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My new 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid is great stuff

by mikedaws / April 7, 2006 10:31 AM PDT

I realise that this forum is primarily read by Americans, but I thought it might be interesteing to post a review of the new Honda Civic Hybrid, from an Australian point of view.

I have owned Honda's before, and found them to be well designed, if not always well built...depending from which part of the planet they come from. Nevertheless, my previous car, a 2.4L Honda Accord was excellent, and I enjoyed it very much. But what I was really waiting for was a well priced Hybrid.

The Toyota Prius is..OK, but very expensive. Here in Aus, about $41k on the road with all taxes. Then Honda came up with their new Civic Hybrid...the old one was a bit lack luster I am told. Here is Aus the Civic Hybrid sells for $35k all up. $6k better than the Toyota!

So I got on my bike (metaphorically speaking of course), and headed off to buy one. The first in Australia in fact!

I was prepared for some Hybrid quirkiness...and I wasn't disappointed! Silence at the stop lights, two stage breaking - regen first...then disks. There are some strange...well realy just different noises coming from the engine bay, but once you understand what they problem. do I find it?

After covering about 2,500klm (1,500m)...I love it.

Most of my driving is a mixture of peak hour freeway (20-30mph), and heavy city. Return trip to work is 80klm. I'm averaging around 50mpg. On clear straight and flat freeway's it goes up to nearly 60mpg.

This is not a petrol head car at all. But it will not embarasse you at the lights. I feel that it performs about as well as a 1.8L 4 cylinder.

Brisk acceleration, very smooth, very comfortable and highly recommended. At the end of the day the only give-away that it's a hybrid is the engine stopping at the lights. Incidently, I note that the engine actually stops at anything under 10klm/hr when braking. Not a problem, because once you take your foot off the brake it starts again.

I read U.S. reviews complaining about the cost of petrol(gas) at $3.00 per gallon. In Australia you can expect to pay $6.00 per gallon and higher, so a Hybrid makes a lot of sense indeed! I wonder how long it will be before you guys get up to that level. No life doesn't stop, you're just more careful with your driving!

If you drive the Civic like a normal car - quick off from the lights, heavy on the brakes and a heavy foot you will pay the price- 35mpg. Drive like you want to save money on gas...and you will. The Civic is very forgiving, and the odd kick in the guts really doesn't affect mpg that much. I love all the gauges. But be careful not to watch them too much!

By the way, I note the Civic Hybrid is rated at 51mpg maximum in the U.S., whereas in Australia it is rated at 61mpg. This is achievable! Maybe this is an octane thing? I believe that your standard fuel is 88RON, whereas in Australia standard is 91RON.

Complaints - It can be a little "sloppy" at higher speeds 120klm/h. I think that this is as a result of narrow high pressure tyres. But considering that the maximum freeway speed here is 100klm/h (62mph), interstate highways are a little higher at 110klm/h, it's not really that much of a problem.

We also have a lot of portable and fixed speed cameras in Australia - any parked car can have a speed speeding is quite expensive ($150 +). The answer..don't speed. So why own a car that can do 0-60mp/h at mach III.

All-in-all a really great car, fun to drive and very comfortable - with all the creature comforts you would expect from a manufacturer like Honda.

And...I really like the looks I get...suffer baby...suffer!


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by tattimann / April 7, 2006 1:30 PM PDT

how can u say such a snall car is comfortable. My friend owns the 2003 model of this car and I sat in the back-it is so tight. U must not have sat in the back or maybe there is a differnece between the 2003 model and the 2006 model.

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by mikedaws / May 2, 2006 9:30 AM PDT
In reply to: what?

I can say it because I'm small... If I was a big yank I'd buy a Mach truck and live in America. But watch out my friend. Big V8's and gas guzzeling cars will be a thing of the past very...very soon. So you think $3.00 a gallon is expensive. Sooner or later you too will be paying $6.00 a gallon. Then tell me that it's small!

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I'm a 2003 model owner.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 7, 2006 11:04 PM PDT

As to the other responder, I don't drive from the back seat so the issue vanishes for me.

As to sloppiness, it seems to not be specific to this model but cars of this size and with the smaller tires. The tires are part of the equation for better mileage so they stay.

We've had our 2003 model for 4 years and will be giving this to our son for his car at college and ordering a 2006 model.


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Monday maybe. The order should arrive.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 13, 2006 8:19 AM PDT

As always, a new car is such fun. This one moreso.


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New car
by mikedaws / April 14, 2006 10:14 AM PDT

Have you driven the '06 version yet? I believe that it is a big improvement over the previous one. As far as overall performance goes, and once you get used to the CVT it's pretty much a normal, well appointed 4cyl car.
I hope you enjoy it!

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My salesperson is a dud. CNet comes through.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 15, 2006 12:24 AM PDT
In reply to: New car
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My suggestion
by mikedaws / May 2, 2006 9:40 AM PDT

I believe the answer is...yes. However...if you plug it in, and the car starts to slow down...unplug it. Oh...and look for smoke coming from under the dash!!!

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2GB installed. Only 65 bucks too!
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 2, 2006 10:11 AM PDT
In reply to: My suggestion

I picked up the 20 buck SD card to PCMCIA adapter at CompuUSA and then had a 2GB card for 45 bucks. PLENTY of space for all our MP3s.

Our salesperson is still a dud.


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We all need to do the Hybrid thing
by Dan Filice / April 13, 2006 7:23 AM PDT

Interesting review. We all need to get over our "ego" and drive Hybrid cars, especially for commuting. Nothing tics me off more than the people who drive Escalades or Armadas or Q56 and the like around town getting 8 or 10mpg. And although I like high-preformance cars, there really isn't a need for a 500hp Viper, Vette or Mustang, especially when the Oil Cartel is sticking it to us.

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hybrids here we come...
by mikedaws / May 2, 2006 9:49 AM PDT

I couldn't agree more. Here in Aus it never ceases to amaze me how people still buy great thumping V8's and drive them like Mini. Why buy the thing in the first place. What..."Mine's bigger than yours"...yeah and so is your fuel bill!!
It is simply not possible to speed in Australia without getting caught by radar (radar detectors are illegal in Aus). The fines are substantial, the gas is expensive and the traffic is heavy. But things are on the move. Just recently petrol has hit $1.40 per litre($6.23 per gallon), and is expected to hit $2.00 per litre by the end of the year. Then we'll see how smart the V8 owners are!!!

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