‘MORE REFINED INSIDE AND OUT’
When the all-new Honda Civic premiered in 2012 it received mixed reviews about the new exterior styling and interior materials. The compact sedan market is one of the most hotly contested so Honda designers went back to their drawing boards and refreshed the front and rear fascias, then gave the interior more luxurious finishes plus more standard equipment in 2013 to better compete against the Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze.
Last year I tested the all-new 2012 Civic Si coupe and found it fun-to-drive, with excellent handling capabilities, and didn’t mind that the interior had mostly hard plastic. When looking for a performance car less than $25,000.00, I don’t care that the company is putting more money on performance-driven items that on the interior dashboard materials. I want fun and excitement behind the wheel for a reasonable amount of money. Well, to turn the tide with the other automotive reviewers, Honda refreshed the front and rear fascias and upgraded the interior to give it a more upscale look and feel. I tested the Civic 4-door EX-L model with navigation and enjoyed my seven-day test drive like last year.
Changes to the exterior include a new open-mouth lower bumper with a horizontal chrome accent and a sportier looking black honeycomb mesh grille with another horizontal chrome piece around the bottom and up the sides. The grille is flanked by new halogen headlamp clusters and clear-lens corner lights to make a more premium look. Integrated foglamps are at the sides of the lower bumper. The more sculpted front end flows into a new more deeply faceted sculpture. The flared fenders find new 16X6.5 inch sporty aluminum wheels with black painted pockets wrapped with 205/55R16 inch all-season radial tires.
From the side is a long, low, sleek look with steeply raked A-pillars, lower side extensions, body color pull-out door handles, aero-styled remote/heated sideview mirrors and nice scallop in the doors. The rear features a new bumper design and new rear trunk lid that are finished off by a clean horizontal chrome trim piece. The all-new design of the jewel-like taillights now carries into the trunk face, providing a more polished and upscale look. The rear bumper also features integrated reflector treatments and a new diffuser panel with a honeycomb mesh vent.
Interior improvements include new soft-to-the-touch leather dashboard and dashboard top with dual stitching, black matt trim and brushed aluminum trim around the air-vents, around the leather-wrapped steering wheel spokes, center console, and door trim. Chrome is featured around the stick shifter gate.
Power from the 1.8 liter 16-valve, SOHC, all-aluminum, i-VTEC inline four-cylinder gets a slight bump in horsepower to 140 at 6,500rpm and 128lb.ft. of torque at 4,300rpm. An ECO mode button on the dashboard helps enhance mileage by remapping the onboard computer for slower shifting points. The five-speed automatic transmission pulls strong and smooth, easily moving this 2,877 pound compact sedan away from stop lights and merging onto fast highway speeds.
The Motion Adaptive Electric power assisted rack & pinion steering system as well as the independent MacPherson strut front and independent multi-link rear suspension get retuned for sharper handling response and the Honda ACE II body structure improves safety, ride comfort and interior quietness. Front and rear stabilizer bars keep the body flat when turning into curving roads.
The power-assisted vented 11.1 inch front rotors and 11.1 inch solid rear rotors remain the same and give strong, linear stopping power with the standard ABS, EBD, BA, VSC with Traction Control helping you maintain control of your direction when braking on slick or wet pavement.
Standard equipment in the top-of-the-line EX-L include Honda Navigation system with voice recognition and rearview camera, 160-watt AM-FM-CD-XM satellite radio with six-speakers, MP3/WMA playback, steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth hands free link, Bluetooth audio, SMS text messaging functionality, Pandora internet radio interface, USB audio interface, MP3/auxiliary input jack, intelligent multi-information display, automatic climate control with air filtration, leather seats, driver’s-side height adjustment, heated front seats, 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback, fold-down rear armrest and dual cupholders, front center console with dual cupholders and storage box, power windows/door locks with driver’s-side express up/down, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, front map lights, dual vanity mirrors, cargo lights, 12-volt power outlets, one-touch electric sunroof, cruise-control, variable intermittent wipers/washers, heated review mirrors, security system, floor mats, maintenance minder system, remote entry, remote trunk and fuel filler controls, and grab handles above each door.
Standard safety features include driver/front passenger dual front airbags/side airbags with smart-vent, side curtain airbags with rollover mitigation, 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, tire pressure monitoring system, side-impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones, daytime running lights, and LATCH system for child seats.
The new, refined 2013 Honda Civic four-door sedan remains one of the best compact four-door sedans for the money after a refresh outside, inside and under the skin. This new model should remain one of the best-selling small sedans on the market.
COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ