2013 Honda Civic Review and Prices
The 2013 Honda Civic is the best car for you if you want a compact that gets an emergency makeover -- whether it needs it or not.
The 2013 Honda Civic receives a shockingly quick update just one model year after a 2012 redesign. Freshened front and rear styling and a revamped cabin with higher-quality materials highlight the changes. Engines are unaltered, but there are additional standard convenience and safety features. Buyers liked the redesigned 2012 Civic enough to make it the compact-class sales leader. But the 2013 makeover proves Honda listened to media critics who said it looked dull and felt cheap. Speaking of cut-rate, the entry-level DX model has been discontinued, meaning 2013 Civic sedan prices now start at $18,995 (including destination fee), up from $16,745.
Should you buy a 2013 Honda Civic or wait for the 2014 Honda Civic? The 2014 Civic isn’t likely to change in ways worth waiting for -- not after the 2013 Civic gets a redo usually reserved for a car near the end of its design cycle, not one fresh off a full remake. Indeed, the 2013 Honda Civic delivers everything a compact-class buyer really needs: room, refinement, reliability, and resale value. The 2014 Civic will be a more expensive rerun.
2013 Honda Civic Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Honda Civic’s styling changes involve minor revisions but they’re effective, creating a sportier yet more sophisticated look. The changes apply only to the 2013 Civic four-door sedan. The 2013 Civic two-door coupe, which sells in far fewer numbers than the sedan, carries over with unchanged sheetmetal.
The updated 2013 Civic sedan’s basic profile is unaltered, but the body grows about 2 inches in length and the car gains up to 143 pounds, depending on trim level. The hood is recontoured and the grille is reshaped around a black honeycomb mesh insert. Addition of clear-lens corner lights and a new, open-mouth lower front bumper with a horizontal chrome accent achieve a more premium look. The stern goes upscale, as well, with new taillights, a new fascia with a honeycomb vent, and a new trunklid with horizontal chrome trim. Both the 2013 Civic sedan and coupe get restyled wheels.
Honda also makes adjustments beneath the 2014 Civic’s skin. More high-strength steel and structural stiffening reduce noise and vibration. A corollary goal is acing the latest safety tests. Honda says modifications designed to disperse crash energy should help the 2014 Civic earn top marks in the new offset-collision tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an influential insurance-industry-sponsored research group.
All these changes are calculated to address the rap that the redesigned 2012 Civic was an uninspired rehash the 2006-2011 Civic. Indeed, you needed to compare the eighth- and ninth-generation models side by side for the newer version’s more raked windshield pillars, more sharply creased body lines, and reshaped taillamps to be apparent.
The redesign didn’t alter exterior dimensions, though this ninth-generation Civic’s wheelbase emerged about an inch shorter than its predecessor’s. Wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear axles. Shortening typically results in reduced passenger legroom. But Honda managed to increase the ninth-generation’s rear legroom by a tangible 1.6 inches while also adding more shoulder width.
The 2013 Civic carries over those improvements and continues among the most spacious cars in the compact class, with fine room for four adults in a notably airy cabin.
It’s now also among the leaders for cabin décor. Returning is the love-it-or-hate-it bi-level dashboard design that places a digital speedometer in a cove above an analog tachometer. But gone is the abundance of hard surfaces and budget-grade plastics.
The 2013 Civic boasts soft-touch materials on the dashboard and upper door panels. Revised panel textures and junctions, upgraded seat fabrics, the addition of silver accents, and the surprisingly effective use of a thicker headliner create a richer-feeling passenger environment.
Even with the DX grade gone, the 2013 Civic lineup still numbers an impressive seven basic models, plus additional variations named to denote features such as leather upholstery and a navigation system.
Basic model designations shared by sedans and coupes are the volume-selling LX, the better equipped EX, leather-upholstered EX-L, and sporty Si. The high-fuel-economy Civic HF, the gas-electric Civic Hybrid, and the natural-gas-fueled Civic Natural Gas models return to round out the sedan roster.
Appearance differences among the 2013 Civic grades are subtle. All now have body-colored door handles and mirrors (the DX had black handles and mirrors). HF and Si models have a rear spoiler. Si versions also sport a front spoiler, fog lamps, and a chrome exhaust tip. The fog lamps on the 2013 EX-L and Si sedans are newly integrated with the reshaped lower front fascia.
The mileage-minded 2013 Civic Hybrid and HF return with lightweight 15-inch alloy wheels and low-rolling-resistance tires. Civic LX sedans and coupes repeat with 15-inch tires and plastic wheelcovers. EX and EX-L sedans and coupes have 16-inch alloy wheels, Si models 17-inch alloys.
Cargo volume for the current-generation Civic is about par for sedans and coupes in the class, at 12.5 cubic feet of trunk space for the Civic sedan and 11.7 for the coupe. Still, three prime Civic rivals, the Focus, Mazda 3, and Hyundai Elantra offer hatchback body styles that provide more carrying capacity and versatility. And the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagon is an appealing compact station wagon.
Mechanical: The 2013 Honda Civic uses carryover powertrains but suspension and steering systems are recalibrated to improve handling and structural enhancements benefit ride quality.
All Civics have front-wheel drive and four-cylinder engines. LX, HF, EX, and EX-L Civics repeat with a smooth-running single-overhead-cam 1.8-liter rated at 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque (loosely, torque gets a car moving, horsepower keeps it moving).
This engine’s horsepower and torque output continue to trail that of main compact rivals. But performance is fully competitive thanks in part to efficient Honda engineering that keeps the 2013 Civic among the lightest cars in the class, despite this year’s weight gains.
Notably quicker acceleration is the province of the 2013 Honda Civic Si sedan and coupe. They have a dual-overhead-cam 2.4-liter with 201 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Select turbocharged rivals with upwards of 250 horsepower are faster. But the comparatively rational 2013 Civic Si models parlay their responsive engine and handling-tuned suspension into genuinely entertaining driving manners.
The 2013 Civic Hybrid sedan uses Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) gas-electric powertrain. It teams a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine with an electric-motor system powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Net gas-electric output is 110 horsepower and 127 pound-feet of torque. This is not a plug-in hybrid, and it can’t accelerate exclusively on electric power, though it can cruise on electricity once up to speed. The Civic Hybrid saves gas mainly by using its electric motor to assist acceleration and by shutting off the engine when stopped, then automatically restarting as the driver releases the brake pedal.
The 2013 Honda Civic Natural Gas sedan runs on natural gas. It has 110 horsepower and 106 pound-feet of torque. Available in 37 states, it’s essentially a special-order model aimed at government- and commercial-fleet users.
The 2013 transmission choices again leave the Civic technically challenged against top rivals. LX models reprise a five-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. Some rivals use a six-speed manual. But the vast majority of compact-car buyers choose an automatic transmission and the 2013 Civic’s continued use of a five-speed automatic instead of a six-speed keeps it out of step with top competitors. On 2013 Civics, the five-speed automatic is available at extra cost on LX models and is standard on HF, EX, and EX-L models.
In transmissions, the more gear ratios the greater the opportunity to use the engine most efficiently. Honda insists its five-speed automatic delivers the desired performance and fuel economy without the added cost and complexity of a six-speed.
The 2013 Civic Si sedan and coupe continue only with a six-speed manual transmission. The 2013 Civic Hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which acts like an automatic but employs a rheostat-like delivery of power rather than set gear ratios
Civic has contemporary electric power steering, which eliminates the parasitic drag on the engine of a hydraulic system. Honda quickens its ratio for 2013. It also reworks parts of the suspension and increases the size of the front brakes on automatic-transmission 2013 Civics. The changes enhance road manners that already were among the most pleasing in the compact class. Isolation from bumps is outstanding, the steering satisfyingly accurate, and control through turns confident.
Overall refinement is a class benchmark, too, thanks to new noise, vibration, and harshness countermeasures. These include a stiffer front subframe, thicker glass in the windshield and front doors, and additional soundproofing.
Features: Shelving the entry-level DX model and bolstering the LX version’s list of standard features puts the 2013 Civic where it ought to be -- abreast of the most generously equipped cars in the compact class.
Among notable upgrades are Civic’s first rearview camera – standard on all models – and its first forward-collision and lane-departure-warning systems, which are exclusive to the 2013 Civic Hybrid.
To put the 2013 features story in context, DX models weren’t available with air conditioning, power mirrors, power locks, or cruise control. Taking over as the new entry-level Civic, the LX again comes with those essentials and for 2013 adds as standard Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone and USB iPod pod connectivity, the rearview camera, an exterior-temperature readout, a Pandora satellite radio interface, and the ability to display incoming text messages.
All 2013 Civics carry over a 5-inch screen located to the right of the speedometer. It houses Honda’s intelligent Multi-Information Display, or i-MID. This displays various audio, trip, and fuel-economy readouts. On sporty 2013 Civic Si models, the i-MID also furnishes performance specifications of note to enthusiasts. And on 2012 Civic Hybrids, it can trace the apportioning of gas/electric power output and details of fuel consumption. As before, the 5-inch screen is replaced by a crisp 6.5-inch map display on Civics equipped with the navigation system.
Among new safety features, Civic’s head-protecting curtain side airbags now deploy when sensors detect an impending rollover, not just in response to a side impact. Exclusive to the 2013 Civic Hybrid are this car’s first forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems. The former detects a possible collision with another vehicle or object ahead and provides visible and audible alerts to the driver; the latter alerts to unintended drift from a traffic lane.
As a corporation, Honda creates trim levels through an escalating set of defined features, and the 2013 Civic hues to that policy.
In addition to the abovementioned equipment, every 2013 Civic comes with power windows with automatic up/down for the driver, a front armrest storage console, and a tilt/telescope steering wheel with controls for audio and Bluetooth.
The 2013 Civic EX again adds to the LX trim a power moonroof, variable intermittent windshield wipers, 12-volt accessory outlets, and on EX sedans, a rear center armrest with cupholders. The 2013 Civic HF model is again tuned for maximum fuel economy but otherwise remains outfitted similarly to an EX sedan with automatic transmission.
As per Honda tradition, the “L” in EX-L denotes leather upholstery. In the 2013 Civic EX-L leather remains accompanied by heated front seats, heated mirrors, and automatic on/off headlamps, among other amenities. The 2013 Civic Hybrid’s features mirror those of the Civic EX models and it is also available with EX-L-level appointments.
In addition to powertrain, suspension, and styling modifications, the 2013 Honda Civic Si coupes and sedans continue with sport-tuned exhaust systems, specially bolstered front bucket seats, and a sequential dashboard graphic warning of approach to the engine’s rpm redline. Honda also continues to make 2013 Si models available with grip-maximizing summer-tread 17-inch tires.
The 2013 Civic’s basic audio system remains a 160-watt CD unit with an auxiliary jack for digital music players. The LX and HF sedans have four speakers, the LX Coupe, EX and EX-L sedans and the Hybrid have six. EX and EX-L coupes and Si models again come with a 360-watt audio system with six speakers and an 8-inch subwoofer.
Civic’s voice-activated navigation system is easy to program and responds fairly accurately to spoken commands. It’s available on the 2013 EX, EX-L, Si, Hybrid, and Natural Gas models.
To enhance cargo versatility, the 2013 LX and HF models have a one-piece folding rear seatback. EX, EX-L and Si models get 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks. The rear seatback in Hybrid and Natural Gas models doesn’t fold.
2013 Honda Civic Prices back to top
Base-price range for the 2013 Honda Civic is $18,995-$27,850 for mainstream retail models. Base-price range for the limited-release Natural Gas versions is $27,255-$28,755.
Absent the sub-$17,000 DX model, the 2013 Civic’s least expensive sedan now starts some $1,000-$1,500 above such rivals as the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, and Mazda 3, and $2,000 over the lowest priced Toyota Corolla, Dodge Dart, and Ford Focus. (All base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Honda’s fee for the 2013 Civic is $790.)
Coloring Civic’s base-price story is Honda’s no-stand-alone-options policy. For 2013, that means the LX comes with more standard features than most entry-point competitors. Equip those rivals similarly – with Bluetooth, cruise control, and a rearview camera, for example – and price gaps tend to narrow or dissolve. And to Honda’s credit, the 2013 Civic LX sedan is priced a modest $200 above the less comprehensively equipped 2012 Civic LX.
The 2013 Honda Civic LX sedan is priced at $18,995 with the five-speed manual transmission and $19,755 with the five-speed automatic. The 2013 Civic LX coupe is $18,755 with manual, $19,555 with automatic.
The 2013 Honda Civic HF sedan is priced at $20,555 and comes only with automatic transmission. With the HF, Honda follows the cue of the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Ford Focus SFE by outfitting a specific Civic to achieve particularly high fuel economy ratings – at some additional cost over otherwise unmodified models in the lineup.
Honda prices the 2013 Civic EX sedan and coupe at an identical $21,605 with automatic transmission. With manual transmission, the 2013 Civic EX coupe is $20,805.
The 2013 EX coupe and EX sedan with the navigation system come only with automatic transmission and are priced alike, at $23,105. The 2013 Civic EX-L models also come only with automatic and also are priced the same for both body styles: $23,055 without the navigation system and $24,555 with it.
The 2013 Civic Si sedan is priced at $23,505. It’s $23,705 with summer tires and $25,005 with the navigation system. With the same escalation of features, the 2013 Civic Si Coupe is $23,305, $23,505, and $24,805. Honda again offers the 2013 Si coupe with both navigation and summer tires for $25,005.
The 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid is a sedan that starts at $25,150. It’s $26,350 with the leather upholstery and $27,850 with leather and navigation.
Honda prices the 2013 Civic Natural Gas sedan at $27,255, or $28,755 with navigation.
2013 Honda Civic Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2013 Honda Civic are unchanged, sustaining this compact among the class leaders for mileage.
The 2013 Civic LX sedans and coupes are EPA-rated at 28/36/31 mpg city/highway/combined with manual transmission.
With automatic transmission, these models, along with the EX and EX-L sedans and coupes, rate at 28/39/32 mpg.
The 2013 Honda Civic HF sedan is rated 29/41/33 mpg.
All 2013 Honda Civic Si models rate 22/31/25 mpg and are the only Civics for which Honda requires 91-octane instead of 87-octane gas.
The 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid is among the most fuel-efficient cars available in the U.S., with EPA ratings of 44/44/44 mpg city/highway/combined.
All 2013 Civics except Si models come with a fuel-economy-boosting feature Honda calls Eco Assist with ECON mode. Eco Assist is designed to coach gas-saving driving by displaying color-changing bars near the speedometer readout. Green bars indicate a fuel-efficient driving style while a transition to blue denotes fuel-wasting habits. The ECON mode features a dashboard button that softens the drive-by-wire throttle response, changes automatic transmission shift points, and alters climate control operation to reduce fuel consumption.
2013 Honda Civic Release Date back to top
Rollout of the 2013 Honda Civics began in November 2012 with the mainstream sedan models. It continued through February 2013 with coupes, the Hybrid, the Si versions, and the HF in sequence.
Honda builds about 90 percent of the Civics sold in the U.S. at assembly plants located in North America.
What's next for the 2013 Honda Civic back to top
If Honda keeps this ninth-generation Civic on a six-year design cycle the next all-new version would be introduced for model-year 2017. That pace would have suggested a midcycle freshening around model-year 2015. This may still be part of the agenda – with the expected 2013 changes thrown in as an unprecedented interim step.
2013 Honda Civic Competition back to top
Ford Focus: These aggressively styled four-door sedans and four-door hatchbacks were all new for model-year 2012. Ford builds them on a global platform and imbues them with bona-fide German driving character. The 2013 Focus’s base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 160 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque. It rates 30 mpg city/highway/combined with manual transmission and 31 combined with Ford’s six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The SFE sedan rates 33-mpg combined. The 2013 Focus lineup adds the 252-horse turbocharged ST hatchback and the pure-electric Focus EV rated at 76 miles on a single plug-in charge. Focus beats Civic for infotainment technology and cabin materials. The Honda has more rear-seat room and less polarizing styling. Base prices for the 2013 Focus start at $16,995 for sedans, $18,090 for hatchbacks, and $24,495 for STs. The Electric is priced from $39,995. But a $30,000 gas Focus is possible if you indulge in every option.
Chevrolet Cruze: This is the most conservative-looking car in this grouping, but the solidly built Cruze has proved a hit since its model-year 2011 introduction. The 2013 Cruze remains available only as a four-door sedan that has a more confined feel than the Civic. The Chevy doesn’t ride or handle with quite the same spirit as the Civic or Focus, either. Base and turbocharged four-cylinder engines return, both at 138 horsepower but with the turbo making more torque, 148 pound-feet to 125. Transmission choices are a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, though no combination feels notably lively. Fuel-economy ratings with the more popular automatic transmission are 27-mpg combined for the base engine, 30 for the turbo. The 2013 Cruze Eco model rates 33-mpg combined with manual, 31 with automatic. The 2013 Cruze base-price range is $17,925-$19,020 for non-turbo models, $19,605-$24,345 for better-equipped turbo versions. The Eco starts at $20,475. Add around $1,000 to any Cruze to get the automatic transmission.
Hyundai Elantra: The 2013 Toyota Corolla – by far the oldest design in this grouping – continues with strong sales. But we’d recommend that forward-thinking compact shoppers look to the Elantra as a Civic alternative. Benefitting from a boffo model-year 2011 redesign, Elantra emerged from the South Korean company’s studios as a roomy compact that accompanied its eye-catching shape with solid quality, great value, and impressive fuel economy. The 2013 lineup expands to include the fashionable 2013 Elantra coupe and a new four-door hatchback, the Elantra GT. All have a 1.8-liter four-cylinder with 148 horsepower and 131-pound-feet of torque. Sedans rate 33 mpg city/highway combined with both the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions. Coupes and GTs are just 1-mpg shy of those ratings. Elantra’s rear-seat room falls short of Civic’s. And the Hyundai doesn’t ride or handle with the polish of a Civic or Focus. Its engine’s a bit gruffer, too. But no compact gives you more styling or features for the money. Base price range is $17,470-$21,720 for sedans, $18,220-$21,520 for coupes and $19,170-$20,170 for the GT.