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The Honda Civic isn’t the fastest car or the most technologically advanced car, isn’t particularly visually striking, and certainly isn’t the most unique car. However, the Civic has always been the German Shepherd of cars: consistently good in all areas, including practicality, reliability, driveability, enjoyability, and efficiency…that is, until the dreaded 2012 Honda Civic arrived at our shores.

The 2012 Civic, which debuted in the spring of 2011, was a blasphemous concoction of cheap interior materials and bland design cues, leading Civic owners to question the authenticity of the Honda badge on front. In his WSJ article, Dan Neil describes the “moment of public shaming” for the 2012 Civic occurring when Consumer Reports announced that it would not be recommending the new Civic for the first time in a generation. As Neil so acutely perceives, “If it had been a samurai movie, it would have been raining.” I wouldn’t go that far, but it was certainly a moment of introspection at Honda. The Civic has become ingrained in the automotive culture as the perfect pairing of quality and dependability. It’s the 3-series of the compact market for Pete’s sake!; you can’t jeopardize that formula. Many even choose the vehicle as the basis of their project cars by staying on the lookout for a honda civic shell for sale upon which to build from the ground up.

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

2012-2013 Honda Civic Front

Fortunately, twenty months later, Honda decided to do a minor overhaul on the Civic and go back-to-basics for 2013. The cabin has been upgraded with better, more contoured seats and upholstery; a high-quality material stitched on the upper dash and doors; and a much improved center console featuring a 5″ LCD display with standard backup camera. Additionally, Bluetooth and Pandora are standard with the 2013 Civic. The car is more refined than its predecessor thanks to more sound-deadening, noise-reducing pads, and a thicker windshield and front window glass. The polished-chrome accents around the upper and lower grille and taillights create an aggressive, edgy stance absent on 2012 models.

Why is it so important for the Civic to be “all that it can be?”

2012-2013 Honda Civic Rear

The Civic has been an EPA champ six times, in three different decades, starting with the 1975 CVCC (the first year the EPA kept track). We all remember the ’89 Civic CRX HF, the bear-bones two-seater that sipped fuel at a miserly 41 mpg city/50 mpg highway…oh, and without the help of batteries; just a good ol’ 1.5-liter four-cylinder, mated to a 5-speed manual. Since 1986, the Civic has never achieved less than 24/29 mpg (the redesign achieves 28/39 mpg, by the way), a claim few models can make. The Civic has always offered good things (really good things) in a small, attainable package, one that scoffs in the face of excess and waste. It’s nice to see a return to normalcy.