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A mere 18 months after it launched the current shape model, American Honda is about to reveal a styling update for the Civic. While the car has sold well, it has been subject to scathing reviews from the influential car reviewer Consumer Reports.

In a letter leaked to, an American Honda sales vice president advises the division’s dealers that “The changes made to the 2013 model will make the outgoing 2012 Civic a difficult model [to] sell when they are side to side.” Further, there will be “dramatic improvements to the exterior styling that moves Civic into a more premium sporty direction,” while the interior will receive “upgrades and improvements to bring more sophistication and quality to its appearance.”

In August, Consumer Reports told its readers to “avoid” the Civic, having already removed the car from its sought after ‘Recommended’ list of models.

The ironic part of Honda’s actions to hurriedly update the car is that the Civic is now the top-selling car in the US market’s compact class. Its 234,029 sales for the year to the end of September place it ahead of the Toyota Corolla/Matrix (222,700), Ford Focus (186,686), Chevrolet Cruze (180,600) and Hyundai Elantra (152,575).

American Honda’s letter notes a late November date for the arrival of the new Civic which suggests the car will premiere at the LA auto show.

The five-door Civic which is built in England and sold mostly in Europe will not be updated. Its exterior and interior are markedly different to that of the US and Canadian built sedan/coupe.

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By GlobalData

Author: Glenn Brooks