2013 Honda Civic Versus its Competitors

Before Cars.com's $20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge in November 2013, we took a detailed look at how our long-term 2013 Honda Civic stacked up individually against the 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Toyota Corolla (before the 2014 redesign) and 2014 Kia Forte.

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For 2013, the Civic gained notable improvements after a half-hearted 2012 redesign. Our yearlong goal with the Civic was to assess those changes against other compact sedans that entered our rotating fleet of manufacturer-provided test cars. Below, see how well the updated Civic performed head-to-head against three of those competitors in the following categories: cabin quality, noise, handling, acceleration, braking, ride, gas mileage, seats and roominess, and multimedia usability.

2013 Honda Civic Versus 2013 Nissan Sentra

Winner: Sentra

Both the Civic and Nissan Sentra were redesigned for 2013 and had a lot of new goods to show off. Our Civic's $19,755 price with destination and automatic transmission was close to the Sentra's $21,370 asking price, which was unlike the optioned-out Forte EX or pricey Corolla S we also pitted against the Civic. The results were close, but in the end, the Sentra won us over in five categories over the Civic's four; we preferred the Sentra's quiet comfort and higher fuel economy.

2013 Honda Civic Versus 2013 Toyota Corolla

Winner: Civic

Comparing a redesigned 2013 Civic to the ancient 2013 Toyota Corolla was a lopsided battle since the Corolla looked and felt dated before its 2014 redesign; we tested the 2014 Corolla in our $20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge. Still, the 2013 was the only Corolla on sale at the time of our head-to-head comparison. On top of the Corolla showing its age, it was also saddled with ridiculous options such as $1,999 wheels. The Civic won eight categories to the Toyota's one — ride quality — in a no-brainer decision.

2013 Honda Civic Versus 2014 Kia Forte

Winner: Forte

Comparing the Civic head-to-head with this particular Forte was controversial. The Forte we drove was a loaded EX trim level with the more powerful engine and enough options to raise the MSRP by $6,000 over a base Forte's price. The Forte dominated seven of the categories to the Civic's two wins of fuel economy and handling. However, we contended that a Forte LX without the higher price tag would have a similar competitive advantage. That proved accurate as a 2014 Forte LX won our $20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge against the 2013 Civic, redesigned 2014 Corolla and four other compact sedans.

$20,000 Compact Sedan Challenge

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