You might have got the idea from the name that it is the hybrid powertrain version of the Honda Civic. The Honda Civic Hybrid was first launched in 2001 and is available with both continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and a five-speed manual transmission. It also features the Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system first introduced in Honda Insight. Currently, it is only available as sedan; however, company has the plan to replace it with hatchback version in Europe by 2012.
In 2002, the first Honda Civic Hybrid introduced in US that was based on the seventh generation Honda Civic. Similar to the standard Civic, hybrid version also got some styling updates for 2004 model. The second generation hybrid version which based on eighth generation Civic, received some styling differences between the local Japanese version and American version.
First Generation (2001–2005)
The first generation Honda Civic hybrid was claimed to be the most fuel efficient 5-passeneger gasoline-powered production car by Honda. It was launched in 2001 in local markets followed by its debut in US in 2002 as a 2003 model. California’s Air Resources Board certified the Honda Civic Hybrid as the first Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV).
After the Insight, Civic Hybrid became the second hybrid vehicle in the company’s lineup that was powered with a gasoline-electric hybrid system. Based on EPA fuel mileage estimates, the version having manual transmission was rated 46 mpg in city and 51 mpg on highway which is almost the same as that of Toyota Prius.
As far as motor is concerned, it is slightly on thicker side than the one found in Insight and is inserted between the gasoline engine and the transmission. The motor also operates like a generator so as to recharge the nickel-metal hydride battery.
It is estimated that Civic Hybrid is 40% more fuel efficient than its standard gasoline version.
Second Generation (2005–2011)
The second generation hybrid version is based on eighth generation Civic, received some styling differences between the local Japanese version and American version.
If we talk about the design of the second generation Civic hybrid, it receives the same powertrain as that of first generation Civic hybrid.
Compared to 2006 Civic sedan with automatic transmission, the second generation Civic Hybrid offers a considerable increase in fuel efficiency as it offers 63% fuel economy in city while 27% fuel economy while driving on highway.
Third Generation (2011- )
The third generation Civic Hybrid powered by a larger 1.5L i-VTEC engine and a lithium-ion battery is expected to make its debut in spring 2011 in USA and Canada. This hybrid car is assumed to offer 45 mpg-US (5.2 L/100 km) in combined EPA city and on highway driving cycle, an improvement of 4 mpg-US (59 L/100 km).
The third generation hybrid car will receive some improved aerodynamics along with Honda ECO Assist technology. This technology helps the driver to acquire more fuel efficient driving style.
The hatchback version of Civic Hybrid will make a debut somewhere at the end of 2011 or early 2012.