Friday, September 6, 2013

Old reliable Honda Civic still has the stuff

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

 Sacramento, California – Hot sports cars and luxury liners that I’m fortunate to test drive get my undivided attention, but it’s good medicine to get back to the basics now and then.

 And I give you the 2013 Honda Civic EX sedan.

 OK, a Civic might not get your blood boiling, but it matters.

Why?  It’s the prototype starter car for budget-conscious motorists.  It’s likely going to be the car you trust most when it comes time to buy wheels for your kid.  It’s likely to be the car you pick for said offspring to drive off to college.

 I wish I had a nickel for every primo car “expert” I’ve talked to over the years who, when asked what motor vehicle they ultimately bought for their child, answered: I got him/her a Honda Civic.

 And that’s a good choice, old folks.  And while the kids might lust for a Corvette, the Civic is the wise choice.

 It gets great gas mileage.  Civics tend to run forever.  They’re uncomplicated.  They stand up well in safety ratings.  They can’t be accelerated from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds.  These are positive attributes when you hand the keys over to your young loved one.

 So, how does the 2013 Civic stack up in the long gray line of reliable transporters?

 From my week in the Civic EX four-door, it still holds a solid spot in the halls of practical motoring.  And this Civic is not just a warm-over from the reworked-for-2012 edition.

 You might recall that Honda took some heat for its 2012 make-over of the Civic.  Honda responded by making exterior styling changes and some tweaks inside the cabin.  All in all, the automaker did a good job of softening the rough edges it gave the Civic for the 2012 model year.

 The car’s exterior look is pretty basic, but nicely aerodynamic.  Inside, gauges are nicely laid out and easy to use.  However, I did not like the soft blue lighting in the information center behind the steering wheel.  In sunlight, I honestly couldn’t read what was displayed.  Even lit up at night, it was hard to read.

 My Civic with the 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder i-VTEC engine was smooth enough in freeway traffic and on city streets.  But it was challenged on uphill runs and struggled for long seconds to get up to speed in tight quarters on the open highway.  I really had to put my right foot deep down the well to get some performance.  That’s not necessarily a surprise with a 140-horsepower engine, but it’s something you need to consider based on your daily diet of driving.

 Safety and interior comfort/convenience features were plentiful and most welcome for an easy-on-the-eyes starting price of $20,815.

 All said, I’d still put the Civic on your top-five list of starter cars and young family transporters.  Ditto a reliable second car for rolling around town while the daily commuter is in the garage on weekends.

 Honda has preserved Civic’s sterling reputation and quickly executed some upgrades after a serious remake last year.  A good effort.


  1. Thanks for the review. So what cars are on your top 5 list for starter cars, especially for teens?

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