After decades of offering some of the best C-segment products available, Honda made the mistake of phoning in its latest generation of Civic just as the entire competition stepped up its game. Compared to the previous generation of Cobalts, Corollas, Elantras and Focii, the current Civic might be a fine car… but compared to the new crop of compacts, its barely competitive. In his TTAC review, Michael Karesh called the new Civic “a low point” and “dreadfully dull,” while Consumer Reports struck the body blow by failing to recommend the Civic for the first time in memory. And though Honda’s initial reaction showed signs of a potentially fatal bunker mentality, lashing out at CR and pointing to a second place Motor Trend showing (because that’s proof of an absence of mediocrity), it seems the company is coming around.
Automotive News [sub] reports that a mid-cycle refresh planned for Spring of 2014 has been pulled forward to 2013, as Honda’s John Mendel says
We take feedback seriously, regardless of who it’s from, and we will act accordingly quickly. I don’t know how much we can do, and how quickly. But the comments of Consumer Reports and our customers have not gone unnoticed. We are appropriately energized.
If the late-2013 refresh date is right, Honda should have a few months before Hyundai’s new Elantra (which is on a four-year development cycle) hits the market, and the Civic refresh should coincide with the Cruze’s mid-cycle update as well. Behind the eight-ball in this segment for the first time ever, Honda is going to have to dig deep and work wonders to return the Civic to its previous greatness.