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Experts at TheCarConnection.com have gathered some of the most useful comments from other reviewers regarding the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. Then here, in this Bottom Line, TheCarConnection.com’s editors bring you their own assessment, based on their firsthand driving experiences and observations.
The 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid does just what it's designed to do: carry you and yours all over town with minimal gasoline consumption. The four-door Civic uses both gas and electric power to achieve 45 mpg.
The system at work in the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid actually has five modes that let the electrics and gas engine come together in different ways, including allowing the Civic Hybrid to run on electric power alone. The powertrain consists of a 1.3-liter four mated to an IMA hybrid system. The engine by itself produces 93 horsepower, assisted by a 20-horsepower electric motor. The Civic Hybrid gets 40 mpg city, 45 highway, compared to the larger Toyota Prius, which has an equal highway rating but a higher city rating of 48 mpg.
It takes a trained eye to tell the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid apart from other Civics. The sedan shape is shared with the gas-powered four-doors, and it makes some compromises to style. The Hybrid's minor cosmetic changes include a small spoiler, clear turn-signal lenses, and blue lighting for the interior, as well as a wonderfully rich blue cloth interior and blue vinyl dash cap, different wheels, and turn indicators built into the sideview mirror housings. Inside the Hybrid, the futuristic look is somewhat fitting. However, the design leaves a lot of wasted space above the dash, and the rear doors with small cutouts make it harder for backseat passengers to get in and out of the Hybrid. The front seats are comfortable, but the dash standing before them has an unusual double-decker style that makes you feel like you're piloting a video game. There's not an abundance of headroom in back, either. For 2009, a leather-trimmed interior is available.
As with most Hybrids, there's a learning curve to the Civic. Although it handles well, the cornering limits are low, the steering feel is quite numb, and when the gas engine is needed, the CVT keeps it running at an unappealing drone. The ride is a bit busy, too. However, driving gently around town, you can move along at lower speeds on electric power alone, in near silence.
There is no folding rear seat in the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid, because the battery pack lives between the rear seats and the trunk. Power locks and windows are standard, along with a tilt/telescope steering wheel, remote keyless entry, steering-wheel audio controls, a 160-watt audio system with an auxiliary jack for your MP3 player, automatic climate control, and 15-inch wheels and tires. Options include satellite radio and a navigation system. For 2009, the nav system includes Bluetooth capabilities for hands-free calling.
Every 2009 Civic gets dual airbags, side and side curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Electronic stability control is newly standard on the Civic Hybrid for 2009. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid as "good."