EPA City/Highway/Combined mpg: 40/45/42
Annual Fuel Cost: $921
TheCarConnection Meta Review Rating: 8.6 (2009)
The Bottom Line: The 2009 Honda Civic is a very livable fuel-economy champ.
Unless you look closely, the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid looks pretty much like a standard Honda Civic sedan. However it packs a smaller 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine and Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. You won't be able to accelerate from a stop in electric-only mode like in the Prius and other full hybrids, but the system allows the engine to turn off at stoplights, which could save a lot of fuel in stop-and-go commuting.
EPA City/Highway/Combined mpg: 40/43/41
Annual Fuel Cost: $944
TheCarConnection Meta Review Rating: 7.4
The Bottom Line: For those who want to be seen in a smart, high-mileage hybrid but prefer to pinch pennies at the dealership, the 2010 Honda Insight is the way to go.
The Insight is an all-new model for 2010; it's offered only as a hybrid and has a unique fastback/hatchback body style that earns it instant recognition as a rival to the Prius—even if, according to Honda, it's looking to appeal to those who are keeping tighter wraps on the budget than Prius shoppers. Many might actually prefer the slightly more mainstream cabin dimensions and appointments of the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid—essentially unchanged versus 2009—to those of the 2010 Honda Insight. And surprisingly, the Civic Hybrid gets slightly better Highway and Combined ratings than the Insight with essentially the same powertrain.