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STYLING | 7 out of 10
Although its dimensions remain the same, the new sedan looks lower and wider and its profile appears more fluid, thanks in part to new five-spoke wheel design.
The bilevel instrument cluster seems less like the bridge of a spaceship now that we've had a few years to acclimate
A redesigned front and rear, and new wheels, move the Civic a bit along the continuum from plain to fancy.
It looks more Accord-ish, but it still has too much ninth-generation Civic in this gen-9½ model
New York Times
maintains its familiar two-tier dash display
With last year's design tweaks, the Honda Civic added some influence from the latest Honda Accord on the outside, while upping the level of sophistication inside--if not quite in the way the cabin looks, in the way the materials feel.
Surprisingly, Honda made some significant changes then, after the Civic had received a full redesign just a year earlier, for 2012. That's because many cried foul over the new Civic's apparent cost-cutting throughout, as well as a a lack of overall detailing that left the newer model looking quite bland.
Those 2013 changes carry over to the 2014 Honda Civic, and while this model doesn't look particularly edgy or daring, it sizes up well against the competition--both in terms of styling and functionality.
With its "open-mouth" lower bumper and black honeycomb mesh grille, the Civic's look is a little more chiseled on the outside; and integrated fog lamps help punctuate the look in the upper trims, with new clear-lens cornering lamps (plus a chrome finishing bar in back and new Accord-like rear bumper design). From the rear, the lights and rear fascia serve to widen the look just a bit, although we're not big fans of the generic wide chrome bar that runs across the edge of the trunklid, connecting the taillamps.
Fundamentally, the Civic's footprint and stance haven't changed much in many years. In this current generation, its flanks are a little more sculpted—including a raked-upward character line—yet the roofline looks remarkably familiar.
Sporty 2014 Honda Civic Si models do get a set of racier upgrades—including new wheels, a blacked-out eggcrate grille, chrome-tipped exhausts, and a noticeable rear spoiler—that are bound to draw a little more attention. To complement that, there's a sportier theme inside: darker trim, sport seats, and details like a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The Civic Hybrid, on the other hand, blends in with the rest of the line—with the exception being different wheels and a (marginally) unique front fascia, as well as a small spoiler on the trunk lid.
Inside, the funky, oddly contoured, and asymmetrical instrument panel is probably what you'll first notice. Honda completely redid the materials for it last year, subbing in soft-touch surfaces, and the vast spans of grained gray plastic have been replaced with darker trims.
The upper tier of the dash is covered with a softer padded surface that extends around to the upper door trims (to the front doors, at least). Seat upholsteries were updated just last year, including faux-stitching that recurs throughout. Along with some of the other detailing, it helps with first impressions but up close it's not all that.
The 2014 Honda Civic is conservative, yet contemporary enough; and the few nips and tucks Honda gave it last year made it more handsome.