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#18

in Used Small Cars $14K and up

Avg. Price Paid: $18,520 - $19,934
Original MSRP: $24,360 - $27,060
MPG: 44 City / 44 Hwy
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2013 Honda Civic Hybrid Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Most reviewers are disappointed with the Honda Civic Hybrid's performance. While a few note that upgrades for 2013 mean that the hybrid now drives better than the 2012 model, most complain that the Civic Hybrid is still slow, with abrupt transitions between gasoline and electric power, and grabby brakes. Several reviewers point out that other cars in the class are more fun to drive and have similar fuel economy.

  • "Honda and Toyota have a drivability problem with its hybrids, the Civic and the Prius, and I'm not talking about the leisurely pace with which the cars go about their business -- that I expected. My biggest beef, yet again, is that the regenerative braking is just awful." -- AutoWeek
  • "Were it our money, we'd still check out nonhybrid, C-segment offerings like the Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, and Honda's own Civic HF. Besides being capable of returning mid-30-mpg fuel efficiency for less money, they are quicker and more fun to drive." -- Car and Driver
  • "Performance fun is virtually nil. …" -- The Chicago Tribune

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid has a four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor. Together, the two make 110 horsepower. The engine and electric motor are mated to a continuously variable transmission. The EPA estimates that the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid gets 44 mpg in both city and highway driving, which is good for a small car.

Reviewers are largely disappointed in the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid's powertrain. Few actually managed to get fuel economy that was close to the EPA estimates, and many complain that the transition between the gas and electric motors is jarring. Several also mention that the Civic Hybrid just feels slow.

See full 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid specs »

  • "Another problem I've had with other Civic Hybrids, and this one as well, is that the switching back and forth between gas and gas-and-battery power is anything but smooth, and that's just in normal driving. I'd be all over the Volkswagen Golf diesel offering just as good mileage and more utility." -- AutoWeek
  • "As mentioned, the Civic hybrid's primary mission is to conserve fossil fuel. So we shouldn't have been surprised when a geriatric piloting a Buick Lucerne-apparently unaware of our impromptu race-poignantly demonstrated this truth by smoking us from a stoplight." -- Car and Driver
  • "While we like the 44 mpg estimates in city and highway driving, the Toyota Prius is better at 51/48 city/higway mpg." -- The Chicago Tribune 

Handling and Braking

Honda updated many of the suspension and steering components on the 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid, and several reviewers say the changes make the Civic Hybrid a better-handling car than it was, though none call it fun to drive. Several reviewers call out the Honda Civic Hybrid's brakes for being grabby, unrefined and tough to modulate.

  • "Apply some brake pressure and nothing happens, apply some more and wham! It stops on a dime. Smooth stopping is nigh impossible on every Civic Hybrid and Prius I've driven, and this car is no exception. Brakes are way too grabby." -- AutoWeek
  • "Behind the revised look are slightly beefier springs, thicker anti-roll bars, and a stiffer front-end structure-all of which deliver subjectively better handling and body control over last year's car. Thanks to a quicker ratio and reduced friction in the rack, the electric power steering is more accurate, too." -- Car and Driver
  • "Ride is smooth and comfortable, though." -- The Chicago Tribune

Next Steps: 2013 Honda Civic Hybrid

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