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2007 Honda Civic Hybrid test drive

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


2007 Honda Civic Hybrid AT-PZEV tag

Evidence of this hybrid's Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) credentials.

photo © Adrian Gable

Motion Potion: Just hop in and go

After all, isn’t that the beauty of a hybrid? Just turn the key, fill up at any of the thousands of gas stations on nearly every corner in America. Press the gas to go, and the engine paired with the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) is ready instantly to take you on your way with only the barest hint of any hesitation. Ready to rise to the occasion, whether it’s merging onto highways or taking the twisty back roads, it’s a good ride with nary a complaint from the back or front seat passengers, although Christine found the ride to be firmer than she prefers in the backseat—but then again, Scott was enthusiastically trying out the country road slalom—and she prefers a more genteel ride. After a week of traveling in the Civic, Christine found the smoothest, most satisfying seat to definitely be the driver’s seat.

As regular readers know, Scott likes to explore the nooks and crannies of our review cars, and this hybrid threw him for a loop. That’s right, he wasn’t able to find a way to look at this hybrid’s battery pack. While the battery compartment is sealed up tight as a drum, this hybrid offers impressive trunk space to the tune of 10.4 cubic feet—lots of space for a full load of groceries—with little difference from the conventional Civic sedan’s cargo space of 12.0 cubic feet. In fact, there’s no difference in seating volume from the DX and LX--unsuspecting souls may even think this is a conventional car—just don’t let them see those hybrid badges.

The Enviro-meter: More bang for your buck

Anytime a car shuts off when it would otherwise be idling away makes it a winner in our book. Gotta just love the surprised look on startled passers-by when the Civic shuts off. No, our car didn’t stall—that’s Auto Stop—contributing to peace, quiet and living up to that AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) certification with a smog index of less than 0.1. Compare that to a regular new vehicle average of 0.4. Honda’s combination of an ultra-efficient engine that just sips fuel combined with the Integrated Motor Assist that allows for horsepower boost certainly fuels this hybrid’s popularity.

The Civic Hybrid can be fueled up at any standard gasoline station with a 12.3-gallon tank that gives a range of about 490 miles. Our mileage fell a bit below of the EPA range at 41.4 mpg, driving a combination of urban and country. Compare that to a 29 average mpg for a regular Civic, with a range of 382 miles. According to fueleconomy.gov, the Civic Hybrid’s petroleum oil consumption is about 8.2 barrels of crude annually—compared to 11.8 barrels for the conventional Civic. Driving an average of 15,000 miles per year, greenhouse gas emissions for the hybrid tally up to 4.4 tons/year, where the regular Civic will spew out a higher 6.3 tons/year.

The Civic Hybrid is also an Advanced Technology-Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) and models for sale in CA, NY, VT ME, MA and CT meet those standards. It is for sale in all 50 states.

When it’s all said & done: One tidy li’l package

Want fun to drive? Check. Want economical? Check. Want comfort? Check. Want to choose the latest in modern options? Check. Want to forget it’s a hybrid? Check. Want to remember you have a hybrid—especially when it’s time to pay the fuel bill? Double check.

This car’s a deal no matter which way you slice it. It’s really one sporty and fun drive with an economical price tag that’ll keep savin’ you for as long as you own it. Drive fast and furious, you’ll get good mileage; drive like the average motorist and you’ll get better mileage. Drive with an eye for economy and a lighter foot and you’ll get excellent fuel economy. Yes, there’s good reason why 31,253 Civic Hybrids were sold in 2006, and why 17,141 were sold halfway into 2007. Honda pulls together a smart package, and we bet it will continue to be popular as fuel prices continue their upward spiral—with even more potential if it were dressed out in full hybrid regalia. But in the meantime, go ahead. Treat yourself to a Civic.


  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Fun to drive
  • Nice price


  • Very firm ride in backseat
  • Not a lot of luxury options
  • Low rear head-room clearance for tall passengers

Who Should Buy the Honda Civic Hybrid: The thrifty driver who likes tight handling and practicality—and also likes getting 40+mpg.

Who Should Not Buy the Honda Civic Hybrid: Drivers looking for more of a luxury car-feel who like a few more bells and whistles and customized perks.

The 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid is built in Suzuka, Mie, Japan. Parts content breakdown: 55% from United States/Canadian and 40% from Japan.

Rebate & Credit Run-down:

Buy the Civic Hybrid and you’re qualified for a $2,100 tax credit. This, coupled with the hybrid’s first year’s fuel savings of $455-500 (compared to driving 15,000 miles in a similar Civic) will negate the $3,090 hybrid price premium (as compared to a similarly-equipped Civic EX) in the second year of ownership. After that it’s smooth sailing as your fuel budget stays small, your savings account grows, plus your contribution to earth’s carbon load is slashed.

Details and Specs:

Technical Features: 1.3-liter, i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine with Integrated Motor Assist, Continuously Variable Transmission

Safety Features: driver’s and front passenger’s dual-stage airbags, driver’s and front passenger’s side airbags, side curtain airbags, anti-lock brake system, LATCH system for child seats

Interior Features: Honda Navigation System with Voice Recognition, remote entry system with trunk opener, 160-watt Am/FM/CD Audio System with 6 speakers

Exterior Features: 15” x 6” lightweight alloy wheels, P195/65 R15 89S all-season tires

Check out what’s involved in maintaining a hybrid vehicle and keeping it running its best.

Page One: Initial Impressions, Insider's View and Fuel-ability

Photos from the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid test drive and review

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