Making its world debut in Los Angeles, the 2013 Honda Civic rolled onto the show stand with visual and functional refinements that automaker believes give its perennially popular model a booster shot of buyer appeal in the form of bolder looks, better handling, a more inviting interior and enhanced safety features. While the biggest changes can literally be seen on the Civic Sedan -- a model that came under criticism from some quarters following its generational makeover for 2012 -- the upgrading effort touches all members of the family including the Coupe. Sole exception is the entry-level Civic DX Sedan that has been discontinued for 2013.
As seen in recently released teaser photos, the Civic Sedan is the prime beneficiary of the exterior makeover for 2013. Key visual changes up front include a new, more sculpted fascia treatment that brings a larger lower air intake with a chrome accent element and integrated fog lamps and a black honeycomb mesh grille flanked by new clear-lens corner lights. It leads back to a more dramatically sculpted hood. The rear quarters get a similar revamp, with a new fascia that incorporates integrated reflectors, a lower diffuser with honeycomb mesh insert, a new decklid with brightwork accent strip and jewel-like taillamp lenses. New wheel designs add the final flourish to the 2013 Civic remix, regardless of door count.
While powertrains carry over unchanged in all versions of the 2013 Civic Sedan and Coupe, both body configurations receive structural enhancements and suspension tweaks. The front floor area, A-pillars, upper wheel housings and front bumper extension gain stiffness and rigidity through the increased use of high-strength steel, changes that also create a more precise foundation and are designed to improve the Civic's ability to protect passengers in small-overlap impacts. On the suspension front, changes to the electronic power steering calibration add quickness and reduce friction while increased spring rates, bigger anti-roll bars and new bushings should deliver crisper response and flatter cornering. Even the front brakes get upsized on Civic LX, EX and EX-L Sedans and Coupes fitted with the 6-speed automatic transmission.
The appearance and ambiance of the Civics cabin was a particular point of contention for its staunchest critics, and Honda has responded with a genuinely comprehensive recasting that starts with largely undetectable upgrades like thicker windshield glass and additional soundproofing materials throughout the passenger compartment. On a more direct level, higher quality fabrics on the seats and door panels, a new tricot headliner and new soft-touch dash surfaces complement more premium-looking accents. Honda will also offer the Civic with an all-black interior in cloth or leather for the first time.
There's good news on the feature front as well, as all 2013 Civics will come with Bluetooth HandsFreeLink and Audio, a rearview camera, a color i-MID display, Pandora/USB/iPod interfaces, SMS text messaging functionality, steering wheel audio controls and more. The EX, EX-L, Hybrid and Natural Gas models also can be had with an enhanced version of the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System. Last but far from least, the 2013 Civic line will expand its comprehensive roster of safety features with new SmartVent front side-airbags and the Civic Hybrid will come with segment-first standard Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems.
Honda plans to roll out the new Civic lineup over the next several months, starting with new 2013 Civic Sedan which will open at $18,995 -- is a $160 increase over the 2012 model. December will bring the Civic Coupe and Si Coupe as well as the Natural Gas Sedan; with the Civic Hybrid and Si Sedan heading into showrooms during January and the econo-leading Civic HF turning up in February.