Document 108779

2014 Honda Civic Hybrid has improved fuel economy
Another fuel-sipping alternative is available to motorists
weary of yo-yo pump prices: the
gasoline-electric hybrid version
of Honda’s popular Civic compact sedan.
It’s affordable, too, as far
as hybrid cars go: 2014 prices
begin at $24,635 (plus $790
freight) for the base model. But
it can go as high as $27,335 with
leather seats and a navigation
system, the model we tested for
this report.
There’s also a model with
navigation and no leather, for
$26,135, and with leather and
no navigation, for $25,835. No
factory options are offered.
The car has better fuel economy for 2014, too, Honda says.
EPA ratings are now 44 mpg
city/47 highway/45 combined, up
from the 2013 model’s 44/44/44.
It’s a classy-looking car, inside
and out — quite an improvement
over the Civic that first came to
the United States in the early
1970s as a basic econo-box. If
you were around back then,
you’ll remember that Consumer
Reports even rated the early
Civic as “unacceptable,” based
on its flimsy brakes.
Today’s Civic is just about as
roomy as the larger Accord, and
actually is as big as the Accord
was just a few years ago.
Our test vehicle’s leather interior looked like it belonged in a
premium car, but I suppose with
a price approaching $30,000,
the Civic Hybrid is pushing the
boundaries between economy
and luxury.
Honda’s hybrid system is
called Integrated Motor Assist,
or IMA. The system in the 2014
Civic is the fifth-generation
IMA, and includes a 1.5-liter
four-cylinder gasoline engine
and 23 horsepower electric
Base price: $24,635
Engine: 1.5-liter, I-4 with
electric motor (110 h.p.
EPA rating (city/highway):
44/47 mpg
motor. Total output is 110 horsepower and 127 foot-pounds of
A lithium-ion battery pack
powers the electric motor, which
kicks in during start-up and hard
acceleration. It does not have to
be plugged in to an external outlet to be recharged; that occurs
when the car is coasting or when
the gasoline engine is running.
The hybrid comes with a
continuously variable automatic transmission, which
works better than a traditional
transmission with the electric
motor integration. There are no
discernible shift points, but it
also doesn’t unnecessarily rev
up the engine, either, as some
CVTs seem to do.
Under the hood of the regular
Civic sedan gasoline models
is a 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter
four-cylinder engine, also con-
nected to a CVT.
I’ve driven the Civic with
both powertrains, and found
the hybrid to have plenty of
pickup for everyday driving.
The electric motor helps make
the hybrid feel as zippy as the
regular Civic.
New for 2014 in the hybrid
are a 7-inch touch-screen audio
display and an expanded-view
driver’s outside mirror. With
the new audio display, users can
pinch, swipe and tap just like the
screen on a tablet or smartphone
to access audio, phonebook,
media, vehicle information and
navigation features.
The new display is also the interface for the next-generation
of HondaLink, the telematics
system that connects a smartphone to the audio system for
a variety of in-car connectivity
options — including online and
cloud-based content.
Standard is LaneWatch, which
is a passenger-side blind-spot
camera whose image shows up
on the dash audio/navigation
screen when the right turn
signal is activated. It shows the
whole area to the right of the
car, using a camera on the passenger-side outside mirror.
It clearly shows any traffic
approaching from the rear in the
right lane. You can see the side
of the car from the mirror back.
It’s a great help when trying
to line up the car with the curb
while parallel parking, but its
greatest value is when moving
into the adjacent lane or turning
Also now standard on the
Civic hybrid is Honda’s Smart
Entry system with pushbutton
start. It allows for entry and
engine starting without having
to use a key.
Honda introduced the current
generation of the Civic for 2012,
but made more changes just
a year later, giving the sedan
bolder styling, a more-upscale
interior and some extra standard amenities.
The leather front bucket seats
are quite comfortable, even on a
long drive, and there are plenty
of storage spots throughout the
cabin to help keep items such
as cellphones and other gadgets
organized and out of the way.
Automatic climate control
is standard on the hybrid as
well — another amenity that’s
surprising for a compact in the
Civic’s class.
The 160-watt AM/FM/CD
audio system includes USB
and auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth
hands-free phone and streaming
audio, satellite and HD radio,
six speakers, and MP3/WMA
A rearview camera system
also works through the audio/
nav display screen.
There’s adequate space for
two adults in the rear seat; three
in a pinch (literally), which is
typical in this class. The rear
outboard passengers have 37.1
inches of headroom and 36.2
inches of legroom. The middle
seat is usable for a child or medium-size adult, but has slightly
less legroom.
I was surprised to find that
the steering column had both tilt
and telescopic controls — manual, of course, but here again is
something often not included on
vehicles in this class — as were
the standard heated front seats.
The steering wheel was leather-wrapped, and had built-in
audio and cruise controls.
The driver’s seat also came
with a height adjustment. Power
windows and door locks are
included, as are power/heated
outside mirrors.
The Civic includes the LATCH
system for child seats in the
rear, along with multiple air
bags, including side curtains
with rollover sensors for both
rows, dual-stage front bags, and
front seat-mounted side bags
with SmartVent technology.
Trunk space is 10.7 cubic feet,
nearly two cubic feet less than
that of the regular Civic sedan.
The lost space is taken up by the
hybrid’s battery pack.
Side-impact door beams and
Honda’s Advanced Compatibility
Engineering (ACE) body structure further enhance passenger
safety, along with antilock disc
brakes with brake assist and
electronic brake-force distribution, front and rear crumple
zones, daytime running lights,
and automatic pre-tensioning
front seat belts.
Other standard safety gear
includes electronic stability
control with traction control,
four-wheel antilock disc brakes
with electronic brake-force distribution, forward-collision and
lane-departure warnings, and
tire-pressure monitoring.
Regular gasoline Civic sedan
models begin at $18,390 with
a 5-speed manual gearbox,
and $19,190 with the CVT. The
sporty Si Sedan, available only
with a 6-speed manual, starts at
$22,990. Gasoline Civic sedan
prices top out at $24,490 for
the Si with navigation, and at
$24,240 for the regular sedan
with navigation.
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