Fierce rivalry in the bubbling small-car sector has led one player - Honda - to take the knife to its Civic hatchback prices. One version has had $4500 wiped off its sticker price compared with the same car sold in December.
Entry-level VTi-S has $2000 chopped off its price, now $20,650 yet it adds more features including a reverse camera and Bluetooth audio streaming. Honda Australia director Stephen Collins admits that the VTi-S's equipment level wasn't up to that offered by market rivals.
Honda sold almost 11,500 Civics in 2012 and while up significantly on 2011, was trounced by players including the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus while recording one-quarter of the volume of the category leader, the Mazda3.
Changes for 2013 also include more equipment for the mid-spec automatic-only VTi-L - which is now $25,490, down $4500 on last year's model - and the addition of a premium VTi-LN that debuts at $29,590.
The VTi-L now comes standard with extras over its 2012 model that include a push-button starter, auto dimming mirror, electric seat adjustment and privacy glass. But it replaces the outgoing model's leather upholstery with cloth.
The new VTi-LN fills out the cabin with satellite navigation with live traffic updates, DVD player and leather seats with front heaters. All Civic hatch models have Bluetooth audio streaming, cruise control with speed limiting facility, a reversing camera, six-speaker audio and Emergency Stop Signal system.