2013 Honda Civic EX Sedan (1.8L 4-cyl. 5-speed Automatic)
Driven On 3/26/2013
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
The refreshed Civic is particularly notable for its redesigned cabin. The use of soft-touch materials, sound-deadening and suspension mods to smooth the ride are class-leading. Add an extended list of standard equipment and suddenly, the Civic is back at the head of the class.
PerformanceThe Mazda 3 has long been the driver's choice in the compact segment. But this iteration of Civic gives it the most challenge it's seen in some time.
The 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder has just enough power for most commuting action. The automatic makes do with 5 gears in an era of 6-speeds, and can't be shifted manually.
The Civic required 130 feet to reach a stop from 60 mph. That's a bit below average for the compact class.
Steering effort is appropriately light and precise, but doesn't offer much in the way of feel.
The Honda is playful and surprisingly capable in transitions. The Continental ContiProContact tires are its limiting factor here.
Around town, the Civic met all of our needs as a comfy daily driver. The sportily tuned steering and suspension added a dash of fun to the mix, even though it's low on usable power.
ComfortThe Civic sets the bar for ride comfort and quietness among compact sedans. Overall seat comfort is nearly as remarkable.
Most will find the wide seats welcoming. It's easy to find a comfortable position, even for all-day traveling. The rear seats offer adequate leg- and headroom.
Honda clearly paid a lot of attention to the Civic's suspension in this refresh. It displays none of the busy, sometimes rough ride quality of other compacts.
Honda used sound-deadening to elevate the Civic to the top of the class in noise suppression. Road, wind and tire noise are all significantly muted.
InteriorWhile it's not visually stunning, the Civic's redesigned interior is ergonomically excellent. The combination of buttons and dials is logically arranged and an example of how to do it right.
Displays are oriented slightly toward the driver, which is an ergonomic plus. The combination of buttons and dials simplifies the use of all center stack controls.
Wide, flat seat bottoms ensured we had no trouble sliding in and out of the Civic. Step-in height is average.
For the Civic's size, the cabin feels spacious. We found enough pockets and bins for all of our loose items. There's decent room for 6-footers in the backseat.
A high parcel shelf limits rearward visibility, but no more than competitors. Standard rearview camera eliminates most blind spots. Forward visibility is good.
Cargo capacity is average. The rear seat folds in a 60/40 split to allow for larger items. But the narrow pass-through puts some limitations on what you can squeeze through there.
ValueBuild quality and use of materials are areas where the Civic really sets itself apart from the pack. A long list of standard features gives it an edge in this value-driven segment.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Build quality is back up to the Honda standards we're accustomed to. The use of hard plastics on high-traffic surfaces is minimal.
Standard Bluetooth, rearview camera, iPod integration and apps such as Pandora give the Civic an edge over other compacts.
The MSRP for the four-door EX was $20,815 at the time of our test. This is about average in the segment, considering its long list of standard equipment.
EPA estimates rank the Civic at 28 mpg around town and 39 mpg on the highway, which is average for the class. We averaged 29 mpg over 1,000 miles of combined driving.
The Civic comes with three-year/36,000-mile basic, five-year/60,000-mile drivetrain and five-year/unlimited miles rust and corrosion warranties.
No complimentary maintenance or roadside assistance are offered. But Honda has a long-standing reputation for reliability.
Fun To DriveSteering and suspension tweaks from the previous Civic really show in the sense that they make this Honda fun to drive. It's a quality rare to this breed of car.
The Civic's steering and suspension are up to the task of keeping things fun. New offerings from Dodge and Kia have noticeably quicker acceleration in the real world.
Lively handling breathes personality into the Civic, keeping it from being just another run-of-the-mill compact sedan. A more powerful engine would be icing on the cake.