Read the complete 2013 Honda Civic Review at AutoGuide.comKeeping up with expectations
by Colum Wood
How bad was the 2012 Honda Civic? Despite the less-than favorable reviews, not very. So why all the fuss?
With other automakers, ranging from the domestics to the surging Korean powerhouses of Hyundai and Kia, having stepped-up their respective games, 2012 was seen as a sink or swim moment for Honda. The once revered brand had suffered from a spate of problems, ranging from supply issues and low sales surrounding the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, to products that were either poor, or perceived to be that way, including the Insight, CR-Z and Crosstour.
In other words, Honda needed to do something big, right at a time when anything less than big would be perceived as half-assed. The 2012 Civic was undoubtedly of the partial-posterior variety.
FLAWS OF THE PAST
Based on eight previous generations of Civics, however, it was still near the top of the pack and even if it came up short in certain respects Honda was able to benefit from the hard-earned reputation for flawless reliability, making the Civic a strong seller.
2013 Honda Civic rear
Along with so-so style and less-than-quality interior components, the 2012 Civic also lacked the fuel economy of the competition. Not being able to hit the magical 40 mpg mark that its rivals bragged of (inaccurately it now appears), it also lacked the flashy marketing tagline “Best-in-Class Fuel Economy.”
The difference between 39 mpg and 40 mpg in the real world is negligible, but Honda failed to understand that perception is reality.
So 18 months after the original debuted Honda has updated the ninth generation Civic in only its second model year on sale, improving everything from the look, to the quality, to the drive.