Comparing Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid
To gain more insight to the operational efficiency of hybrid cars,
lets compare two relatively equal hybrid car models Toyota Prius
and Honda Civic Hybrid.
Driving any full hybrid can seem a bit strange at first - the no
noise at intersections is common to those driving high luxury cars,
but more most it is a little disconcerting at first. When you move
off, the silence continues, until the speed demands the transfer
from electric back to petrol engine.
Once you get used to this change in driving feel and sound, driving
the Prius is pretty much like driving any other modern automatic
The futuristic appearance of the Toyota Prius drives one to expect
a few space-age features inside. And you won't be dissappointed.
For a start, there is no standard key.
Instead, the Prius is started by inserting a remote control into
a slot on the dash and pressing a power button. If the battery is
well charged, the car will start on electric power. If it is cold
or the battery is low, the engine will start. Select 'Drive' and
the car glides forward, accelerating up to around 45 km/h before
it needs the petrol engine.
The power management is visible on the dash video screen.
The Honda approach is more conservative, using a normal key and
starting on the petrol engine every time. The only visible difference
between a standard Honda Civic and a Honda Civic Hybrid is the dash
Like the Prius, the Civic engine stop at the lights and seamlessly
starts when you accelerate to go.
When travelling downhill and when braking, you will notice a distinct
change in noise level, with the car now running on only one cylinder
and the electric motor has switched to generating mode to charge
In terms of drivability, the main difference in feel is more likely
due to the tyres than anything else. The Honda rides better on normal
tyres, while the Prius has special energy-saving low profile tyres,
which do seem to ride a lot harder, noticing every bump and ripple
in the road.
Power Management - Both systems use the electric
and petrol motors together during higher power demands, for acceleration
or climbing hills. At low power, the differences appear - the Honda
Civic electric motor assists the petrol motor to keep fuel consumption
down, while the Toyota Prius can run on the electric motor alone
if the car is moving slowly.
Power Generation - both cars have an electric
motor powered by a battery, harvesting energy during braking. The
Toyota system turns off the petrol engine during low power conditions.
Honda keeps the engine running on only one cyclinder. Both cars
turn off the petrol engine when you stop at the lights.
Both cars perform well in fuel consumption during combined city/highway
- Prius - 4.4 litres per 100km.
- Civic - 5.2 litres per 100km.
Comparing this fuel economy siize-wise, the Toyota Prius compares
to the Toyota Camry [that uses 8.8 litres per 100km].
The most economical non-hybrid Honda Civic sedan, the 1.7-litre
Vti-S manual, uses 7.1 litres per 100km.
NOTE: this economy test cycle does not directly relate to conditions
in the real world. Expect consumption to be a litre or so higher,
especially in town driving conditions.
The Civic Hybrid is classified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle
(ULEV) in the USA.
The Prius is classified as Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV)
status. One better, and as close as is possible to zero emmissions.
Both emit less greenhouse gas than standard petrol cars. Cars emit
carbon dioxide, directly related to the amount of fuel used.
An Australian study found the Prius showed a 66 percent reduction
in carbon dioxide emissions.
- The Prius rated 8.5/10 for greenhouse emissions
- The Civic Hybrid at 8/10
A typical family car, the Holden Commodore Executive rates 4.5
out of ten.
Both Toyota and Honda use NIMH technology and offer eight-year
warranties on their batteries, with a kilometre limit. There are
no heavy metals, so battery disposal is not a significant issue.
Recycling technology is developing.
The Toyota Battery has a design life of 15 years, and is more expensive
to replace than the Honda Civic., and with increasing use of NIMH
technology recycling may become economic by the time these cars
need their first replacement battery
Both Honda and Toyota have rated well in reliability surveys. The
engines in both cars are sourced from other models, with modifications
to improve efficiency in a hybrid application.
The CVT-type transmission used by both vehicles is becoming increasingly
popular with other makers.
Both manufacturers have been producing hybrids for several years,
making 2007 models second generation.
Both the Toyota and Honda hybrid are reliable, efficient, smooth
operating cars. With the Honda proving a more comfortable ride,
the Prius takes over in internal style and onboard technology. The
more conventional Honda is cheaper, but if you like to be on the
cutting edge of technology and like the futuristic, more efficient,
sporting style of Pius, then thats the one for you.
Next: Best Green Car
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Cars 2007 | Comparing Hybrid Cars
| Toyota Prius vs.
Honda Civic Hybrid | Best Green Cars