Without admitting the recent redesign of the Honda Civic failed in many respects, the company launched an updated version of its top-selling sedan on Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the same day the car began rolling into dealerships across the country.
The 2013 Civic gets significant updates inside and out, as Honda responded to critics who panned the car for its lackluster appearance after a full redesign 18 months ago.
Honda placed a "critical focus on more emotional styling inside and out," product planning vice president Art St. Cyr said at the show.
He called it a "significant refresh," which comes just one model year after the latest generation launched.
The 2013 Civic gets a new grille, more sculpted hood, revamped front and rear bumpers, updated taillights and different wheels. The safety and technology features have also been updated.
Honda says sticker prices have been raised $160 across the Civic lineup for the 2013 model. That puts the base price of a Civic coupe at $18,755 and a Civic sedan at $18,995, including the $790 shipping charge. The natural gas version carries the highest base price at $27,255.
Honda says the quick refresh was needed to help the Civic compete with increasingly strong competition in the compact car segment.
Most importantly, Honda paid close attention to the cabin, adding soft-touch materials, a new instrument panel and better graining to make the car appear more upscale.
"We focused on refinements that provide a more premium feel," St. Cyr said.
More insulation was added, making for a quieter cabin, Honda claims, and the steering has been adjusted to provide a more linear feeling.
Meanwhile, Honda will bolster its lineup of electric cars next year, adding a plug-in and traditional hybrid to the Accord lineup. The plug-in is expected to get an EPA rating of 115 mpg-e and goes on sale in January. The hybrid variant gets 49 mpg in city driving, 45 mpg on the highway and 47 mpg in combined driving.
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Honda checked off only 2 of the three Civic problems. The one they missed was a performance enhancement to the engine's HP figure which hasn't chance since 2006. Honda will lose potential buyers because consumers know about it.
A two-thirds effort doesn't cut it.