2008 Honda Hybrid Civic Review | Prius Comparison

08 Civic or Prius?It’s almost impossible to review the new Civic hybrid without comparing it to it’s main competitor, the 2008 Toyota Prius.  And while there are other hybrid cars to choose from (Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima) along with several hybrid suvs, people who are looking for a compact or mid-size hybrid sedan will place the Civic and Prius side-by-side to make their decision.  So, before we jump into comparisons - let’s take a closer look at the most successful hybrid from Honda.

If you’ve done a little research you likely know that two out of Honda’s three hybrid cars have already been discontinued (Insight and hybrid Accord).  Only the Civic has persevered, and for good reason.  The original hybrid Civic debuted in mid 2002 as a 2003 model year, and quickly won a bunch of awards including International Engine of the Year (three years in a row) and Best Fuel Economy (2003 and 2004).  Most impressively, Motortrend named all 4 models of the Honda Civic their 2006 Car of the Year.  It should be noted that the hybrid Civic is now in it’s second generation,  redesigned in 2006 along with the other Civic models.

Locate the Car You Want at the Price You Want

The 2008 hybrid Honda Civic has a suggested starting price of $22,600 and gets an estimated 45 miles per gallon (based on the new 2008 EPA mileage estimates and fuel economy methods).  The engine is a 1.3 liter, 8 valve, 4 cylinder that manages 93 horsepower and it’s paired with an electric motor (capable of adding 20 horsepower) to create what Honda calls their Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) System. Depending on when you’re reading this, there might still be some federal hybrid tax breaks on this vehicle.  Check here as well.

So, if you’re trying to decide between the 2006, 2007, and 2008 hybrid Civic - there really haven’t been many changes.  Probably the most obvious change from last year is the MPG rating, which dropped a little as a result of the way it’s measured in all vehicles now.  There really aren’t a lot of luxury features on the base model hybrid Civic, and about the only thing you can add is navigation.  For example, you still can’t get leather or power seats or traction/stability control.

So, to answer the biq question…who wins the hybrid Civic vs. Prius battle?  Well, judging by sales figures it’s apparent that the Prius has come out on top.  Toyota’s popular hybrid is also rated as a mid-size sedan (5 passenger) while the Civic is a 4 person compact.  The Prius also edges the Civic in estimated gas mileage, and it offers buyers a lot more options and packages.

I have personally owned several Honda’s and Toyota’s, and I’ve taken both of these hybrid vehicles for a spin.  In my opinion, the current Prius would be my first choice in a hybrid sedan of this size…but that’s just a personal choice.  Many people obviously prefer the Civic.  Good luck in making your decision…it won’t be easy!

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Related - 2009 Prius

Check out our update of the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid!

There Are 15 Responses So Far. »

  1. […] 2008 Honda Hybrid Civic Review | Prius Comparison […]

  2. I am extremely disappointed with the fuel efficiency of the Honda Civic Hybrid. I had a 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid, and during the winter, my mpg was ONLY 22-26 mpg, and during the summer it was in the low 30’s mpg. (But, I generally drove a very short distance to and from work: 1.5 miles each way.)

    The Honda Civic Hybrid is not really fuel efficient for short commutes (when the engine is still cold); the Toyota Prius is better, from what I have read and heard, because of the different engine design.

    The Honda Dealership deceived into trading in my Civic Hybrid for a 2007 Civic LX, but my Civic LX gets only ~19 mpg (in the winter) and ~23 mph during the warmer weather. Also, the Civic LX is also more noisy and uncomfortable, compared with the Hybrid.

    I am EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IN HONDA: It is shocking to know that my old ‘87 Honda Accord had comparable fuel efficiency to the current Honda Civic LX. So, in 20 years, Honda’s fuel efficiency has NOT IMPROVED!!! Would you buy a new PC computer that was as slow as one 20 years ago?!!!

  3. We have owned a 2006 Civic Hybrid for almost two and a half years now. We live in Alaska, and have had the car through two winters and two summers.

    We get an average of 50 mpg in the summer, and 37-40mpg in the winter. We occassionally get summer milage of 56 mpg for a few tanks in a row.

    The engine is more efficient when it is warm, so fuel economy is generally lower in the winter. Add to that our tendancy in the winter to start the car and leave it to warm up for several minutes, and the studded tires we put on (which decrease fuel economy in general), and the difference in seasonal fuel economy becomes clear.

    I am extremely happy with the car; the thing is, to reap the benefits of the Honda’s hybrid technology, you have to learn HOW TO DRIVE IT. In order to maximize fuel economy you have to drive the car differently (truth be told, if you drove a standard car in the same way your fuel economy would also improve dramatically).

  4. […] manufacturers began to produce hybrid vehicles that looked more like standard vehicles (the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius), the popularity of the Insight fell and in 2006, production was stopped […]

  5. […] gas card deal”, or would it make more sense to purchase a hybrid car like the Prius or Civic?  Part of the answer depends on the price of gas over the next 36 months, which is […]

  6. […] have consumers lining up to buy the fuel efficient little things. Good luck finding a new Prius or Green Civic. At the same time, the General Motors dealership across the street still has hybrid Tahoes and […]

  7. […] will make the Volt different? Hybrids currently cruising our roads, such as the Toyota Prius or Honda Civic, are hybrids because they use gas to power the drive train and electricity is used to increase the […]

  8. […] the demand for hybrid technology grows, we expect to see this list grow as well. While the Honda Civic hybrid and others with amazing fuel efficiency are great options for some, the truth is that some of us […]

  9. I have a 2004 Prius with 150,000 miles in it. In the winter,I average around 54 MPG and in the summer, I average about 56 MPG. I am very happy with it. I hope the battery will not die soon.
    My husband drives a 2007 Honda Civic Si and he gets 32 MPG. I think Dave from Alaska is right, you need to learn how to drive to maximize your fuel efficiency.

  10. […] cable. Charter, a Midwest cable, internet and phone provider, is giving away a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid and you don’t have to purchase anything to win! Hurry, though – this one ends on Halloween […]

  11. I’m amazed that you were physically able to get the milage that low on your Civic. I drive a 2008 Honda Civic Si in Juneau Alaska. Just cruising around town, I get just under 30 MPG. Even when I drove it up to Alaska from Seattle, cruising mountain passes at high RPMs, passing cars left and right, and constantly topping 120, I pulled about 25 MPG. It seems to me that even if you floored your car everywhere, you’d have a lot of trouble getting the milage that low.

  12. […] and everything into a Toyota Highlander, just barely…but imagine taking this trip in a Hybrid Civic or Toyota Prius!). Point is, if you need a lot of room, and you want to go green, the hybrid Tahoe […]

  13. […] SUV at all, but was instead the hybrid Chevy Malibu. It was followed in order by the Lexus LS, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, and Lexus RX. Jeff Hackett, a senior VP at comScore noted, “The collective […]

  14. […] which would be a much bigger deal if fuel costs were higher. Prius competes more closely with the Honda Civic hybrid and now it will also have to fight off the less expensive Honda Insight, introduced just last […]

  15. […] 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 […]

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