Next year, the Honda Civic celebrates its 40th Anniversary in America, but with a new exterior design and new standard features, the party has already started. The Civic is the nation’s best-selling compact car, and Honda refreshes it for 2013, just one year after its debut as an all-new model in 2012.

The redesigned Civic was introduced at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s a sign of how fast things change in the automotive universe, and how automakers respond quicker than ever to market conditions and consumer desires.

The Civic comes with two or four doors, and there is a Civic Hybrid. Our test car this week was the Civic 2-door Si with navigation, a sporty performance version with a larger engine.

The Civic comes standard with a 140-horsepower inline 4-cylinder that produces 128 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is either a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic. The Civic SI gets a 201-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder upgrade with a six-speed manual transmission.

We enjoyed our week with the sporty Civic Si. It had plenty of power for scooting around town, and the 6-speed manual offered a fun alternative to the automatic transmission.

While the Civic’s exterior sheet metal has been redone, for my money the Civic shines brightest on the inside. The cabin was quiet, with upscale materials and finishes.

We particularly liked the layout of the dash. Critical gauges are right in front of the driver instead of to the right on the center stack. A tachometer is behind the steering wheel, while speed and a range of other information are displayed above in a wide window. Other controls are on the steering wheel. It’s a great design that helps eyes stay on the road rather than down and to the right.

Mileage for the Civic is excellent, averaging 32 miles per gallon with the automatic transmission. City mileage is 28 mpg, while the Civic will take you 39 highway miles on a gallon of gas. The Civic Si gets 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, for an average of 25 mpg. With its 13 gallon tank, the Civic has an average range of 416 miles and a maximum range of 507 highway miles.

Standard features on every 2013 Civic model include Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, a rearview camera, Pandora, SMS text messaging and steering wheel audio controls, which is a pretty healthy list of standard amenities for the Civic’s price range.

The 3013 Civic starts at $18,165 for the base LX sedan. The EX sedan starts at $20,815 and the Si sedan starts at $22,715. The LX coupe is $17,965, and our test Si 2-door with navigation had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $24,015, plus freight.

From a safety standpoint, the 2013 Honda Civic sedan is a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The 2-door has not been tested. The front end of the car has been redesigned to enhance safety, and the Civic has a full complement of standard airbags including side curtains with rollover sensors, anti-lock brakes, side impact door beams, and front and rear crumple zones.

Sixty-five percent of the Civic’s parts are from the U.S. and Canada, and the vehicle is assembled in Canada.

Our test week with the little 2013 Civic 2-door Si was a fun diversion, filled with sporty performance and sure-footed handling. Happy early anniversary , Civic. Enjoy your party.

2013 Honda Civic Si 2-door with Nav

  • Engine: 2.4-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower:: 201
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Test model base price: $24,015
  • EPA mileage rating: 22 mpg city / 31 mpg highway