The Civic lacks the passion, soul, and entertaining driving dynamics of its predecessor. Mainstream buyers may not care, but enthusiasts surely will.
That echoes the theme for the 2012 Civic from virtually all auto reviewers and even led to Consumer Reports revoking the car from its “Recommended” list. It’s a stumble from Honda that used to be unthinkable but seems to be more common with today’s models (specifically the Crosstour and Ridgeline).
To Honda’s credit, it’s been able to act fast and provide an “emergency refresh” for the 2013 Civic, pictures of which were released yesterday and posted on Facebook. Will the quick tweaks be enough to get that lost passion back?
The photos, of course, show only some of the skin-deep changes Honda has applied. The front end is much more like the bigger Accord‘s, with a large chrome accent bar, a black honeycomb grille and new headlamps hugging new shapely lines that flow up into the curvaceous hood. Out back, there’s a new bumper and diffuser, and the chrome accent gets picked up again at the taillamps.
Here’s where things get interesting, though. Honda didn’t need to make these changes, because buyers still love the car. Through October, sales were up almost 40 percent over last year. Is the Civic brand so unbreakable that Honda can do whatever it wants and still sell cars? For now, that seems true. But without these new changes, which we hope include upgraded mechanics to make the car fun again, enthusiasts could slowly lose interest, which might be the first sign of the Civic losing its grip on American buyers.
Full details on the new Civic will come on November 29, when it gets its L.A. Auto Show full reveal. Coincidentally, that’s also the day you and I can head to our local Honda store and take a test drive.
This refresh, after just one year, will create an interesting dilemma for used buyers. There will be a big difference between 2011, 2012 and 2013 models, but probably not a huge price difference for at least the next couple of years. For my money, my used Civic would probably be from the early 2000s and have the high-revving K20 engine. Good stuff!
Will the 2013 Civic put Honda back on your list?