Black or Tan? How Our 2013 Honda Civic's Interior Has Held Up


There is generally one choice shoppers have when it comes to interior colors. Black or tan. Depending on the car you're considering, that choice could be black or light gray. But in simplest terms it means black or something that will show dirt.

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When we purchased our long-term 2013 Honda Civic we were most interested in the exterior color, Crimson Pearl, versus its interior color. But we thought the tan upholstery, black dashboard and floors teamed to the dark red exterior was a handsome combination. Did we think of how the interior would hold up over time? Definitely.


Nearly nine months and 9,717 miles later, with a dozen different people behind the wheel, the interior has held up rather well. There aren't significant wear points besides the floormats to point to, and the stains and a few of the discolorations the car currently has could easily be removed with some spot cleaner.


The driver seatback has a slightly more difficult stain because of the type of fabric. It was likely caused by one of the many young children who ride as passengers in safety seats in the back of the Civic.

The main issue we have with the interior has more to do with overuse and how dingy some areas look.


The worst offender is the rear seatback on the driver's side. This is the area you grab when folding the seats down or reaching back to put on your seatbelt. It is slightly discolored with some fabric pilling, like you find on clothes you've put in the dryer too many times.

This pilling is also found on the driver's door armrest, which I actually find myself using more than I thought I would. The center armrest is showing wear but not the same pilling effect. The Civic's upholstery does have some nap to it, which could be exacerbating the problem.


But if the interior were black it would be much harder to notice this wear, if at all.

Our Honda Civic has also received a fair amount of cleaning, professionally and by our own staff. We also have rules for editorial team drivers to make sure cars are free of any personal items at the beginning of each workday. This lack of clutter may not impact the overall appearance of the interior but it likely still has an impact on stains setting in.

If you worry about wear and tear and what your car will look like when you sell it — usually much longer than the year our Civic will stay with us — stick with a dark interior.

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2013 Honda Civic Versus 2013 Nissan Sentra Long-Term Test Fleet



Your comment regarding interior color choice isn't very realistic. For most Honda vehicles there is only a single interior color choice. Crimson Pearl for the Civic only comes with a beige interior.


I'll stick with a tan interior. So much cooler in the summer.

Anonymous Coward

I like that the floor carpets and floor mats are black, even with the ivory interior. Audi used to have ivory colored carpets & mats, and they looked filthy after a couple of weeks of use!

Light interior is only best it it's leather or pleather. Light interior gets easily destroyed over time. And black interior just gets so hot or at least that's my take on it. I've got a two toned interior in my hyundai and love it. Light and dark in all the right places.


I have black interior in my 2013 Civic and it does not get hot even when temp has been over 100 degrees. The windows do a good job of deflecting UV rays.

But the fabric does get dirty and stained rather easily. I spilled some Frappe once and the seat became hard and stiff. I had to soak tons of water into the seat & foam underneath to get it out with paper towels.

I need to spray the seats with Scotch Guard or cover them with seat covers before I completely ruin them.


Some Civic colors, like my silver LX, come in gray or black. I have black and haven't had problems with the heat in FL or stains. I've had quite a few compliments on how rich the interior looks compared to other compact cars at this price. I'm sure the digital dash has a lot to do with it but the gray looks a lot plainer.

Richard Burfoot

Black car interiors do not stay apparently cleaner over time and have you tried to find some keys or valuables in fading light
in a coalface black car interior?
Do folk paint their house interiors black?
Many small cars with cheerful light interiors are chosen by buyers in preference to miserable dull black, times are changing!

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