MPG of Civic Hybrid

Discussion in 'Civic' started by Todd Bradley, Sep 18, 2004.

  1. Todd Bradley

    Todd Bradley Guest

    What sort of fuel economy are folks getting from Civic Hybrids? I've
    seen such a variety of numbers, I don't know who to believe. For the
    most common model (CVT ULEV)...

    the EPA says 48/47 -

    Consumer Reports says 36 overall -

    an owner named "V" says "just over 50" -

    and on a Car Talk bulletin board, I've seen people report everything
    from 33 (and disappointed) to 60 (on a good day)

    That's quite a range of experiences! I tend to believe Consumer
    Reports, but if the car only averages 36 mpg, it's only 3 better than my
    current gas powered Civic.

    Anyone have any insight (no pun intended) on why there's such a variance
    in MPG people are seeing? And is it true that the built-in MPG meter
    typically reads about 3 MPG too high?

    Todd Bradley, Sep 18, 2004
  2. Todd Bradley

    Dave Guest

    Clearly, there is no one correct answer. Another data point, and
    a more scientic one is the following gov't lab report on the
    various hybrids:

    They found (almost all CVT's, some with limited data sets):
    Insight 46.0
    '04 Prius 44.6
    '02-'03 Prius 41.1
    Civic 38.0

    Would have been nice if they had one "control" non-hybrid like a
    regular Civic in the mix.

    Why a variance? The EPA tests are based on assumed, relatively
    mild, standard driving tests. They are adjusted to better match
    what people might see. But personal driving styles are widely
    disparate. Averaging 70 mph vs 55 mph on the highway can change
    mpg by ~20%. Turning on A/C (off on the EPA tests) can reduce mpg
    in a tiny car like the insight by maybe 30%? Also, hybrids have a
    lot of flexibility in tuning strategy. And yes, I suppose Honda
    and Toyota would likely tune it for best performance on the EPA
    drivecycles, not necessarily for everyone's particular driving
    behavior. So, in conclusion, your mileage may vary ...
    Dave, Sep 18, 2004
  3. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    36 overall is incredible. But then I don't trust anything that I read from
    Consumer Reports, and haven't read any of their self-serving drivel in ten

    I reset my tripmeter while sitting at a light, idling, with the A/C on.
    It took two light cycles to go three blocks. The MPG display showed 38.
    The engine did not shut off during that time. I had the economy button off
    so that the A/C would continue running.

    With three adults in the car, a trip from my house over two mountain
    ranges, total round trip 85 miles, 45mpg. That's a climb from 1000 feet to
    2200, back to 700, up to 1500, down to 400, and back. During that drive,
    the battery would go down to three bars and then start charging going
    uphill. Going downhill, it gets "full" and no longer offers regen braking.
    I drive as fast as I want, given the curves, keeping up with traffic.

    I have seen 100 mile stretches of 80 mph cruise with A/C at 42mpg.
    I have seen 20 mile stretches at 45mph at 65mpg.

    2003 Civic Hybrid SULEV CVT automatic. San Jose, CA to Benicia, CA.
    60mph cruise control, 59.0 miles, 59.0 mpg.
    70mph cruise control, 59.0 miles, 52.0 mpg.
    dold, Sep 18, 2004
  4. Todd Bradley

    Sean D Guest

    The fuel economy you get from the hybrids depends largely on where you drive
    it. Since they get their fuel savings from using the electric motor to help
    out the engine, they get the best economy during city driving, with lots of
    stop and go. This is one of the reasons why some people are dissappointed
    with the hybrids. They are conditioned to expect the best fuel economy
    during highway driving, which is where gas engines are best. When on the
    highway though, the electric engine is hardly used. This makes the hybrids
    look worse than they really are. Drive exclusively in the city and then
    look at the hybrids fuel economy and you'll be blown away.

    Sean D, Sep 18, 2004
  5. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    I don't agree at all.
    I get better mileage on the highway than I do in the city.
    On the highway, I am using a little tiny motor. Perfectly adequate for
    cruising at highway speeds, and capable of sustained 50mpg.
    This same motor is not acceptable to the general buying public due to its
    overall anemic performance, so an electric motor is added to provide more
    power when needed.

    If I drive with the faster traffic on the highway, which includes a lot of
    acceleration and deceleration instead of steady cruise, my mileage
    plummets down to 45mpg.
    This is the Honda Civic, not the Prius. The Civic never operates on
    electric alone, which is where you might be getting confused.

    The expected mileage in the city is higher than freeway for the new Ford
    Escape Hybrid, which I will be test driving next month, and buying as soon
    as possible. That one is very aggressively electric, running on electric
    alone up to 25mph. That could potentially give some astonishing mpg
    ratings for the city. The California EPA expects that it can go 10 miles
    of the city cycle emissions test and use no gas.
    dold, Sep 18, 2004
  6. Why? It's a Ford, where quality is job zero. Can you imagine the types of
    problems that are bound to occur on a domestic hybrid?

    If you want a hybrid SUV-type vehicle, I suggest you wait for the Toyota
    Highlander Hybrid to come out.
    Imminent Vengeance, Sep 18, 2004
  7. Todd Bradley

    Sean D Guest

    I realize that. What I was reffering to was the improvement in fuel economy
    compared to a normal civic. The hybrid will have more gain in town than on
    the highway when compared to the fuel economy numbers of a regular civic.
    Sean D, Sep 19, 2004
  8. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    I had excellent service from my 96 Mustang GT, the only Ford I've ever
    owned. I have no problem buying the Escape Hybrid. Joint venture with the
    Mazda Tribute for lots of the mechanicals, Toyota-licensed Hybrid
    technology. It'll be a good thing.
    I really don't like Toyota. I'll suffer with their software in my Ford,
    but I don't want any of their hardware.
    dold, Sep 19, 2004
  9. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    Ah, I see. That wasn't clear.

    If I can cruise, the Civic Hybrid gets excellent economy. If I play
    commuter road racer, it may be in the "normal" Civic category.

    In the city, another big advantage is the torque of the electric assist
    combined with the CVT. It is eerie moving away from a stop. Silence,
    engine starts (although it's hard to tell), speed picks up, but the engine
    speed doesn't. The engine is turning around 1500 RPM from a standstill to
    25+, as the CVT changes ratios. No sound of an underpowered four cyclinder
    fighting against a slippery automatic. I hate that sound.

    On the other hand, I don't drive for mileage, and I consistently see 50 on
    the highway. I don't think a normal Civic automatic does that.
    I usually drive around 70.
    dold, Sep 19, 2004
  10. Todd Bradley

    Randolph Guest

    You don't have to suffer with Toyota's software. Ford wrote their own
    software based on several Toyota patents licensed by Ford.
    Randolph, Sep 19, 2004
  11. Todd Bradley

    SoCalMike Guest

    its as "joint" a venture as the mazda pickups. which is, to say, not
    much. basically, a rebadging.

    when mazda made trucks, they were pretty bulletproof. sad that they had
    to go to ford on that end.
    SoCalMike, Sep 19, 2004
  12. Todd Bradley

    David Brower Guest

    I get ~47 commuting. When my wife takes it, she gets around 40.

    David Brower, Sep 20, 2004
  13. Todd Bradley

    Todd Bradley Guest

    Thanks to everyone who wrote back. It sounds like most folks get much
    better mileage than Consumer Reports got, with some actually reporting
    worse numbers.

    I've got a call into the local dealer to compare the costs for leasing
    an '05 vs leasing an '04. I'm thinking I'd just go with a 2 year lease,
    on the assumption that Honda is going to have an even better hybrid
    option by the '07 season - maybe something more in line with the Prius.

    Todd Bradley, Sep 21, 2004
  14. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    I missed that post. 36mpg? Idling all day, driving one block... maybe.
    I think that die is cast. Honda's hybrid future seems to be more of a
    supercharger, adding power. That's already true of the Insight and Civic,
    and seems to be the case with the Accord.

    Toyota and Ford are going with the Electric car that doesn't need to be
    plugged in variety.

    In six months, I'll have one of each. In two years, I'll have the same two.

    To lease or trade in because the technology is improved is going down a
    path of poor resale that Popular Mechanics predicts, that the technology
    improvement is going to be sufficient to push down the resale value of the
    earlier generation.
    dold, Sep 21, 2004
  15. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    Popular Mechanics:
    "It should be noted that the Escape is built on the same assembly line and
    is mechanically almost identical to the Mazda Tribute. In fact, Ford's
    Japanese affiliate did the lion's share of the engineering on the vehicle's
    suspension and structure."
    If you think that a Mazda B2000 is superior to a Ford Ranger, then you've
    forgotten what a cheap piece of crap the B2000 was.
    dold, Sep 21, 2004
  16. Todd Bradley

    Todd Bradley Guest

    Yeah, you're probably right. And Honda seems to agree. Between the
    fact that Honda's lease program charges a higher money factor for
    hybrids and the lower estimated residual value of the Civic Hybrid, my
    lease payment would be around $675 per month including tax. (24 month
    lease, 12k miles per year, including tax)

    So, over the course of the 2 year lease, I'd pay $16,200 for a car with
    a new MSRP of $21,000. That's just not going to happen. Unfortunately,
    my wife is unwilling for us to take on any additional debt and I don't
    have enough cash on hand to pay for a new Civic Hybrid out of pocket.
    Which all adds up to me not getting one for another couple years, sadly.

    But I appreciate all the info people have given.

    Todd Bradley, Sep 21, 2004
  17. Todd Bradley

    SoCalMike Guest

    what about buying an off-lease one? i personally dont see much of a
    benefit with the hybrids. theyre NICE, but my 98 hatch is paid off and
    gets a steady 31mpg mixed use, and i rarely drive it anyway.

    i like the scions. power everything and AC, standard. all for $13k. 4
    doors, hatchback, utilitarian yet sporty.
    SoCalMike, Sep 22, 2004
  18. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    I went sniffing around at the Highlander Hybrid site.
    The Ford Escape Hybrid has been "almost here" for longer than the Highlander.
    The Escape is supposed to really be here next month. I just realized that
    my scheduled preview test drive on October 16th is a few months later than
    what general availability was supposed to be.

    The Highlander, which doesn't interest me at all as a gasoline vehicle,
    does interest me as a Hybrid, but it seems like they went overboard on the
    power, at the expense of economy.

    Is it actually going to be here in a couple of months? It might still beat
    the Escape.

    (I have no interest in a "normal" Honda Civic either, but I really like my
    Honda Civic Hybrid. It is altogether different from a normal Civic.)
    dold, Sep 22, 2004
  19. Todd Bradley

    dold Guest

    I saw a couple of Highlanders on the road tonight.
    That's not gonna happen for me.
    dold, Sep 22, 2004
  20. Todd Bradley

    Gerald Fay Guest

    Yea, and at the same time they made the worst cars of any import.
    Gerald Fay, Sep 25, 2004
Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.