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2009 Honda Civic Hybrid Review

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First off, let me say that Honda’s highly efficient, entry-level hybrid sedan is more refined operationally than I expected. It’s also remarkably roomy, not to mention miserly when it comes to fuel consumption.

Let me say that Honda’s highly efficient, entry-level hybrid sedan is more refined operationally than I expected.

Few changes for 2009
Apart from subtle nose revisions to improve the flow of air over the Civic’s lean body, not much has changed with Honda’s high-mileage 4-door hybrid sedan but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid technology has proved itself to be robust and reliable.

The Civic Hybrid continues to be a big seller for Honda. It’s the least expensive hybrid vehicle on the Canadian market, (or so Honda claims) and the one that best retains its Kelly Blue Book value. The latest Prius incarnation is more expensive, but in return it’ll squeeze a little more distance from a litre of petrol.

Impressive fuel economy
The 2009 Civic Hybrid is EnerGuide Canada rated at 4.7L/100km and 4.3L/100km of city and highway driving respectively while Toyota’s 2010 Prius turns in a slightly better result of 4.0 and 4.2-litres. Separations in the tenths of litres is fairly insignificant, especially when driving style is factored-in.

However it’s measured and interpreted, it’s fair to conclude that both vehicles return mighty impressive results from a litre of golden nectar.

Abundant passenger space
Perhaps it’s due to the diminutive size of the original Honda Civic that hit North American shores as an inexpensive hatchback in 1972, the name ‘Civic’ always been synonymous with small – at least for me. And in keeping with that theme, the exterior dimensions of this week’s test car are just that – small.

Yet when one takes a seat in the Civic Sedan, the perception of “small” evaporates. There’s plenty of head and legroom in the Civic Hybrid for tall folks, and that applies to rear seating as well.

Trunk space is also greater than one would expect but a significant penalty is imposed by fixed rear seat backs that don’t fold down in order to expand cargo space into the cabin. This impediment to cargo capacity is a hybrid trade-off. A conventionally powered Civic Sedan can be obtained with folding rear seat backs.

There’s plenty of head and legroom in the Civic Hybrid for tall folks.