People assume that car companies know their competition's ever move as if there was some sort of mission impossible crew sent in every weekend to monitor R&D progress. While there are no doubt some less-than-ethical information exchanges in the industry, on the whole, a car manufacturer like Honda finds out what the competition's latest widget looks like around the same time as we do. Need proof? Look at the 2011, 2012, 2013 Honda Civic. The 9th generation Civic was intended to debut as a 2011 model, but the financial implosion caused Honda to go back to the drawing board and the re-design to land as a 2012 model due to the need to re-design the redesign. In the perpetual game of auto-leapfrog, Honda miscalculated the direction Ford, Hyundai, Kia and even Nissan were headed. The result was bashed by Consumer Reports and raked across the coals by most of the press. Did buyers care? Apparently not since the 2012 Civic was purchased in impressive quantities by real-people. Honda could have found solace in their sales, but instead they did something unusual: they re-re-redesigned the Civic for 2013. Say what?
The 2013 Civic isn't just a second-year options package shake-up, and it isn't even a mid-cycle color and trim shuffle. The changes after only a year on the market land somewhere between a refresh and the ever-so-popular redesign-on-the-same-platform. How can I call it a redesign? Well, if Lexus can call the "new" LS a new car... But I digress.
While I didn't hear as many complaints from my comrades in the auto-biz about the Civic's curb appeal, Honda took the opportunity to graft the chrome smile from the 2013 Accord onto the Civic, redesign the bumper covers (front and rear), add some smoked tail lamps, new wheels and finished it off with a trendy honeycomb grille. While I didn't have a single issue with the way the old Civic looked, I have to admit this one looks better, especially from the front or back where Honda spent some cash to have the tail lamps cross onto the trunk lid giving the Civic's heinie a more premium feel. From the side it would appear that noting has changed with the same four-window silhouette, but the difference is in the glass: it's thicker this year for improved sound isolation.
The problem with the 2012 Civic wasn't the exterior. And, in my mind, it wasn't the interior design OR the interior plastics quality. Yep, you heard me right with that. The old Civic's plastics weren't great, but they were easy to clean, textured attractively and I just didn't expect anything different from an $18,000 car. What I did have a problem with was a lack of color-matched bits and ill-fitting panels. Our 2012 tester's four main dash components sported four different variations of the same target color. For 2013 Honda cranked the thumbscrews on the parts suppliers and all the colors in our Civic EX were the same.
In addition to the color change, Honda had an eye on touch points, swapping out the hard doors and dash "faces" for squichy-injection molded units with fake stitching. Keeping costs d0wn, the same gauge cluster and dash structure remain from last year as well as the dash parts farther from your reach, but they have all been re-cast to texture-match the new bits. Even the radio's plastics have received a color and texture upgrade to look classier. The change has brought the Civic from slightly below average to a solid contender running neck-and-neck with the new Focus and Elantra.
Honda continues to integrate a fairly exaggerated lumbar support contour in the front seat backs, something I prefer, but since it isn't adjustable you should spend some time in the Civic to be sure you can live with the shape.
As with most cars that have families in mind, the Civic's rear seats are close to the floor and the door openings are wide and tall making ingress/egress easy with or without a child seat in tow. Honda has a reputation for function over form, and that pays dividends in the rear with a high roofline that allows a more upright seating position and adequate head room, more than can be said of the Elantra. Fold those 60/40 rear seats down and you'll notice an area Honda didn't touch: cargo. The Civic's trunk pass-through is still somewhat small and oddly shaped preventing larger items from riding along. The trunk's 12.5 cubic feet is in line with the Focus and Corols, but it's a few Cubes behind the Elantra and Sentra. When it comes to bag carrying, the Sentra has a further trick up its trunk: a 24-inch roller bag can ride vertically in the Sentra's cargo hold allowing you to carry a surprising seven carry-on sized rollerbags, try that in your Panther replacement.
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I just bought my first Honda Civic EX 2013 and I'm In Love!!! I paid 12,000 and the car has74k miles on it. I hope this car will last without a whole lot of repair for the 5 year loan. So far so great!
+OfficialVanDyce I agree with you there. I wouldn't want the Civic like this. I drive a 2008 tC that is definitely faster with 4 cylinders. I'd like to try the new turbo though and see what that's about.
The head restraint as they would like to call is literally a pain in the neck. Leads to poor posture problems. While it is designed as a safety feature and to minimize whiplash, you suffer from it all other days due to neck being pushed forward while not in an accident. If you recline your seat back to avoid interference with the head restraint, now your body will be shaped like a "C". If you intend to drive this car for more than an hour each day, avoid this car.
I have one off these, 1996 civic with >360km .
My brother drove it into a ditch and left underwater for a few hours (long story...)
It still ran/runs right out off the water.
I'll buy another one once mine dies ...might be a another decade though.
The 2014 Civic gets the all-new Earth Dreams CVT. I'll be interested in your impressions, Alex of the '14 Civic when you get around to test driving it. Also people here complaining about CVT's should reconsider. The Earth Dreams CVT that Honda uses is like no other CVT you've ever driven. It debuted in the all-new redesigned 2013 Accord and is slowly trickling to other Honda models. It will debut in the all-new 2015 Fit next year and is likely to appear in the 2015 CR-V when it gets its mid-cycle refresh. CVT's have gotten a lot better and will continue to improve going forward.
I've had a Civic 5-speed since February. I'm 5'10" and the cluster is great for me, except that the cruise control indicator light is blocked due to my personal preference for keeping the steering wheel in it's lowest position. I really like the split dash.
i just sold my 2006 with over 400,000 miles to my friend for 140.00 and i bought a 2013. The stereo in the 2006 EX is alot better than the 2013. I'm upgrading with new speakers and an amp. I also don't know why but i prefer the 2006 dash to the 2013 dash. they are both split,but maybe i'm used to the 2006. The back up camera is weird and freaks me out, lol.
Well, being the cheap guy I am I was too cheap to buy a pair of clear lenses and a pair of sunglasses so instead I got one set of transitions lenses. Maybe some day if this whole YouTube thing pays off I'll invest in something else, but until then it's going to have to be a shaded look.
Sure, but you don't need to wear transition lenses when doing a review.
I'm sure you want these videos to be successful because you wear nice clothes and your review is very professional. Clear glasses would add to that, that's all.
They aren't sunglasses they are regular vision glasses with the transitions coating, the camera makes them appear much darker than they are. I wear them because I have to have corrective lenses on to drive.
I don't find that the cluster impacts visibility in any way, I just think the design is a little unusual. If you're thinking about the Touring, then I would strongly recommend spending some time in the Accord. The Civic isn't really groundbreaking in any way but the new Accord is incredibly compelling, gets real-world MPG numbers equal to or higher than the Civic (4 cylinder), It has an excellent ride and I find it more attractive as well.
Excellent review Alex! Subbed!
I have a question regarding the dual level gauge cluster. I am 5'10'', so would the protruding speedometer obstruct my front view in any way? Has it done so for you? Also, do you recommend getting the EX or spending a bit more and getting the touring with the navigation and screen?
Thanks and all the best!
Another stellar review from Alex. Although i disagree with your "fondness" for the CVT, i appreciate the honesty. I am with you on the Civic vs Accord competition especially when buyers go up to higher trims like EX with Nav, EX-L with Nav.
However, i STILL believe that the Mazda 3 sedan/hatchback, especially the redesigned 2014 is the dark horse in this segment.
Fair and balanced review. It's TTAC, i expect nothing less.
Great video with lots of useful information. The only thing I would say is yes the Accord is more refined but I honestly prefer the futuristic dash as well as a lot of the other interior touches in the civic more
look the reason why the 2012 civics suck was because it was designed when the earthquake was in japan, there was a shortage of parts so they cheapened the car out to make it less expensive to get to those parts
That's something of an apples to oranges comparison. The 2013 Sentra gets 39 or 40 MPG with the CVT depending on the version and in our tests at 70MPH with the A/C on the Sentra could easily average 45+ on a level highway run.
So what, Honda moved up the mid model refresh 3 years early. As far as "nobody saying anything about the Jetta's downmarket interior" - I can only assume you are completely ignorant since you are so far from reality it isn't even funny. The entire automotive press lambasted VW for using materials that are THE SAME as the ones in the Japanese cars. Please, get real!
Great video! You did a great job reviewing this car. I love this Honda civic ex, but it's over 20k. I can get an accord lx for about 22k that has all the option this civic has, and it's a bigger and more powerful car, but gets a really close real world mpg of the civic.
well done Alex, you've just nailed it big time, you gave all the information I needed to. Do you believe nissan cvt has improved its reliability lately, I am planning to buy a qashqai cvt or honda ex 2013 automatic.
Is funny now that you say that sentra is better... considering the poor review that you give to the sentra 2013. For me the CVT is super noisy and the sentra lacks power when try to overpass in the highway
That sounds great. I'll be curious to hear what you get in real world fuel economy for the Forte. A friend of mine in Vancouver just leased one, and his first few tanks have been ~30% worse than the expected fuel economy figures. Makes me nervous. :)
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