messaging and a rear-view camera. Other improvements are more impressive, but less often mentioned—like the Civic's updated body structure with even better crash-test ratings than its previous near-perfect scores. Revised front-seat airbags for all and a forward collision and lane-departure warning system for the Civic Hybrid also join the safety team. Hard to believe Honda did all that to the Civic in just one year, but apparently this is one company deeply motivated by its customers.
Otherwise the 2013 is still the Civic you know and love from 2012. Offered in the usual LX, EX and EX-L trims with a sprinkling of specialists including the Si, Hybrid, HF and Natural Gas, all Civics are powered by a 4-cylinder, and all but the Hybrid are strictly based on the LX in terms of features. All but the Hybrid and Natural Gas editions share variants of the same peppy 1.8-liter good for 140 hp and 128 lb-ft of torque in all but the Si, which gets a tweak up to 201 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.
Where the sporty Si gets a 6-speed manual and the HF, EX and Natural Gas trims are obliged to a 5-speed automatic, all but the Hybrid have the option of that automatic or a 5-speed manual. The Hybrid stands alone with a well-executed continuously variable transmission (CVT) good for the best 2013 Civic fuel economy at 44 mpg city/44 highway while pumping 110 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque out of its 1.5-liter combined gas and electric motors, for a hybrid-average 10.1 seconds to 60 mph.
The HF differs in special feature considerations for maximum fuel efficiency and comes in a close second to the Hybrid mileage-wise at 29/41, thanks in part to its low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic modifications. The Natural Gas variant puts out 110 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque for a competitive 27/38, but expect it to be a bit pokey compared to the regular-gas versions' zip-to-60-mph time of 9.2 seconds.
Otherwise, an automatic-equipped Civic does a bit better at 28/39, but if you like your Civic on a stick, 28/36 isn't too shabby either. Fans of an especially quick trip to 60 mph—in a mere 6.9 seconds—should brace themselves before hearing the worst fuel economy a Civic can get: 22/31. Track times may not compare directly, but there are some upscale sport-hybrids that fetch very similar economy for twice the price. Honda did very well to make the Civic into an exciting, value-packed front-wheel-drive compact for 2013, if I may say so myself.
by Patricia Mayo
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