Honda Refreshes 2013 Civic to Meet IIHS Tough Frontal Crash Test

Virtual Test Crash

When Hon­da rolled a revised ver­sion of the Hon­da Civic in 2012, it went over pret­ty well and sold in strong num­bers. But some peo­ple want­ed more – even bet­ter ride/handling, sharp­er styling, and nice inte­ri­or trim. Hon­da took it seri­ous­ly and rolled out a refreshed 2013 mod­el at the Los Ange­les Auto Show. The biggest issue for Hon­da has been pass­ing the tough new small over­lap frontal crash test devel­oped by the Insur­ance Insti­tute for High­way Safe­ty. It didn’t do so well in the first test, and need­ed a series of front-end mod­i­fi­ca­tions on the Civic. Only Vol­vo and the Acu­ra TL received Good rat­ings on the test­ed 2012 mod­els. There was anoth­er incen­tive for Hon­da, as the automak­er was pro­duc­ing a Civic deriv­a­tive for Acu­ra, the ILX, dou­bling the incen­tive.

In the small bar­ri­er test, a sim­u­la­tion takes place repli­cat­ing hit­ting a tree or pole oat 40 miles per hour, but so that the impact makes con­tact only with 25% of the front end on one side. Front-end crash man­age­ment sys­tems, for the most part, have yet to take in the small bar­ri­er fac­tor, and new mod­els need to be engi­neered for it. Hon­da uses what it calls its ACE – Advanced Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty Engi­neer­ing – process to design a front-end struc­ture for safe dis­tri­b­u­tion of crash ener­gy. The 2013 Civic gets the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion ver­sion – ACE II – uses Honda’s high­est-strength steel to pro­duce a com­plex net­work for ener­gy man­age­ment. The front and rear sus­pen­sions for all Civics were stiff­ened to reduce roll and improve han­dling and were com­bined with a quick­er steer­ing ratio.

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