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Consumer Impressions of New Civic Hybrid

The new Civic brings a roomier interior, more spunk under the hood, and fuel mileage around 40 mpg on the highway.

Published: 20-Jan-2006

Still the most highway oriented of the hybrids, the new Civic brings a roomier interior, more spunk under the hood, and fuel mileage around 40 mpg on the highway. As usual for Honda, the Civic rides well, although there is no doubt that the extra weight of the battery pack does make sudden lane change maneuvers more dramatic than the regular Civic. The visibility is good, there are storage areas everywhere, and the trunk is easy to load.

Mom's view: Too nondescript, radio reception isn't very good, and it feels like a small car are all the negatives I could generate about this hybrid. The problem I have is that the Accord is much more roomier, better riding and costs less if you shop for the value package. And, with a standard transmission you get 30 mpg so it is a better frugal family vehicle. Overall the Civic is a quality car with the capability to make its hybridization invisible. Best of all, you can use those high occupancy lanes without any other passengers. That alone is worth the price if you commute. Money well spent and you get a tax break.

Dad's view: More everything with the new Civic Hybrid and that includes money at $21,850. It also has more useable interior space, and 20 percent more power from the 1.3-liter iVTEC 4-cylinder engine and 20-hp electric motor than last year's model. There is also more sparkplugs (eight), more potent electric motors thanks to rectangular shaped wire, 25 percent more powerful batteries, and more doodads with optional voice control, navigation, integrated turn signals in the outside mirrors, and more vigor in daily driving. This is a terrific commuter car that could zip you to San Francisco as easily as Santa Barbara with no worry about refueling.

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