Honda brought out a comprehensively revised model after less than 18 months.

Seldom has a mainstream car from a reputable manufacturer attracted as much negative publicity as the 2012 US-market Honda Civic sedan. Reviewers criticised everything from the styling (boring, dated, a step backward) to the features (nothing new under the Rising Sun) to the build quality (poor fit and finish, cheap materials).

Some of the worst criticism came from the authoritative Consumer Reports, which absolutely panned the Civic, labelling it “cheap”. For a company that sells on perceived quality that must have really hurt.


Not only did Honda bring out a comprehensively revised model less than 18 months later, they made sure that Consumer Reports got one of the first 2013 Civics to reach the press fleet, just a couple of days after the 'new, improved' version was unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show.

Which didn't actually do them any good, because Consumer Reports don't review press cars - they send somebody out to buy one off the showroom floor!

Nevertheless, given the level of interest in this model, Consumer Reports' Tom Mutchler took the demo car for a “first impressions” spin - and here's what he had to say: