2013 sees two significant Honda models subtly improved, the Civic sedan, and the CR-Z hybrid coupe.

Both have come under criticism for different reasons, and a host of small updates and specification improvements should go some way to silencing the critics.

2013 Honda CR-Z

Honda's small coupe has faced flak since its release for being neither quick enough for performance car fans, weaned on the sporty CRX, nor hybrid buyers, who demand greater gas mileage.

Changes for 2013 go some way towards fixing those issues, and the new, more powerful CR-Z shows improvements in both fields.

As before, the 2013 CR-Z uses a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine. Between this and the six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission is an electric motor, providing assistance and harnessing power when required.

The electric motor has seen a performance boost, raising peak system power to 130 horsepower, and peak torque of 140 pounds-feet, in the manual version. A 'Plus Sport' system provides an extra boost for bursts of quicker acceleration.

With the CVT car, official combined economy is now 37 mpg, with 36 mpg city and 39 mpg highway ratings. Manual transmission cars get 38 mpg highway, 31 city, and 34 combined.

CR-Z pricing kicks off at $20,765 for the entry-level CR-Z. The EX model is priced at $22,455, which gets you LED daytime running lights, fog lights, a leather wheel and a 360-watt premium audio system. Both prices include a mandatory $790 delivery fee.

2013 Honda Civic sedan range live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

2013 Honda Civic sedan range live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

2013 Honda Civic

Media criticism of the pre-revision Civic didn't stop people buying them in huge numbers, but Honda has gone ahead and improved it anyway.

Quality and styling--two areas in which the old model scored poorly--have been improved. Honda has given the exterior a more expensive look, with heavier use of chromed trim and honeycomb black plastic, as well as a revised hood.

Interior plastics now look and feel higher-quality, and the standard equipment list is longer. You now get a rear-view camera, Bluetooth hands-free, USB and iPod connections, SMS text and Pandora features and steering wheel audio controls as standard.

Honda has improved safety, too. The company predicts the 2013 Civic will get a top score in IIHS safety crash testing.

With no changes to the engine range, we're not expecting significant differences in official EPA figures, when details are released. That means 32 mpg and 31 mpg combined for automatic and manual versions of the 1.8-liter car, 25 mpg combined for the sporty 2.4, and 44 mpg all-round for the Hybrid model.

Pricing starts at $18,955 for the base Civic LX, including the mandatory $790 destination and handling fee.


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