HEELS ON WHEELS: 2013 HONDA CIVIC SEDAN REVIEW


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Honda Civic Sedan


HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE CIVIC VEHICLE
The Honda Civic is a mainstay in the compact sedan segment – arguably one cannot go for a quick trip to the corner grocery without spotting one on the road or in the parking lot (or both). Praised for its value, reliability and often times twist on the classic design, the 2013 models gets refreshed in all the right places and addresses certain points of contention stemming from last year’s model.

I drove a 2013 Honda Civic sedan with the standard 140-horsepower 1.8-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission and Grade Logic Control. The Civic has reeled in its trim offerings down to the base LX, EX, and EX-L, with my mid-level EX trim featuring the following standards: six-speaker audio system; steering-wheel mounted controls; Bluetooth; SMS text reading function; Pandora Internet radio; USB and auxiliary input jacks; rearview camera; power moonroof; and sixteen-inch wheels with all-season tires. Price as described came to $20,815.

Specific changes for the model year include performance tweaks, exterior styling upgrades, better interior materials, and expanded standards list with loads of tech sure to attract that younger generation Honda consistently chases. Main compact sedan competitors similarly priced include the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Inside, the Civic gets a more premium feel throughout the cabin, replacing last model’s plastics with higher quality materials. The layout largely stays the same – a working formula that doesn’t need changing as the controls, center stack and instrument panel information is presented in a highly visual manner. Additional strengths that train the consumer’s eye on the Civic sedan include the fact Honda cut down its dizzying array of trims and now adds rearview camera as standard equipment. Cargo space is 12.5 cubic feet, making it a strong competitor against the Cruze and Focus.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the 2013 Honda Civic sedan ratings of “Good” in all crash-test areas, making it a Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the sedan with an overall score of 5-Stars.

Cost Issues: Honda systematically finds way to bring value to the Civic with every model year – for a base LX at $18,165, you get such highlights as Pandora Internet radio, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, input jacks needs for media devices, and an SMS text reading function. A fully loaded Honda Civic sedan (navigation, XM Radio, leather upholstery) stays remarkable low at $23,765.

Activity & Performance Ability: A hallmark of the Civic is strong fuel economy numbers, and the 1.8-liter four-cylinder doesn’t disappoint at 32 miles-per-gallon on average. Steering and suspension refinements create a more composed and predictable compact car ride. The six-speed automatic now up shifts quicker than former models. The Civic does its job well, but consumers must upgrade to the coupe if they want anything with real road flavor or go with several competitors’ turbo engine choices.

The Green Concern: The Honda Civic with the 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder has a fuel economy of 28 miles-per-gallon city and 39 highway.

FINAL PARTING WORDS The Honda Civic is still a smart choice for first-time buyers and those who praise such value attributes as excellent fuel economy in a car. Scrutinizing buyers should be pleased to know Honda addressed issues from last year’s model, turning out a sportier and classier compact sedan on all fronts with the 2013 model.

2013 Katrina Ramser

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