When hybrid cars became popular in the early 2000s, two 4-door models quickly joined the fray: the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. While the Civic Hybrid never saw the same sales success as Toyota's highly popular Prius, it still boasts a lot of the features that shoppers love about hybrid cars. That's especially true of the 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid, which offers fuel-efficient engines and a long list of equipment.

Unfortunately, the Civic Hybrid doesn't offer one item that many hybrid buyers especially appreciate: a unique design. Instead, it has largely the same appearance as a standard Civic, with only a few minor detail changes. For a totally new look, you'll have to consider instead the hybrid-only Honda Insight, which boasts a streamlined appearance that's much more similar to the Prius model's look.

Still, for shoppers who don't need to stand out while they're saving gas, the Civic Hybrid offers an excellent alternative to more popular models.

What's New for 2014?

After updates for 2013, the Civic Hybrid is largely unchanged for 2014. The only revisions are three new options: a 7-inch touchscreen, Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera and keyless access with push-button starting.

What We Like

Fuel efficient; well equipped; lots of desirable options; surprisingly roomy interior

What We Don't

Looks a lot like the normal Civic; interior could be nicer; pricey for a Civic; Prius gets better mileage

How Much?

$25,300

Fuel Economy

The Honda Civic Hybrid offers one engine: a 1.5-liter hybrid 4-cylinder that makes 110 horsepower. The only transmission is a fuel-saving continuously variable automatic. Fuel economy is rated at 44 miles per gallon in the city/47 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The Civic Hybrid comes in just one trim level, which starts around $25,300. Standard features roughly mirror those of the Civic EX, which means 16-in alloy wheels, keyless entry, a rearview camera, power accessories (mirrors, locks, windows), Bluetooth and a USB/iPod interface. Civic Hybrid models also include lane departure warning and forward collision warning.

Options include Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera, keyless access with push-button starting, leather upholstery, automatic headlights and heated front seats. A navigation system is also available.

Safety

The 2014 Honda Civic Hybrid comes standard with a rearview camera, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, stability control, side curtain airbags, front side airbags, forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Safety-related options include Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera and automatic headlights.

In government crash testing, the Civic Hybrid received a perfect 5-star overall rating. That score consisted of 4-star ratings in frontal and rollover tests, along with a 5-star rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's side impact assessment.

Behind the Wheel

It won't surprise many shoppers that the Honda Civic Hybrid drives a lot like the regular Honda Civic. That's because it is a regular Honda Civic in many ways, from the body and platform to all of the interior components. The only big changes are under the hood, where the Civic Hybrid's fuel-efficient hybrid powerplant replaces the standard Civic's more conventional 4-cylinder.

The result is that our feelings here roughly mirror our take on the standard Civic. Performance isn't earth-shattering, but we enjoy the Civic's effortless driving feel: It seems simple and easy to pilot. That feeling extends to the Civic Hybrid's braking and handling performance, as well, and we find the Civic to be among the sturdier, better-built compact cars.

Other Cars to Consider

Chevrolet Volt -- If you're willing to consider going the plug-in route, the Volt boasts a 30-mile electric-only range and a backup gasoline engine. Prices are steep, but tax credits can bring the Volt into the Civic Hybrid's range.

Honda Insight -- The Civic drives better than the Insight, offering improved performance over bumps and around corners, but the Insight offers more cargo room and a much lower base price.

Toyota Prius -- The Civic Hybrid's biggest rival remains the best-selling Toyota Prius. Despite similar pricing, the Prius is far more practical than the Civic Hybrid, and fuel economy is better, too.

AutoTrader's Advice

We'd take our Civic Hybrid with leather, navigation and the latest convenience options added for 2014. Those features only add around $2,500 to the sedan's base price, but they give it the feeling of a luxury car.

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