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2013 Civic's tweaks boost driving experience

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For 15 years in a row, notes Damien Burns, the Honda Civic has been Canada's top-selling car and, the top selling Birchwood Honda West sales rep adds, Manitoba and Winnipeg dealers expect the newly arrived 2013 model to continue the tradition.

The 2013 Civic began appearing in Honda showrooms here in mid-December. Honda has made some minor changes for the 2013 Civic, Burns notes, citing, for example, the new soft-touch dash, the quieter ride and a better ability to handle bumps in the road.

"All the 2013 Civics now come with standard heated seats, backup cameras and Bluetooth audio," Burns says.

In appearance, he notes, the designers of the 2013 Civic borrowed heavily from the Accord to give the new Civic a more aggressive look. Burns also pointed out the sportier looking black and chrome rims.

The leather model, he reports, has had a change of name -- from EXL to the Touring. And a new black interior is now available while the beige interior option has been discontinued.

The 2013 Civic is powered by the same 1.8L i-VTEC engine as its predecessor. The engine produces 140hp and 128 lb.-ft. of torque and maintains Honda's strong tradition of industry-leading fuel economy.

Burns reports that the model gets 56 mpg on the highway and 39 mpg in city driving. "The Civic also has an econ mode feature that improves fuel economy by up to 6.5 per cent when engaged," he says.

The base price for the new model is $17,287 (including freight, pdi, block heater and rear splash guards). The top-of-the-line Touring model costs $26,687 (including freight, pdi, block heater and rear splash guards).

"Our most popular model, the LX, sells for $21,237 and is very well equipped," Burns says.

He reports that the 2013 Civic is generating a lot of interest.

School teacher wins Vickar Nissan Leaf draw

Holly Derkson says that she was flabbergasted when she got the call telling her that she was the winner in Vickar Nissan's Leaf draw. "I thought someone was joking," says the longtime Grade 1 teacher at Radisson School in Transcona. "Many things have been going right in my life lately and this is the cherry on the cake."

The Vickar Nissan contest was open to all customers purchasing new or used vehicles between Oct. 1 and the end of December. Derkson, who purchased a 2013 Rogue at the dealership on Oct. 20, was one of more than 150 customers who were eligible for the draw. The draw for the Leaf, Nissan's all-electric car, was held on Jan. 5. The lucky winner came in and picked up her new vehicle on Jan. 9.

New general manager for Birchwood Kia West

For Ryan Kolmel, becoming the new general manager at Birchwood Kia West is a homecoming of sorts. Kolmel started in sales with the Birchwood Auto Group at Saturn on Regent back in 1999 and was working his way up the corporate ladder -- he had become used car manager on Birchwood Honda on Regent -- when, in 2008, he left to pursue other avenues, most notably the marketing of a software product for the auto industry.

"While I wasn't selling, I was still involved in the industry in consulting and training throughout North America," he says. "But I found that I missed the retail side of the business."

Kolmel was encouraged to return to the Birchwood Group by longtime friends such as Craig Becker (now the vice-president of Operations for the Birchwood Group) and Mike Dobush (now Birchwood Honda on Regent's general manager). Kolmel assumed his new role at Birchwood Kia West on Oct. 1, replacing Don Miller, who has taken charge at Birchwood's Pointe West Collision Centre.

"A lot has changed in the industry since I was last in retail sales," Kolmel says. "There is a lot more technology and the Kia brand has come a long way. Kia's market share is growing noticeably."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 18, 2013 E4

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