2011 Honda Civic Hybrid Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
February 8, 2011
The 2011 Honda Hybrid doesn't wear its green-cred on its sleeve the same way as the Toyota Prius; it's essentially the same—appearance-wise, and mechanically in many respects—as the Honda Civic Sedan, yet it has a sophisticated Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system that boosts fuel economy to an EPA-rated 40 mpg city, 43 highway.

In the Civic, IMA consists of a 93-horsepower, 1.3-liter four-cylinder, assisted by a 20-hp electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission, plus a battery pack located near the rear of the car. The motor assists the gasoline engine at low speeds, and allows the engine to shut down completely either at stoplights or when coasting or decelerating, but unlike the Prius it can't accelerate on electric power alone.

Visibly, it would take a true gearhead or hybrid car fan to identify the Civic Hybrid from a standard Civic Sedan, at a distance. Different wheels, clear turn-signal lenses, a small trunklid spoiler, and in-mirror turn signals are about the extent of it from the outside, while inside there's a blue-cloth interior and blue-vinyl dash cap.

The Hybrid's steering isn't up to the class-leading levels of responsiveness and feel that the standard Civic models have, but otherwise the driving experience is good—and more enjoyable than that of the Prius. The ride can be a bit jiggly and busy, though, and there's some engine drone under harder acceleration.

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Standard-feature content in the 2011 Honda Civic Hybrid is impressive. Power locks and windows, along with automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, a 160-watt audio system with an aux jack, and steering-wheel audio controls are all included, and options include a rather antiquated navigation system, satellite radio, Bluetooth hands-free, and leather upholstery.

For more information about the Civic line—including close-up views at styling, performance, comfort, safety, and features—see our full review on the 2011 Honda Civic.

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