Civic Hybrid | 2009 Update

2009-honda-civic-hybrid-photo.jpgMuch has changed in the auto industry since we published our 2008 Honda Civic hybrid review. Economic situations aside, Honda’s own hybrid offerings have changed as well. With a sagging economy bringing fewer buyers to dealerships this year and Honda having reintroduced the popular ‘09 Insight hybrid, the 2009 Civic hybrid faces some challenges at first glance. For some, the Civic’s standard look (hybrid Civics look nearly identical to non-hybrid Civics – meaning the Civic hybrid lacks the “Hey, look at me, I’m green!” quality that the distinctive Toyota Prius hybrid has) may even be a challenge.

Few changes differentiate the 2009 Honda Civic hybrid from its 2008 predecessor. Minor interior and exterior tweaks were made to the entire line of Civics, making it easy to mistake the hybrid version for the standard-fuel version. The key difference (aside from the ones under the hood) is different wheels and a small hybrid logo on the back of the car. Thanks to Honda wanting to position this as a luxury Civic, buyers can also now upgrade to leather seats, navigation, and Bluetooth phone connectivity. And from a safety standpoint, for the first time ever, the hybrid Civic comes standard with Vehicle Stability Assist (electronic stability control).

The 2009 Honda Civic gets 40 miles per gallon in city driving and 45 on the highway, about the same as the 2008 model. Under the hood the 2009 Honda Civic boasts a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that is rated 110 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, 123 pounds-feet of torque at 1,000 rpm. The electric motor is rated 20 hp, 76 lbs.-ft. If there is one complaint from the consumer reviews we read online, it was that the 2009 hybrid Civic didn’t live up to these EPA mpg ratings. Many owners and those conducting test drives had trouble exceeding 35 m.p.g., so that is something to research further if this is a vehicle you are considering.

Despite the challenges we described earlier, the Honda Civic hybrid is popular among car experts and everyday drivers alike. In fact, US News just rated it the third best affordable small car of the year. The hybrid got high marks for its stylish design and high fuel economy. It seems that this car would be a great fit for a driver who wants to save fuel, not spend a fortune on buying a hybrid and still have the roominess of a sedan. Base price is just under $24,000 but expect to pay a $1,200 more for leather and $2,000 extra if you want the navigation system.

Here is another good review from The Auto Channel as well.

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