The 2013 Honda Civic Emergency Refresh

Posted by: Kenny Chan onNovember 23rd, 2012

A few years ago it seemed as though Honda thought that, with the economy on the decline, consumers were going to want to buy boring cars that took them from point A to point B safely using the least amount of fuel as possible. When their new 2012 Civic was unveiled it was immediately criticized for being boring in terms of looks and sloppy when it came to driving dynamics by automotive journalists. One thing it did do very well on was of course fuel economy but that wasn’t enough. In fact Consumer Reports took away their “Recommended” rating for the newly designed Civic.

This was Honda’s statement in response to losing the coveted distinction from CR (emphasis mine):

In a broad sense, we disagree with Consumer Reports’ findings. Without question, the small sedan segment is more competitive than ever. In virtually every way, the completely redesigned 2012 Civic is a step forward. The new Civic excels in areas that matter to small-car customers, including fuel efficiency, safety, and reliability. Among the Civic’s greatest competitive strengths, is a smooth and efficient powertrain that, in Consumer Reports testing returned, “… an impressive 30 mpg overall on regular fuel and 47 mpg on the highway.” Also noted in Consumer Reports findings, the Civic excels in the area of safety, with a long list of important features standard on all trim levels, and a class-leading ‘Top Safety Pick’ rating from IIHS. Lastly, the Civic has a stellar reliability history with Consumer Reports, and we are confident that the new Civic will be a reliability leader as well.

It turns out Honda was right. Consumers did want boring cars that were safe and and had great fuel economy. The Honda Civic remained their best selling vehicle and was the best selling in its class. This is why I’m surprised that Honda chose to do an “emergency refresh” for 2013. I don’t think an automaker has ever redesigned a model after just the first year. With sales riding high I would have expected the usual mid-cycle refresh.

In the picture above I compare the front end of a 2012 Civic Si Sedan and the rear end of a 2012 Civic Sedan with the images Honda released of the refreshed 2013 Civic EX-L. Honda added a new beefier looking grill with a healthy dose of chrome along with a meaner looking front bumper. In the rear the taillights are now extended into the trunk which also got some chrome lovin’. I’m liking the looks of the refreshed Civic but to be honest I didn’t find the 2012 model overly boring.

Honda didn’t release any pictures of the interior or the new wheels but they will be unveiling the new refreshed Civic in LA next Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show which amazingly enough is the same day you’ll be able to pick one up from your local Honda dealer. Hopefully the dealers heeded the warning from Honda and cleared out their 2012 models!

UPDATE: Honda Unveils Updated 2013 Civic

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