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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Honda Civic

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Expert's Rating


MPG 27 City / 36 Highway
  • Smooth and refined transmission
  • Excellent handling
  • Nice interior for entry level car
  • Excellent reliability history
  • Limited trunk space
  • Back seat lower than others
, Automotive Editor -
The updated exterior of the Civic has quelled the calls for edgier styling, and done so while retaining everything a Civic should be: safe, efficient and reliable. A top pick in its respective class.


Responding to the disappointment created by the 2012 redesign, Honda has introduced an updated 2013 Civic. Gone are the cheap plastics that had engulfed the 2012 interior in turn for a material that is more inviting. Most noticeable though is the touch of attitude the Civic’s exterior design needed and received.

Besides the four-door sedan there is also a Civic coupe, Civic hybrid, Civic natural gas and high-performance Civic Si. As far as the sedan goes, three trims are offered that include the LX, EX and top-level EX-L. Though the LX is the base model, it comes with an impressive list of standard features that only grows longer in 2013. The new standards consist of a USB port, Bluetooth, climate control and a rearview camera that cannot be found on some competing base models. Civic sedans are powered by a 1.8L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission.

An automatic transmission is available, becoming standard equipment on the EX and EX-L trims. The ride is composed and comfortable while power is adequate. Buyers will be happy to know however this base powertrain averages 28/39 mpg city/highway with the automatic transmission. Though the Civic is not at the head of the class in terms of trunk space, its backseat can fit adults, which some small cars have difficulty in claiming.

Facing rivals much stronger than ever before, the Civic has had to step its’ game in hopes of remaining one of the first thought-of models when people hear “compact car”. The Ford Fiesta is more fun-to-drive than the Civic and has similar high-tech interior equipment. Another performance-tuned small car is the Mazda3 that comes with lively handling but a cramped second-row. Brand new for 2013, the Dodge Dart can be highly customized plus it has an open interior cabin, but does not offer the best driving dynamics. Volkswagen’s “Americanized” Jetta has a large trunk but poor interior quality when equipped with its’ lower-priced trims. The problem in this class is competition is so fierce that many automakers struggle to find an advantage without having to raise base prices. Yet the 2013 Honda Civic has been able to improve while keeping a good value as well.

By executing a styling-refresh only a year after debuting a new design, Honda has shown they have no problem fixing their faults. With the 2013 Civic, it seems none remain.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Honda Civic
Starting price

2013 Honda Civic EX

Recommended for: Drivers wanting a standard automatic transmission or a navigation option.

With the EX, customers receive the five-speed automatic transmission standard. Bringing the Civic EX to a halt are four-wheel disc brakes surrounded by 16-inch alloy wheels that shed the hubcaps. Climate can now be controlled automatically as can the one-touch opening feature on the added power moonroof. Rear passengers are treated well in the EX with, among other things, a second 12-volt power outlet they can easily access. Other additions to the rear seat area include a folding-armrest with beverage holders, a pocket on the front-passenger’s seatback, and the actual rear seat has a 60/40 split fold-down seatback. Six speakers now pump audio into the cabin and a navigation system is available.

2013 Honda Civic
Starting price

2013 Honda Civic LX

Recommended for: Those happy with all the base Civic does well.

Easily starting under $20,000, the LX offers value plus modern amenities. The exterior has 15-inch wheels with full-covers, daytime running lights and body-colored side mirrors. An included security system features remote entry with trunk release button. Safety systems like vehicle stability assist with traction control and anti-lock brakes are standard. Honda’s intelligent multi-information display (i-MID) is located on the LX’s center stack that stylishly flows into the center console with armrest and storage space. Windows and door locks are powered as well as feature illuminated switches. Also illuminated are the steering wheel-mounted audio/cruise controls. Audio is provided through a 4-speaker, 160-watt system with Pandora internet radio compatibility. Also standard is Honda’s voice-to-text SMS messaging function to promote safer driving.

2013 Honda Civic
Starting price

2013 Honda Civic EX-L

Recommended for: Buyers looking for standard leather-seating.

While the navigation system is not standard on the EX-L, it is still offered. Honda’s satellite-linked navigation system has voice recognition and a multi-angle rearview camera for a better picture of what lies behind EX-L owners. Also included with the navigation are XM Radio and FM Traffic for updated information on the road ahead. Multi reflector halogen headlights have the convenience of automatic on/off. Other exterior EX-L features consist of fog lights and heated side mirrors. Also receiving heat are the front-row seats, which along with the (non-heated) rear seats, are trimmed in leather. The steering wheel of the EX-L is wrapped in leather as well.

2013 Honda Civic
Starting price

2013 Honda Civic Si

Recommended for: Buyers who love the Civic's functionality but want more of an exciting drive.

Moving the Si from A to B is a 2.4L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine with just over 200 hp. A six-speed manual transmission with close-ratio gears and a helical limited-slip differential combine to transfer the engine's power to the ground. Also helping are four 17-inch alloy wheels and a strut front/multi-link rear suspension. Providing a sporty-appearance are fog lights, chrome exhaust-tip and body-colored rear spoiler. Interior features include cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free, and a rearview camera. Special Si interior additions are an aluminum shift-knob, aluminum pedals and extra-supportive sport seats with red stitching. Audio consists of a 360-watt, 7-speaker system (including subwoofer) with Pandora capability and USB/iPod audio interface. Honda's i-MID screen is standard and can be equipped with the available navigation system. Instrument gauges feature red backlights so Si-owners stand out, even at night.

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