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2003 Honda Civic Hybrid Road Test

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The Balance of Power is Shifting

It just keeps getting better and better. While that's just my humble opinion I'm sure it would not be difficult to find plenty more who'd agree with me. For the past few years Honda has been striving to make the Civic the most fuel efficient and cleanest vehicle on the market. So it's no wonder that the stingy model continues to be the car to beat with a wide range of bodystyles, engines and equipment levels. So with the release of the Civic Hybrid, Honda could truly be ahead of the game.

Honda strived to make the Civic the most fuel efficient and cleanest vehicle on the market, and the Civic Hybrid puts them ahead of the crowd. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Several of my neighbors and friends all jokingly said, "Sold!" after the simple question, "What do you think?" I wasn't content to just say 'fine, great, or not bad' you know... the usual platitudes. And the sheer humor behind their intense curiosity made it easy to get them excited.

More upscale than the regular Civic, the Hybrid receives chrome trim, high quality plastics and improved fit and finish. (Photo: Trevor Hofmann, Canadian Auto Press)

Quite simply, after driving it over 800 km (~500 miles) I must say that 'fun' is the operative word. However, keep in mind it's still an economy sedan and most people will eventually reach the point where the novelty of its "hybrid" gas-electric powertrain wears off.

To truly appreciate the styling of what is otherwise a generic Japanese design, take a long close look at how the lines and angles come together. It's carefully styled to please the eye, and the overall quality of the interior is deceptively better than you might think. It's much more upscale than a regular Civic, with gorgeous chrome trim, high quality plastics and much better than average fit and finish.