What is it? Barely 18 months after launching the redesigned 2012 Civic, Honda has unveiled a substantial freshening to its iconic compact sedan.
What is new or notable? It’s rare for an automaker to overhaul a new model so soon after launch but Honda just has. Changes include some cosmetic exterior alterations, making the Civic look a bit more like the new Accord. More significantly there are substantial upgrades to the interior, which had drawn criticism from Consumer Reports and others for its cheap looks and slapdash assembly. Honda has also addressed the ride quality, steering, and interior noise levels.
CR’s take: The 2013 refresh is a commendable effort to redress the numerous shortcomings of the 2012 redesign. The 2012 Civic scored too low to recommend, due to its choppy ride, lackluster handling, vague steering, noisy cabin, and low-rent interior. Based on a few days’ experience driving the new one, we can say that it has much nicer cabin furnishings, the ride is more compliant, road noise has been muted and the cabin much quieter—not Lexus silent but good for this class. Beyond that, the handling feels crisper, with quicker response, more heft, and a modicum of road feel. We also like it that a rear camera is standard across the board. We won’t know until we buy and test our own just how much Honda’s incremental changes have moved the Civic’s standing relative to other compact sedans, but the signs look good from here.
When will it be available? First quarter 2013.