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Why buy a Civic hybrid....?

45090 Views 40 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  billvon
...when the Prius is such a better vehicle in every way. Despite Motor Trend's cockeyed comparison/review favoring the Civic. The Honda is slow, underpowered, and gets worse mileage. And it's not as green.

Am I missing something here?
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I think a larger selection is almost always a good thing. It's great that more than one company is interested in pursuing the benefits available with electric hybridization. Honda has almost doubled worldwide production of electric hybrids by supporting the Civic Hybrid. Even with that, demand still appears to exceed supply. Some people prefer Hondas to Toyotas. Some people prefer their local Honda dealers to their local Toyota dealers. It's great that Honda is supporting them rather than forcing them to go with Toyota or forgo the benefits of an electric hybrid.

And competition is good for Toyota's hybrid line too. It will make them work harder to improve the line sooner.
I'm not questioning the benefits and desirability of hybridization, or consumer choice, or competition. I think all of these can work to the advantage of the environment, when applied to the kinds of vehicles we drive. I put my money where my beliefs are by buying a Prius. But I wouldn't shell out big bucks for an inferior car just because it's a hybrid, thus my question.
I agree, more choices are good.
What scares me is the 2001 Prius is the 2002 is the 2003. Without anyone to compete against the 2004 will be the 2001.

Mods. I want for my next hybrid ...
Hatch back
Fold down rear seat
Sun Roof

Not that I have looked at the honda, I have personally never liked them on snow and ice ... but choice is good. The prius is good, but could use a little work (aka sun roof)

2002 moon blue pearl, 11K miles, 5 months
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Well, I don't think you're missing anything, and I certainly don't think you should spend your money on something you feel is inferior. Along the same lines, however, I'm pretty sure there are Civic Hybrid owners who feel just as strongly that theirs is the superior car. Probably the best places to find out why people might prefer the Civic Hybrid are Honda's website and Honda salespersons (at least those trained in selling the Hybrid).

Me, I'm just glad there are plenty of people that prefer either of these cars to another high-pollutin' gas-guzzler.
I'm not complaining to much ... Just some of the options I wanted do not exist in any current hybrid (sunroof, fold down seat, hatch back) ...

I look at it this way, I've done 11 thousand miles since april, old car got 26/27 mpg new car gets 46/49 mpg. that's 400/420 gallons vs. 225/240 gallons (net savings over five months (3 if you count my vacation and the 6 weeks it has spent in the shop due to bambi) about $250 ($1.40 a gallon), so I should be saving about $600 or more ($1000 minus bambi) a year on gas).

Plus it is a great car (the prius) ... It just lacks some of the things I really want (Sun Roof), and I think the only way that will happen is if the car goes main stream ... ie. replaces the corrolla.

We need someone to say no to the SUPER SIZED SUV that is needed to tow arround a PERSONAL SUPER TANKER.


btw. the turn radius of the prius is worth it's weight in gold, my last car a shadow really sucked.
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There's nothing special about the Prius roof (other than the slightly unusual placement of the antenna). Most aftermarket sunroof places can do the job for you as well as they would for other sedans. It might not be as big as you'd like though, due to the short distance between the antenna and the dome light. But I think they can move the dome light if necessary.

I agree a hatchback would be nice, as would fold down seats (which is available in European Prius but not US Prius). I'd like to see high mileage, low pollution versions of many form-factors. Whether by hybrid or some other technology. A minivan is high on my own wish list. Choice is good.
why buy a honda civic hybrid

One big reason why I and others are considering the HCH is that it comes in a body style and known "all star" Honda civic platform. This allows people to make a fresh new choice that is in familiar territory.

Imagine if Toyota had popped a hybrid onto the corolla or better yet the Camry. Everyone has a mother or aunt that has a Camry and it is a proven reliable car.

I agree that the SULEV makes the Prius more 'green' than the HCH but there are many factors that go into buying a car. As a potential buyer ( trying to convince my wife as well) , a proven, familiar face goes a long way in buying new technology under the hood.

why buy a honda civic hybrid

One big reason why I and others are considering the HCH is that it comes in a body style and known "all star" Honda civic platform. This allows people to make a fresh new choice that is in familiar territory.

Imagine if Toyota had popped a hybrid onto the corolla or better yet the Camry. Everyone has a mother or aunt that has a Camry and it is a proven reliable car.

I agree that the SULEV makes the Prius more 'green' than the HCH but there are many factors that go into buying a car. As a potential buyer ( trying to convince my wife as well) , a proven, familiar face goes a long way in buying new technology under the hood.

Civic reasons

You'd rather have a manual stick-shift
than an automatic? (Prius is only
CVT, while the HCH is available in
manual or CVT.)

You like the crash test ratings for
the Civics (5 star driver/passenger,
HCH not tested yet), while the Prius
was given a 3/4 star rating.

You like your local Honda dealer
(sales or service) better than the
local Toyota dealer.

Parts are much easier to find for
a Civic than for a Prius.

You're just more comfortable in a
HCH than in a Prius.

IF there was a HCH available when I
last was looking for a car, I would've
at least looked at it, as on paper
their costs, features, and dimensions
are fairly similar, but... I own a
Prius, I love my Prius, and since I
haven't had to look for a new car
since I haven't even tried sitting
in a HCH. Heck, I've only seen one
HCH in the wild (to my knowledge).

More hybrids are a Good Thing.
From my discussions with other
people, the hot-platform types that
would be nice to have would be a
minivan, a hatchback/station wagon,
and a convertable (although I still
cannot figure why so many New Englanders
keep telling me they want a hybrid
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"You'd rather have a manual stick-shift
than an automatic? (Prius is only
CVT, while the HCH is available in
manual or CVT.) "

The Prius is neither a manual or an automatic. From the electric motor's point of view it's a fixed, one-speed transmission, which is about as "manual" as you can get without a clutch and a lever to toss about. At low to medium speeds, the vast majority of the motive force comes from the motor. The engine is busy driving the generator to provide electricity to the motor. So the speeds where you would be busy with your manual shift are just the speeds where the one-speed transmission model fits the best.
Prius Or Hond

I looked at both Prius and Honda. As a systems engineer, there are things I like and dislike about both. As a car diver, the same goes. As a consumer, the dealer relationship is also very important. It is the dealer realtionship that was the real tie breaker.

I had an excellent raport with the Honda salesperson. The Toyta saleperson really didn't care to make the sale. Hde didn't have a car except on that had been returned and it has cigrate burns on the carpet. He was not sure when he would get one. He really didn't care about having a car. The Honda salesperson was responsive and very interseted in their product.

As a car driver, the Prius was substantial "cultural shock" in driving. I was very disorinted in driving it. I aways thought the stuff on Star Trek was "cool". Only in a car, it caused me problems. Such shock can cause safety problems. Being a pilot, I consider cockpit layout and famility very import. Prius pushed the envelop too much. So much, it affects my safety. The Hond Civic Hybrid, drove like a regular care.

My technical view. These are two cars with very different design points. The Prius best economy is in the city. Honda Civic is best on highways. The "critical system" [in this case, the system most technically challenging] on the Prius is the electronic controls. It is this control system that causes the comments like "brake grab" an issue. The engine, drive train, battery and motors are very mature. The battery in the Prius is twice size (in watts-hours) to the Honda.

The critical system on the Honda Civci is the CV transmission. (I have actually driven my Honda with the hybrid portion disabled. Yes, the 12 volt stater really works). The engine, motor and battery are established technologies. Since the car can be driven without the hybrid engaged, there is back up should the control system fail.

Personally, I would like one of each. One day I will. Each has its own advantages and disadvatages.
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- cultural shock
- it caused me problems
- pushed the envelop too much
- drove like a "regular" car
- brake grab

None of those factors mean much to a new driver, since they have no basis of comparison. And many teenagers from the Nintendo generation actually crave the new & innovative.

That kinda makes you wonder what vehicles will be like a decade from now. The fuel-cell prototypes for that time push differences much further than what Prius does.
The proven architecture of the prius, parts availability, and ability to perform w/o the hybrid portion are some very decent points in favor of the Honda.

The areodymanic design of the Prius and catchy gadetry of the Prius will catch your attention, but when the novelty wears off, the basics will come in to play and then it may not be so clear a call for the Prius as it seemed

Company support, not dealer support, is the ultimate factor. Should the coompany try to stonewall you, the dealers interests and ultimate loyalty may not bode so well for you. At least I am coming to this conclusion with respect to toyota.

The 2003 prius (same design as the 2001-2002) is very high on the NTHSa lemone watch list for 2003. With all the intense advertising hype by toyota, we may get blinded to some of the negative realities.
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The conclusion in your first sentence doesn't flow from your premises, as I read them. Could you restate what it is you really mean?

In Toyota's case, the dealership and especially its service department are the weak links in an otherwise very strong chain (in re: quality of product). I wish Toyota would address this serious shortcoming in their organization. But it isn't just Toyota. I've owned Ford, Dodge, and VW in addition to my '02 Classic, and all their service departments were pretty much rip-off artists, IMHO. Which is why I always go to my trusted mechanic after the warranty period is up. In the case of Prius, my options in this regard may be more limited, but keep in mind that much of the Prius (ICE, brakes, wheels/tires, A/C, etc.) is pretty standard automotive technology that any competent shop can deal with.

Concerning the so-called "lemon watch list": that topic has been discussed at length and ad nauseam on the Yahoo Prius site. Turns out the listing for Prius is a statistical quirk based on an extremely small sample of cases, some of which turned out to be the same incident listed more than once. If you really want lemons, buy a Ford Focus (as I almost did before I came to my senses). You'd use up all your fingers and most of your toes counting the number of recalls on what should have been a terrific vehicle.

As for the assertion (in a previous post) that Prius gets better city mileage than highway, most real-world experience including my own has shown just the opposite, just as one would expect for a conventional car. Toyota's claim to the contrary, for whatever reasons, was off-base when it comes to North American driving conditions, patterns and habits.

The sun-and-planet gearing in the Prius version of CVT has proven to be virtually trouble-free, and it's a joy to drive. I can't imagine going back to conventional automatic transmission, which I'm reminded of every time I fire up my '91 Explorer (as seldom as possible now: every minute it sits in the driveway I'm saving $$). I loved to drive stick shift in my '64 VW Beetle and '88 Escort (and mind you, I learned how to drive in a '41 Ford Super DeLuxe V8 coupe), but to me, a manual transmission in a hybrid makes no sense at all. But, to each his/her own.

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A typo. The proven nature of the civic design. Not the Prius.

Thanks for pointing that out.

I recall in my first of four letters to toyota motors, recounting how I had to disuade my wife from the Ford Focus.

I can wholeheartedly agree that the dealerships and service can be the weakest links but once my problems wee not handled by the dealership properly, I started talking directly with toyota morors myself.

I conveyed to toyota in detail the mis diagnosies that would have had me spending money replacing a muffler. The condescending tone when i was receiving in explicit detail. I eventually started dealing with another dealership. I mentioned how that dealership failed to indicate the information regarding myu coplaints on their work order. Heck, I had to place a tape recorder in my car during service to show toyota what the dealer was actually diagnosing and what they were telling me. I directly refuted the factory service representative representation as to their forthrightnedness at attending to my issues. I had to wait weeks. I snet my letters directly to toyota motors corporation and the prius program manager.

Their approach wa simply to seek abritration. This is the general tone that many who raised issues with tire and alignment appeared to have been initially given. It may be that they are now changing course and undertaking a different approach of appeasing those who do raise an issue but it was hard core. I have been dealing with my front-end issue since summer of 2002.

I blame the company for they allow us to fight with the dealer who may not have initially recognized the scope fo the problem. When they do confront us in an arbritation forum, them seen to fein knowledge of the esistence of any problem and simply request time to remedy any problem that may exist. They should not have customers spend their time running around to this end. It should not take the work spreading via forums like this to have them live up to the committment made in writing in their warranty manual any by their tangible marketing claim to fame.

If it were not for the internet and the forum of exchange, I strongly suspect that to protect that quality and workmanship image that is the cornerstone and heart of their ad campaigns, they would have nullified folks complaints even more. Again, those outside this forum may not be privy to the rack and tire problems. Many unnecessarily incurred expensed for tire replacement and alignments. The fact that toyota no longer offers a complementary service package just makes me more suspect. It is not the dealership that was attempting to check me at every turn attacking my tire rotation schedule, tire pressure setting, choice of tires, even claiming initially that no problem existed.
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prius vs civic

I own both cars and can say with some authority that the mileage is about the same. Despite the better window sticker numbers for the Prius (50/60), no one seems to be attaining them without really making a big deal about their driving style. Meaning ultra slow and conservative. They are also both about equally zippy and the handling is comparable - a sensitive area for me having owned a couple of M3s.
I'm still in the decision mode in deciding on Prius or Civic. I think I have a pretty good grip on pros/cons of each but what is pushing me away from the Honda is the weak warranty. The only thing covered beyond the 3yr/36k mi are the batteries. I have read reports that the trannies can be undependable in the Civic and with my luck it would go out at 37k miles.

Has anybody else heard of or experienced transmission issues with the Civic? Am I justly concerned about the warranty?
Boston Chris,
I have not heard of tranny problems with the Civic, but I don't see much Civic info.
Have you driven both cars? If not, I would encourage you to do so. It might help you narrow your decision. IMO, both are great cars.
these cars have many disadvatages :( :cry:
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