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Car Review: 2013 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI

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In the battle for the compact sedan crown, Honda has come in with a refreshed Civic that is clearly the best Civic ever. The top-selling and award-winning Honda Civic returns for 2013 with a host of design upgrades and a bevy of new standard features, while still maintaining the efficiency and value that has made the Civic an automotive icon for the past 40 years.

EXTERIOR

The crimson pearl 2013 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI has a distinctive look and a confidence that comes with years of excellence. For 2013, the Honda Civic has received a host of changes that far exceed the typical mid-model refresh. The front and rear styling of the 2013 Honda Civic Sedan has been completely altered for a more youthful and premium feel, including sheet metal changes with an all-new hood and trunk lid. Up front, a new open-mouth lower bumper with a horizontal chrome accent and a sportier, black honeycomb mesh grille is anchored by new integrated fog lights on EX-L and above trims. The grille is flanked by new clear-lens corner lights to provide a more premium look. The 2013 Civic’s more sculpted front end flows into a taller, more deeply faceted hood.

In back, a new rear bumper design and rear trunk lid are capped by a clean, horizontal chrome trim piece. The all-new design of the jewel-like taillights now carries into the trunk face, providing a more finished and upscale look. The rear bumper features integrated reflector treatments and a new lower diffuser panel finished with a honeycomb mesh vent. While the expressive exterior styling of the 2013 Honda Civic Coupe remains unchanged, restyled wheels on all models help sharpen the look of the 2013 Civic.

INTERIOR

With a brand new design for 2013, there are many changes in the cabin of the 2013 Civic, but there is also a familiarity that the Honda brand carries over from decades of advancements. Inside, extensive refinements in design and construction gives the entire 2013 Honda Civic lineup a more premium feel, with an all-new tricot headliner, new soft-touch materials on the instrument panel and upper door treatment, and revised textures and panel junctions throughout the instrument panel and center console. Subtle silver accents in the interior lend a higher-quality look, along with door panel and seat fabric upgrades. Providing a more upscale environment, black carpeting and a trunk lid finisher are now standard on all Civic models. For the first time, Civic is available in both cloth and leather with an all-black interior. Our test model boasted beige leather that was upscale and sporty.

The 2013 Honda Civic provides a host of new class-leading standard features, including Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, Bluetooth Audio, rearview camera, color i-MID display, Pandora Interface, USB/iPod interface, SMS text message function, steering wheel audio controls, exterior temperature gauge and a sliding finished center armrest. Available on Civic EX, EX-L, Hybrid and Natural Gas models, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition now includes a multi-view rearview camera and provides routing and guidance to individual addresses and more than 7 million points of interest within the continental United States. With its 16 GB flash memory system, it offers fast route calculation and includes FM traffic, a subscription-free service that alerts drivers to traffic conditions. The rearview camera could be larger, as we have seen better on other models, but the steering wheel on the 2013 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI is top of the line and just the right size for driving this car.

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PERFORMANCE

This compact segment has been raising the bar on fuel economy, and the 2013 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI has reached new milestones with 28 mpg in the city and an impressive 39 mg in highway driving. Heavily revised for the ninth-gen Civic introduction for model year 2012, the Civic’s all-aluminum, 140-horsepower, i-VTEC® 1.8-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine is unchanged for 2013, continuing to provide exceptional responsiveness, refinement and fuel efficiency. Providing 128 lb-ft of torque at 4300 rpm, the Honda mill is paired with either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Under the skin, the 2013 Civic has had significant alterations aimed at enhancing handling refinement and noise isolation. A reworked Electronic Power Steering (EPS) setup reduces friction and provides a quicker ratio, while stiffer wheels, stiffer front springs and a thicker front stabilizer bar with new Teflon-lined mounting bushings are designed for more fluid suspension action and a flatter, more responsive cornering attitude.

Our test model had the 5-speed automatic with an overall smooth transmission with great handling. The rear suspension also receives a thicker stabilizer bar, increased spring rate, new Teflon-lined stabilizer-bar bushings, and reworked suspension bushings to increase both bump- and roll-motion stiffness. With its retuned MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, handling linearity, responsiveness and overall vehicle composure have been increased, while at the same time improving ride quality and the characteristic Honda fun-to-drive feel. For 2013, front brake-rotor diameter on automatic-equipped Civic LX, EX and EX-L Sedans and Coupes jumps 20 mm from 262 to 282 mm for improved stopping performance.

A large range of new noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) countermeasures work together to reduce road, engine and wind noise in the 2013 Civic’s interior. This includes a stiffer front subframe, new thicker windshield and front door glass, and additional soundproofing material in the dash, floor, doors and rear tray to help reduce unwanted road noise and provide a more serene ride and quieter cabin. The quiet cabin will definitely impress those who have not driven a Civic before, as there are some luxury cars who leak more outside noise.

OVERVIEW

With a retuned steering and suspension that sharpen the Civic’s handling, the extensive body and chassis upgrades improve the ride comfort and interior quietness for a combined enhancement that will grab the attention of new car buyers. Expectations were high when we tested the 2013 Honda Civic 4DR EX-L NAVI, and this new offering from Honda delivered on all fronts. What’s also impressive is the sticker price of $24,555 for a loaded car that looks great, rides like a champ and has unprecedented quality marks.

  

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