I've only had my Civic Hybrid for a little over a week, but I couldn't wait to write this review. I had researched hybrid cars for a little over a year, and finally settled on the Honda Civic Hybrid over the Toyota Prius. Engine
The Honda Civic Hybrid has a 1.3 L single overhead cam four-cylinder gas engine, which runs with the help of an Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system that features integrated gasoline engine and electric motor operation. The battery for the electric motor is recharged during braking, and by the gasoline engine during driving (information from 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid Quick Start Guide). The Civic Hybrid is very streamlined--you can't get one with a sunroof and you can't open the trunk with a key in order to save on every possible source of wind resistance and extra weight. The engine also has an Auto Idle Stop feature which helps to maximize fuel economy--after certain conditions are met, the engine shuts off when you come to a stop and restarts when you release the brake pedal. This can be a little disconcerting at first, but you'll get used to it fast. The engine starts up again so smoothly when you take your foot off the brake, you'll hardly notice it at all, and it's so nice to think of the gas money you're saving while sitting at a stoplight!
Driving this car feels super-smooth. It's a small car but doesn't feel too light on the road, as I found when I drove home in a snowstorm. Steering and braking are very responsive. I've read some complaints about the pickup with this car, but so far I haven't had any problems. You won't be able to jet from 0-60 in a second or anything, but this little car goes when you need it to. Compared to my Saturn, the pickup is wonderful. Gas Mileage
In tests, the Civic Hybrid got 40 city miles/gallon and 45 highway miles. The gas tank holds 12.3 gallons. I've driven mine about 350 miles in ten days and haven't had to fill up yet. One really cool thing about the car is the gauge on the instrument panel which tells you how many mpg you're getting as you're driving; for example, last night as I inched toward home in bad traffic on icy roads, the gauge showed that I wasn't getting very good gas mileage. On a normal day, however, going down a hill on the highway, it shows that I'm getting about 100 mpg. Look and Comfort
The Honda Civic Hybrid is very cute (I personally found it cuter than the Prius). It is very streamlined--a nice, small car. It is unexpectedly roomy inside--three adult friends rode in the backseat comfortably over the weekend (unlike my old Saturn, where they were squashed). There is a lot of trunk space too. My car is silver with blue interior, but several other colors are available as well.
One of my favorite parts of the car is the automatic temperature control--sounds silly, but considering I hadn't had a new car since 2002, it seems like a miracle of science to me that I can set a temperature I want the car to be, and it controls the heat/air on its own--no more messing with the fan or temperature dial!
The seats are comfortable. The car's windows let in a lot of light. I've read that other drivers have complained about road noise in this car, but I don't mind it (that may be because I'm used to driving a very noisy Saturn). The engine is so quiet you can hardly hear it when you turn the car on, and it stays quiet throughout your drive! Handling
As I said, I haven't had the car for long, but so far I've loved driving it! It handles like a dream--very smooth steering and ride. Last night I drove home in a snowstorm on roads that hadn't been cleared, and had no trouble sliding or slipping at all, even on hills. Features and Price
Here I'll list the features for the Honda Civic Hybrid from the Quick Start Guide. The car comes with:
Maintenance Minder, which will remind me about oil changes and other routine maintenance when the time comes (The dealer said that the Hybrid only needs its oil changed every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, another welcome change from a standard car).
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (I am also very excited about this, as my old Saturn didn't have one, causing me to worry I was driving on improperly inflated tires)
Auto Lock/Unlock doors locks
Dual-level instrument display panels, including outside thermometer gauge (nice!), battery level indicator, IMA Charge/Assist gauge, etc.
Side airbags and side curtain airbags--The Civic has a system which will disable the passenger side airbags if a person or object that weighs less than 65 pounds is in the front passenger seat.
Tilt and Telescoping steering wheel
Keyless Entry Remote--The keyless entry remote is actually part of the key itself instead of being an extra thing to put on your keychain--also very nice. And I've found that I can insert the key either way into the ignition (with the buttons facing me or not)--not a big deal, but kind of a nice touch.
The sound system is good for a standard, from-the-factory system--good sound quality, easy to use with volume controls on steering wheel as well as on the stereo itself. Mine also has a place where I can hook up an iPod--this is a really nice and fun addition, especially on long trips.
You can get one with a navigation system and XM radio also, although mine is the simpler version.
I paid about $23,000 for my new car, and I have loved every minute I've driven it (even though it hasn't been long!). I plan to take the car on several road trips a year, and am looking forward to the excellent gas mileage, as well as the sense of satisfaction that comes from driving a socially responsible car.
Update: After driving this car for 3 months now, I still have to say that I love it. I have had no problems with it whatsoever, and it consistently averages 41 miles per gallon!
Second Update: Now that I've had my car for just under a year, I'm still loving it. The car has a little under 15,000 miles on it now, and the only maintenance I've needed has been 2 oil changes (about every 7,000 miles) and I've my tires rotated once. Oil changes for a hybrid are slightly higher than for a standard car (about $10 more), but I get them about half as often as I did with my Saturn, so it's a great deal. Also, Honda sends tons of coupons for maintenance each month--I've never had to pay full price. In fact, my first oil change was free.
I go to my dealership for maintenance--Honda's customer service has been awesome so far. I've never had any problems--the service department gets me in and out really fast (much faster than the Saturn dealership or the old Chevrolet dealer I used to go to). Their waiting room is comfortable and roomy, they serve Starbucks coffee and a variety of teas and hot chocolate from a machine, and they always have snacks, like donuts and fresh fruit. Also, someone comes out and talks to you about what's going on with your car (as opposed to the Saturn and Chevy dealerships, where they would call your name over a crackly old speaker and you had to listen, on edge, the whole time you waited). Maybe I've just had bad experiences with those dealerships, but Honda has been excellent--a vast improvement! The last time I went, it was too cold for the service personnel to wash my car, and they told me I could bring it back any time and get it washed for free. It's little things like that that make going to get my car worked on stress-free. I've never been so happy with auto service personnel--they're great!
I still get an average of 41 mpg, and the gas mileage increases on long road trips (many fewer starts and stops). I actually got 51 mpg on a trip to Atlanta last spring, which was awesome!
After almost a year, I've had no problems, and would still highly recommend this car!
Amount Paid (US$):
2008Model and Options: