2010 Honda Civic Hybrid Review

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

John Voelcker John Voelcker Senior Editor
January 8, 2010

The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid is a very livable way to save fuel without shouting your green credentials to the world.

TheCarConnection.com has driven the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid to bring you this hands-on review that covers styling, performance, safety, utility, and features from on-the-road observations. TheCarConnection.com's editors also researched reviews from other sources to give you a comprehensive range of opinions from around the Web-and to help you decide which ones to trust.High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided Honda Civic Hybrid to produce this hands-on road test.

The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid does just what it's designed to do: carry you and yours all over town with superb fuel efficiency. The four-door 2010 Civic Hybrid uses a blend of gasoline and electric power to achieve a real-world 45 mpg, but hardly anyone will know you're driving a hybrid. It's the hybrid for people who don't need to show off their green credentials. At a base price of $23,800, the Civic Hybrid competes with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI clean diesel sedan, the Honda Civic GX natural-gas vehicle, and the all-new 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid hatchback.

It takes a trained eye to tell the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid apart from other Civics. Along with the other Civic four-door sedans, it got a new grille and lights last year; otherwise, it's unchanged for 2010. The Hybrid's minor exterior tweaks include different wheels, clear turn-signal lenses, turn indicators built into the side-view mirror housings, and a small trunk-lid spoiler. Inside, it sports blue lighting and a wonderfully rich blue cloth interior and blue vinyl dash cap.

The system at work in the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid actually has five modes that let the electrics and gas engine work together in various ways. In theory, the Civic Hybrid can run on electric power alone, but we never experienced it for any noticeable duration. The powertrain consists of a 93-horsepower 1.3-liter four mated to Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. The engine is assisted by a 20-horsepower electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission. The Civic Hybrid is rated by the EPA at 40 mpg city, 45 highway. This is marginally lower than the 2010 Toyota Prius, at 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway. After 10,000 miles, the difference in consumption between the two would be a mere 38 gallons.

Review continues below

As with most hybrid-electric cars, there's a learning curve to driving the 2010 Civic Hybrid. Like all Civics, it handles well and is easy to blast around town. But the cornering limits are low, the steering feels somewhat numb, and at times, the gasoline engine drones at high speed when asked for urgent performance. The ride can be jiggly and busy, too. But driving gently around town at low speeds, you can occasionally move in near silence on electric power alone.

The futuristic interior styling of the 2010 Honda Civic seems appropriate for the Civic Hybrid model. The front seats are comfortable, but the dash ahead of them has an unusual double-decker style that makes drivers feel like they're piloting a video game. Combined with a steeply raked windshield, that leaves a lot of wasted space above the dash. With relatively small door openings, it can be a challenge for backseat passengers to get in and out of the Hybrid. There's not a ton of headroom in back, either. Unlike other Civic sedans, the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid doesn't offer a folding rear seat-because the battery pack sits between the rear seatback and the trunk, which also reduces cargo space.

Despite a design that dates back to 2006, the 2010 Honda Civic line rates high for safety. Every 2010 Civic gets dual front airbags, side and side-curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Electronic stability control is also standard on the Civic Hybrid. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid as "good." And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the 2010 Civic Hybrid five stars for front impact and side rear passenger impact, along with four stars for side driver impact.

Standard features on the well-equipped 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid include power locks and windows, along with automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, a 160-watt audio system with an auxiliary jack for your MP3 player, steering-wheel audio controls, and 15-inch wheels and tires. A short options list includes satellite radio and a navigation system, which now includes Bluetooth capabilities for hands-free calling. A leather-trimmed interior is also available.

8

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

Styling

The styling of the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid is meant to look futuristic, inside and out-which you may like or loathe.

It takes a trained eye to tell the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid apart from other Civics. Along with the other Civic four-door sedans, it got a new grille and lights last year; otherwise, it's unchanged for 2010. The Hybrid's minor exterior tweaks include different wheels, clear turn-signal lenses, turn indicators built into the side-view mirror housings, and a small trunk-lid spoiler. Inside, it sports blue lighting and a wonderfully rich blue cloth interior and blue vinyl dash cap.

The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid shares much of its body design with conventional Honda Civics, which most reviewers approve of. Reviews surveyed by TheCarConnection.com mostly side with Edmunds, whose testers are "quite fond of the current-generation Civic" and its futuristic styling. Reviewers at Cars.com point out that "the hybrid takes the look even further, with disc-like 15-inch alloy wheels fitted with low-rolling-resistance tires." Kelley Blue Book cites additional differences between the 2010 Civic Hybrid and other Civic models, including "side mirrors with integrated turn indicators," along with "clear front turn signal lenses, mild trunk spoiler, small roof-mounted antenna" and hybrid badges. But not all reviewers appreciate the Civic's radical sedan silhouette. Car and Driver feels that "from the B-pillar forward, it has almost a minivan look to it," contributing to a "front end [that] looks pretty strange."

The dashboard and instruments comprise a love-it-or-hate-it interior. Edmunds notes that the "digital speedometer and gas gauge are at the base of the windshield," which makes "some drivers find the two-tier display distracting," although "others say it makes quick visual checks of speed easier." And ConsumerGuide approves, singing the virtues of the "two-tier instrument panel" that puts the speedometer's digits "in the driver's line of sight for viewing without taking focus off [the] road." On the other hand, Car and Driver testers feel that the dashboard is "odd" and gives "the impression that a designer is trying a bit too hard to make the civilian Civic into a Formula 1 racer." Edmunds praises the "easy to operate" controls, but the reviewers at ConsumerGuide disagree on several fronts. They say that "the navigation system takes time to master, has undersized buttons, and absorbs too many audio functions," and complain that "its screen is difficult to read in changing light conditions."

Review continues below
8

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

Performance

Acceleration isn't the strongest suit of the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid, but that's not what it's designed for; its strength is fuel economy, where it excels.

Experts reviewed by TheCarConnection.com generally conclude that the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid has adequate performance, but its strongest features are its fuel efficiency and its surprisingly good handling.

The system at work in the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid has five modes that let the electrics and gas engine work together in various ways. In theory, the Civic Hybrid can effectively shut off all its cylinders by opening the valves to run on electric power alone at low speed. The powertrain consists of a 93-horsepower 1.3-liter four mated to Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system. The engine is assisted by a 20-horsepower electric motor. Car and Driver notes that the 2010 "Honda's engine and electric motor are sandwiched together and then connected to the transmission, so if one is running, so is the other." According to Cars.com, the two combine to produce "110 horsepower and 123 pounds-feet of torque." The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid's transmission is described by Kelley Blue Book as a "'gearless' continuously variable transmission" that is a "natural fit" for the hybrid system. The CVT keeps the engine operating near its peak performance range, which helps increase fuel economy, though J.D. Power calls it "less energetic" than standard Civic transmissions.

Many reviews mention the sluggish acceleration times offered by this combination, with ConsumerGuide warning that 2010 Honda Civic Hybrids are "slow off the line and demand liberal throttle to build speed quickly." Others concur. "The Civic Hybrid [is] quite slow," says Edmunds. "The Toyota Prius is quicker." On the other hand, Cars.com finds that the Honda "Civic Hybrid accelerates adequately." The Civic Hybrid's strong point is gas mileage; it is rated by the EPA at 40 mpg city, 45 highway. This is just marginally lower than the 2010 Toyota Prius, at 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway. After 10,000 miles, the difference between the two would be just 38 gallons. Testers at J.D. Power "ended the test with a 38.2 mpg average," but Car and Driver reviewers manage to hit the "40 mpg" mark.

As with most hybrid-electric cars, there's a learning curve to driving the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid. Like all Civics, the Hybrid squeezes unexpected driving fun into its thrifty package. Edmunds loves how the "suspension, steering and brakes all work together" seamlessly to make the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid "somewhat sporty to drive." And Cars.com reviewers rave about the "taut suspension" and "well-controlled" body roll, combined with the "responsive" steering. ConsumerGuide notes that Honda Civic Hybrids "have low-rolling resistance tires that enhance fuel economy, but allow some nose-plow in tight turns," but overall, they "take bumps in stride, with good absorbency and little float or wallow." The brakes are acceptable, but Cars.com finds they "can make smooth stops tricky."

Review continues below
8

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

Comfort & Quality

The well-crafted 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid offers good interior space, though the rear seat is somewhat cramped and hard to reach.

The futuristic interior styling of the 2010 Honda Civic seems appropriate for the Civic Hybrid model. Editors at TheCarConnection.com find the front seats comfortable, but the dash ahead of them has an unusual double-decker style that makes drivers feel like they're piloting a video game. Combined with a steeply raked windshield, that leaves a lot of wasted space above the dash. The interior of the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid has "room for five," according to Cars.com. Up front, Kelley Blue Book reviewers call the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid's seats "comfortable," but Car and Driver writers deem their backrests "uncomfortable to the point of being a deal breaker" since "Honda has decided not to offer adjustable lumbar support." J.D. Power finds that "the Hybrid is very comfortable save one exception: the location of the parking brake handle," which can dig into the driver's right leg.

With relatively small door openings, it can be a challenge for backseat passengers to get in and out of the Hybrid. There's not a ton of headroom in back, either. ConsumerGuide contends that the rear seats in the 2010 Hybrid offer "decent adult headroom," though "knee space is tight with the front seats far aft." Edmunds does note, however, that "the rear floor is flat all the way across, making the middle passenger's life easier." Unlike other Civic sedans, the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid doesn't offer a folding rear seat-because the battery pack sits between the rear seatback and the trunk. ConsumerGuide calls the Hybrid's interior storage "very good," but its reviewers miss the "folding rear seatback" removed from the Civic Hybrid. The battery pack also reduces cargo space. Edmunds reports that it leaves "about 10" cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk versus "12 cubic feet of trunk space" on traditional Honda Civics.

The Honda Civic Hybrid features an appealing and well-crafted interior, highlighted by a "laudable mix of high-grade plastics and fabrics" and "up-market feel" in the cabin, according to ConsumerGuide. Edmunds also notes that the interior "materials are of high quality" and the car as a whole is well crafted. Kelley Blue Book remarks that the interior of this 2010 Honda features excellent storage, thanks to "a voluminous center console/armrest." But the continuously variable transmission "promotes pronounced engine noise in rapid acceleration," says J.D. Power, whose reviewer hears an "odd warble" on acceleration. Car and Driver too comments that "occasional whirring and beeping noises" occur during driving, calling them "odd but not annoying." ConsumerGuide, however, contends that the Hybrid's sound suppression is "near the top of the class" when cruising.

Review continues below
9

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

Safety

The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid does well in safety, with an impressive list of safety features and the top ratings needed to prove its mettle.

Despite a design that dates back to 2006, the 2010 Honda Civic line rates high for safety, offering a full range of safety equipment and top scores on almost all crash tests. Kelley Blue Book reports that the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid offers "an impressive list of safety equipment including front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, active head restraints, anti-lock brakes (ABS), and more," a list echoed in most of the reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. Electronic stability control is also standard on the Civic Hybrid.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid as "good." And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awards the 2010 Civic Hybrid five stars for front impact and side rear passenger impact, along with four stars for side driver impact. Kelley Blue Book attributes these strong crash-test ratings to the 2010 Honda's "advanced body structure," which is "designed to better absorb and distribute collision forces, especially in impacts involving taller SUVs."

The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid's safety scores are further boosted by above-average visibility, courtesy of the large windshield and overall design. While ConsumerGuide notes that the "long front roof pillars impede outward view to the corners," Cars.com testers find that "all-around visibility is exceptional."

Review continues below
10

2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

Features

The 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid comes standard with a high level of comfort and convenience features, with only a navigation system as a major option.

Experts at TheCarConnection.com love the features of the well-equipped 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid. This car is loaded, likely in an appeal to tech-savvy hybrid shoppers. Edmunds notes that "the Hybrid is equipped similarly to the [Honda Civic] EX but adds automatic climate control." In fact, comments U.S. News, the Hybrid "could safely contend with most upscale small cars."

Kelley Blue Book lists some of the standard features on this 2010 Honda as "remote keyless entry, automatic climate control air conditioning, [160-watt] six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3/WMA CD playback capability," and "steering wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls." Power locks and windows are also standard, as well as a tilt/telescope steering wheel and 15-inch wheels and tires. Reviewers at The Detroit News love the "high-quality audio system and full complement of power accessories" that make the Honda Civic Hybrid "a lot of fun."

A short options list includes satellite radio and a navigation system, which now includes Bluetooth capabilities for hands-free calling. A leather-trimmed interior is also available. Kelley Blue Book notes that the navigation system "features voice recognition, a 6.5-inch customizable touch screen and a PC Card slot" that will allow you to insert and play music from almost any digital media card. TheCarConnection.com's editors appreciate Honda's nav system, and J.D. Power confirms it is "a breeze to use."

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
4 star
100%
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
April 20, 2015
For 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid

It's been best car I've ever had.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I've only had two things wrong after 120k miles in 5 years. One was the door seal on the drivers side cracked after about 20,000 miles, then along about 63,000 the battery started throwing an error, both were... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Browse Used Listings
in your area
8.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 9
Features 10
Fuel Economy N/A
Looking for a different year of the Honda Civic Hybrid?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used