If you've visited a car dealer lately you know that in most cases, the 2014 models are on the lot and salesmen are eager to send you home in a 2013 model, to make room. But the 2014 Honda Civic, one of America's best-selling cars, has yet to make an appearance.

Just when the new Civic will show up in showrooms is anyone's guess, because Honda hasn't said. Industry guesses have ranged from late fall to early first quarter 2014. However, the public will get its first glimpse at the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas Nov. 5.

While Honda has had little to say about the new Civic it recently confirmed that the car will be receiving a "mid-cycle refresh," meaning the Civic will get some new enhancements. If the changes turn out to be major, it would be the third straight year for that.

Winning converts

The Civic has always been a popular entry-level car but won new converts when it moved from the sub-compact to the compact class in 2001. U.S. sales totaled nearly 318,000 in 2012.

Automotive site Edmunds.com notes the 2012 Civic got a major makeover that was not received all that enthusiastically. Honda responded with a significant refresh that earned high marks from Edmunds reviewers, along with others in the industry.

Improvements in the 2013 model, including enhanced fuel economy that bumped the highway rating to 39 mpg, have helped the Civic stand out as a compact segment leader. In the absence of details, dealers are left to speculate and hope. Benson Honda of San Antonio suggests that if the automaker implements a version of its Earth Dreams engine in the new Civic, it's possible that the car will break the 40 mpg highway barrier.

Integrated Internet radio

One improvement might be in the Civic's entertainment system. The automotive site Best New Cars expects the addition of a system that allows drivers to connect to Pandora Internet radio and have text messages read aloud over the audio system. It also predicts push-button start and heated seats. 

“As far as security technologies in 2014 Honda Civic will have ACC and CMBS. ACC allows you to set a constant speed and the distance from the vehicle in front of you. All this is possible thanks to the sensor which is located behind the front grille,” the site says. “CMBS system pre-screen in front of your vehicle and promptly notifies you if you need to take a specific action. If necessary, starts and braking.”

4-Car Reviews, an automotive industry blog, predicts only small changes to the 2014 Civic.

“The Honda Civic will not change beyond perhaps a new color choice or two or maybe some juggled functions,” the site says. “Gas mileage is unlikely to get much better unless Honda goes extreme and presents a new automated gearbox.” 

The civic has gotten bigger over the years, but may not get any larger. After all, Honda must protect its midsize model, the Accord. Still, many industry insiders note that the Civic boasts passenger volume of nearly 100 cubic feet, which might help explain its continued popularity.

It completes with the Ford Focus and Fiesta and Chevrolet Cruz, which are already out with their 2014 models and perhaps, are taking a few sales that might have gone the Civic's way. On the other hand, Honda is building a buzz among industry insiders and, it hopes, with consumers.

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