After absorbing some stinging criticism of the 2012 remake of the Honda Civic, the Japanese maker has turned around with unprecedented speed to roll out an “emergency refresh” of the long-popular compact it hopes will win over critics.
In particular, Honda hopes the new 2013 Civic line will get the subcompact line back on the “Recommended Buy” list at Consumer Reports – which leveled unusually stinging criticism at the 2012 model, going so far as to withdraw its long-standing endorsement.
Honda’s news conference at the 2012 LA Auto Show seemed, in many ways, aimed at addressing recent criticism of the company and showing that it is aggressively moving forward on a number of fronts. Among other things, the media preview included some news about the maker’s new hybrid strategy – which will get a kick-off with the upcoming launch of an all-new Accord Plug-in model due to U.S. showrooms next year.
The 2012 Honda Civic was faulted on a number of fronts, from bland exterior design to an interior that critics felt wasn’t refined enough. Even the normally exemplary Civic driving character took hits.
The new model is aimed at addressing all such charges, said John Mendel, Honda’s top American executives, starting with new front and rear end treatments, as well as a completely new instrument panel. The 2013 Honda Civic models will also get a number of new standard features, such as a rearview camera and other safety technologies, but at a price – an average $160 more than comparable 2012 models.
Pricing for the well-equipped 2013 Civic LX Sedan begins at $18,165, officials noted.
Arthur St. Cyr, head of product planning, insisted the changes to the Civic make a very good vehicle “into a great one.”
There seems to be something for everyone, whether in the form of a more luxurious interior or the upgrades to the 2013 Honda Civic suspension.
An upgraded body structure is designed to help increase occupant protection by dispersing crash energy in narrow overlap frontal crashes, and should help the 2014 Civic obtain a top rating in the new small-offset crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Also new are SmartVent side airbags, side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor and the availability of Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning systems, which make their compact-class debut in the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid.
The 2013 Honda Civic Sedan and Coupe will be available in LX, EX, EX-L and Si models, with the Civic Hybrid, Civic Natural Gas and Civic HF also available in sedan form. The entry model Civic DX has been discontinued for 2013.
The Civic’s all-aluminum, 140-horsepower, i-VTEC® 1.8-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine is unchanged for 2013, continuing to provide exceptional responsiveness, refinement, and fuel efficiency.
Providing 128 lb-ft of torque at 4300 rpm, the Honda mill is paired with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. In the Civic Sedan and Coupe, this powertrain has earned an EPA fuel-economy rating of 28/39/32 miles per gallon city/hwy/combined when equipped with the automatic transmission. In the Civic HF Sedan, those figures climb to 29/41/33 mpg.
Tags: 2012 LA auto show, 2013 honda civic, Honda Civic, auto news, car news, honda civic consumer reports, honda civic refresh, honda civic update, honda la auto show, honda news, joe szczesny, thedetroitbureau