Automaker Responds to Critics with Early Refresh
If you just look at the sales numbers, you might wonder why the 2013 Honda Civic—introduced in its current generation less than a year ago—is getting the kind of deep makeover usually associated with vehicles that have been on sale three or four times as long. After all, deliveries of the Civic topped the quarter-million mark last month on a year-to-date basis, and that not only represents a gain of 38.8 percent as compared to the same period in 2011, but it’s also enough to lead the segment so far in 2012. Further, the Civic is one of just four cars—and the only compact—to deliver more than 250,000 units after 10 months of sales in this country.
So, why the need for speed in redesigning the Civic? It seems to be a matter of realigning the car to focus more on quality than quantity—at least as measured by the critics. For all the sales success of the current Civic, the car has received a critical drubbing in the press, perhaps best exemplified by getting the boot from Consumer Reports' annual list of “recommended” purchases. Thus, the 2013 Honda Civic Sedan will come to L.A. with, according to the automaker, “a host of safety, feature, comfort, chassis and interior styling enhancements that will further define the top-selling Civic as the best car in the compact class.”
Naturally, Honda is waiting until the Los Angeles event kicks off on Nov. 29, 2012, before unloading all the details of the 2013 Honda Civic, but the company has provided a few hints about what to expect, along with two photos of the upgraded sedan model. As should be obvious, the changes start right up front, where the car gets a new appearance that draws heavily on the look of the all-new 2013 Honda Accord. Particularly noticeable is the change to the car’s chrome grille bar, which moves from the leading edge of the hood to below the upper grille, with extensions that visually integrate with a more premium lighting treatment. A similar bar accent shows up in the lower grille, too, although the result is a bit more Kia-esque than in the Accord. The grille itself also swaps the current horizontal strakes for a honeycomb-mesh pattern.
Similarly, the rear of the 2013 Honda Civic has been modified with an eye toward better matching the appearance of the Accord as well. The new design is more detailed and features a strong chrome accent bar that both echoes the changes up front and, combined with a new trunk lid that now integrates the car’s rear lights, delivers a more finished look overall.
Other exterior modifications for the 2013 Honda Civic will include fresh wheel designs, a more deeply sculpted hood, a redesigned rear bumper with integrated reflectors, and a new lower diffuser panel with a mesh panel that complements the car’s new grille.
The party line from American Honda’s assistant vice president of product planning, Vicki Poponi: “The 2013 Honda Civic exterior refinements infuse Civic with a more youthful, premium style. Coupling these with additional changes beneath will ensure that Civic maintains its top-ranked status.”
Expect more details about the 2013 Honda Civic during the run up to the Los Angeles Auto Show.