By David Thomas on September 4, 2013
There is generally one choice shoppers have when it comes to interior colors. Black or tan. Depending on the car you're considering, that choice could be black or light gray. But in simplest terms it means black or something that will show dirt.
When we purchased our long-term 2013 Honda Civic we were most interested in the exterior color, Crimson Pearl, versus its interior color. But we thought the tan upholstery, black dashboard and floors teamed to the dark red exterior was a handsome combination. Did we think of how the interior would hold up over time? Definitely.
Nearly nine months and 9,717 miles later, with a dozen different people behind the wheel, the interior has held up rather well. There aren't significant wear points besides the floormats to point to, and the stains and a few of the discolorations the car currently has could easily be removed with some spot cleaner.
The driver seatback has a slightly more difficult stain because of the type of fabric. It was likely caused by one of the many young children who ride as passengers in safety seats in the back of the Civic.
The main issue we have with the interior has more to do with overuse and how dingy some areas look.
The worst offender is the rear seatback on the driver's side. This is the area you grab when folding the seats down or reaching back to put on your seatbelt. It is slightly discolored with some fabric pilling, like you find on clothes you've put in the dryer too many times.
This pilling is also found on the driver's door armrest, which I actually find myself using more than I thought I would. The center armrest is showing wear but not the same pilling effect. The Civic's upholstery does have some nap to it, which could be exacerbating the problem.
But if the interior were black it would be much harder to notice this wear, if at all.
Our Honda Civic has also received a fair amount of cleaning, professionally and by our own staff. We also have rules for editorial team drivers to make sure cars are free of any personal items at the beginning of each workday. This lack of clutter may not impact the overall appearance of the interior but it likely still has an impact on stains setting in.
If you worry about wear and tear and what your car will look like when you sell it — usually much longer than the year our Civic will stay with us — stick with a dark interior.
Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David