KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/3/2012
Until now, it was virtually unheard of for an auto manufacturer to make significant revisions to a vehicle just a year after it debuted. For Honda, the lackluster interior materials, flaccid handling characteristics and high levels of cabin noise found in its all-new 2012 Civic elicited adverse reactions from the media. And while the criticism had but a marginal effect on sales numbers (not mention comparison test results), Honda has endowed the 2013 Civic with all of the refinement and performance expected of a segment leader. Thanks to an expanded list of standard features and sharper driving dynamics, the 2013 Honda Civic is primed to retain the top spot over category heavyweights like the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze and Toyota Corolla.
You'll Like This Car If...
A unique combination of reliability, affordability and stellar resale value make the 2013 Honda Civic one of the best values in the automotive marketplace. The 2013 Civic is also the clear leader in terms of variety, with an expansive lineup comprised of sedan and coupe body styles, a high-performance Si variant, a 45-mpg hybrid model and an industry-exclusive natural-gas-powered version (limited availability).
You May Not Like This Car If...
Unlike the Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra and Ford Focus, the 2013 Honda Civic lineup does not offer the superior sophistication and utility of a 5-door hatchback. Although Honda incorporated such in-vehicle tech features as Pandora Internet radio and hands-free text messaging, technophiles will likely favor the superior infotainment offerings from Chevrolet, Ford, and, believe it or not, Toyota.
What's New for 2013
To keep pace with a rapidly evolving market, the 9th-generation Honda Civic undergoes a substantial makeover for the 2013 model year. Key revisions include an all-new body structure, standard Bluetooth connectivity, refreshed front and rear styling on sedan models and more premium, soft-touch materials inside.
A number of modifications to the chassis, suspension and steering have transformed the 2013 Honda Civic into a surprisingly adept performer. The lion's share of the credit for this above-average drivability goes to the next-generation ACE II body structure that's both more rigid and lighter than its predecessor.
Offering the type of steering and pedal response that other automakers could only dream of delivering is a testament to the engineering integrity of the Honda Civic. It's easy to overlook excellence in these areas, but just as driving feel is a big part of the magic in a Porsche, the way the Civic gracefully listens and responds to a driver's input is a key reason we consider the 2013 Honda Civic the connoisseur's compact sedan.
BLUETOOTH MUSIC STREAMING
We like being able to listen to the music on our smartphone without having to plug it in, and the Civic's standard Bluetooth Audio system is notable for how quickly it connects and begins playing.
Standard in all trim levels is a 5-inch LCD monitor that displays music and mileage info, plus navigation info on vehicles so equipped.
While its unusual dash layout might not convey the more upscale ambiance of new and newly relevant nameplates like the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevy Cruze, the 2013 Honda Civic continues to be one of the best compact cars in terms of interior space, storage and outward visibility. Its ergonomics are nearly flawless and most of the controls are a cinch to operate. New soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and upper door trim replace the bland look and hard plastics that gave the previous cabin a low-budget feel.
Since last year's underwhelming redesign failed to resonate with style-minded buyers, Honda's design team went back to the drawing board to create all-new front and rear styling for the 2013 Civic sedan. The new look is defined by a wide lower grille opening, a taller trunklid and a rear horizontal chrome trim piece similar to that of the 2013 Honda Accord. While these modest cosmetic alterations might escape the eye of the casual observer, it's hard to argue against sticking to a styling strategy that's helped keep the Civic at or near the top of the sales charts for many years running.
Notable Standard Equipment
With the stripped-down DX model grade out of the picture, every 2013 Honda Civic includes a 5-inch full-color multi-information display, rear backup camera with guidelines, Bluetooth, a sliding center armrest, integrated Pandora Internet radio, and a USB port for portable music players. Opting for the mid-tier EX trim nets a power moonroof, 16-inch alloy wheels and automatic climate control, while the range-topping EX-L includes such niceties as leather upholstery, heated front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Civic's wide array of active and passive safety features are included as standard issue across the line. Civic Hybrid variants up the ante with a new Forward Collision Warning system that alerts drivers of a potential impact.
Notable Optional Equipment
Optional features for the 2013 Honda Civic are acquired by stepping up to higher trim levels. Among the most prominent features are a touch-screen navigation system with FM traffic information, auto-on/off headlights, a multi-angle backup camera, and a 6-speaker premium audio system.
Under the Hood
With no direct injection or turbocharging, 140 horsepower, and five speeds not six in the manual and automatic transmissions, the 2013 Honda Civic has the simplest powertrain of the newest compact sedans. Nevertheless, it delivers exceptional fuel economy and plenty of power. The mileage-maxing HF trim features the same powertrain, but adds two highway miles per gallon with a lower ride height, aerodynamic body pieces and low-rolling-resistance tires. The Civic Si, in sedan and coupe form, delivers 201 horsepower through a 6-speed manual transmission.
1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
128 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/36 mpg (manual), 28/39 mpg (automatic), 29/41 mpg (Civic HF automatic)
2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder
201 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg
1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder + electric motor
110 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
127 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 44/44 mpg
1.8-liter inline 4-cylinder, natural gas
110 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
106 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
The entry-level 2013 Honda Civic LX carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of just under $19,000. Opting for the hybrid model tacks an additional $6,000 to the bottom line, but includes a higher level of standard equipment. A fully-loaded EX-L sedan with navigation comes in at a very respectable $24,500. Competitors such as the Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus and Mazda3 start in the $17,000 range, though none of which can match the Civic's comprehensive roster of standard features. Be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price at the bottom of this page to see what others in your area are actually paying for the 2013 Honda Civic. Down the road, we expect the 2013 Honda Civic to maintain the strongest 5-year residual values in the segment.