I put a couple hundred miles on the Civic over my weekend with it, during which time, according to the onboard computer, I averaged 41 mpg. That 40-plus mpg figure is the sole motivating factor for buying this model over the gasoline-powered Civic. For many people, that's a persuasive argument, as the Hybrid returns about 12 mpg more in combined city/highway driving over the regular Civic sedan. Still, buyers need to be aware that they're also giving up 30 hp and a couple cubic feet of storage space. I still managed to fit two sets of golf clubs in the trunk (which has a capacity of 10.7 cubic feet versus 12.5 cubic feet), but it was a fairly tight fit.
I drove up to Milford with a friend on Saturday, and at one point, as we were accelerating up a hill, the CVT started making its loud, trademark drone. She noted that the car seemed to be struggling. "That must be the hybrid," she said. "Well, not really," I said. "It's the transmission. There's still plenty of power." But when I thought about it, I guess it was "the hybrid," since that's why the car has a CVT in the first place.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
For those who want to do their part for the environment but can't get past the nerdy looks of most small hybrids, the Honda Civic Hybrid might be the perfect vehicle. It looks almost exactly like its non-hybrid counterpart and has an EPA combined rating of 44 mpg. Even Honda's hybrid-only Insight falls short of this number with a combined rating of just 41 mpg. Unfortunately, the only available transmission, a CVT, saps nearly every ounce of fun from the driving experience, making the Civic Hybrid feel a bit like an appliance. The consolation is that the Hybrid retains the regular Civic's light but communicative steering, excellent ride, comfortable and roomy cabin, and easy to decipher controls.
Jennifer Misaros, Managing Editor, Digital Platforms