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2015 Honda Civic Hybrid: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader February 2015

The 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid is exactly as its name implies: a hybrid version of Honda's popular Civic compact car, which has been a mainstay on the U.S. market for years. The hybrid version hasn't been around for nearly as long, however. In recent years, its popularity has waned in the face of significant competition from rival automakers and even from other Honda models.

Still, the Civic Hybrid presents a strong choice for shoppers interested in a frugal new car. Not only does it combine traditional Civic durability and reliability, but it also offers excellent fuel economy that's not far off from Prius numbers. It touts a long list of standard equipment and a surprisingly roomy interior, too. As a result, it's worth a look if you're searching for a new car that offers little hassle and big gas mileage.

What's New for 2015?

The Civic Hybrid is unchanged for the 2015 model year.

What We Like

Good fuel economy; familiar design and interior; reputation for durability; lots of standard equipment

What We Don't

Small trunk due to hybrid battery pack; high pricing; doesn't stand out as a hybrid like the Prius or Insight

How Much?

$25,500

Fuel Economy

All Civic Hybrid models use one engine and transmission combination: a 1.5-liter hybrid 4-cylinder that makes 110 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque, mated to a continuously-variable automatic transmission. Fuel economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stand at 44 miles per gallon in the city and 47 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid doesn't offer trim levels; instead, it comes in one well-equipped package with a few options. It starts around $25,500 with shipping, and standard features include 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition and entry, a 7-in touchscreen display, Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera, automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio and a backup camera. A forward-collision warning system and lane-departure warning system also come newly standard.

Options include leather upholstery with heated front seats and a navigation system with satellite radio.

Safety

All Civic Hybrid models come standard with a wide range of safety features, including anti-lock brakes, stability control, side-curtain airbags, a backup camera, Honda's LaneWatch blind spot camera, forward collision alert and lane departure warning.

In government crash tests, the Civic received an overall 5-star rating, the highest score possible. The Civic also earned an excellent Top Safety Pick score from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Behind the Wheel

If you're used to the Honda Civic, you'll feel right at home behind the wheel of Honda's highly efficient Civic Hybrid. Controls are positioned in the same way, the seating position is identical and there are few other changes to let you know you're driving anything other than a standard Civic. For those who aren't familiar with the Civic, this is a good thing, because the Civic's controls, switchgear and equipment are some of the easiest on the market to get used to.

On the road, we're a little disappointed by the Civic Hybrid's acceleration, which lags dramatically behind other Civic models. And these cars aren't typically known for high performance. We also think the Civic Hybrid's smaller wheels and tires make it feel a little less stable than other Civic models, although this is a minor gripe. Most drivers probably won't notice unless they're driving it back-to-back with a gas-powered model. Our only other complaint is that the hybrid battery swallows some trunk room, making it far less practical than the popular Toyota Prius.

There are some big benefits to the Civic Hybrid, however. The cabin is roomy and spacious, which is unusual for a compact car. The hybrid system is largely unobtrusive, which means you rarely hear or feel it kick into action. And fuel economy is impressive; we had no trouble topping 40 mpg without paying attention to driving style or gas mileage.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Toyota Prius -- Toyota's popular Prius is a little more expensive than the Civic Hybrid, but it offers more room for passengers and cargo, along with improved gas mileage.

2015 Ford C-MAX Hybrid -- If you're fine with hatchback styling, Ford's 5-door C-MAX offers similar fuel economy to the Civic Hybrid. It also has a more practical interior with more cargo space.

Used Chevrolet Volt -- If you'd like to join the world of plug-in cars, consider a Chevy Volt. New models are far more expensive than the Civic Hybrid, but a used Volt should be similarly priced. Remember, however, that you won't be able to take advantage of the tax credit by buying it used.

Used Honda Accord Hybrid -- The Honda Accord Hybrid offers a larger interior than the Civic Hybrid, more equipment, a larger trunk and better fuel economy. While it only recently came out, used ones are starting to lose value, and that makes them an excellent purchase.

AutoTrader's Advice

There's only one trim level of the Honda Civic Hybrid, so that's the one we'd get. We'd probably upgrade to the navigation system, since it's only $1,600 extra and includes satellite radio, but we'd hold off on leather unless we really needed the heated seats.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Honda Civic Hybrid: New Car Review - Autotrader