The auto maker is using this week’s extravaganza to present a “new” Civic, an extensive upgrade of the 2012 Civic that was launched here a year ago and widely panned thereafter by automotive critics.
The new, new Civic, which is being marketed as the 2013 edition of the car, features a spiffier look, a more luxurious interior and rear backup camera that comes standard on all models—features aimed at improving the compact car’s image after the 2012 model’s rocky reception.
The restyling includes a new front grille, more sculpted lines on the hood and new tail lights that flow into the truck lid, giving the car a sportier look.
“We recognized where the market was going,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of product planning for Honda’s American division. “The competition is coming up with a lot more aggressive vehicles in the market.”
The 2013 model goes on sale today and will sell for $160 more than the current version, the company said. Unchanged in refreshed Civic is the engine and five-speed transmission.
Inside, the 2013 Civic compact is outfitted with a softer dashboard and more luxurious materials to replace the shiny, hard plastics in the 2012 version. The car’s instrument panel also has been redesigned with a cleaner look.
The updated Civic, however, faces tougher competition than it used to from rivals, including Detroit auto makers which for decades lagged in this segment. Ford Motor Co.’s Focus and General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Cruze offer more advanced six-speed automatic transmissions for smoother highway driving. The Detroit models also come with standard wireless “Bluetooth” systems to connect smartphones to the on-board multimedia systems. That function has been available only on the highest priced 2012 Civic models.