The EcoCivics The 2012 Honda Civic HF Civic Hybrid and Civic …

6 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи The EcoCivics The 2012 Honda Civic HF Civic Hybrid and Civic … отключены
Honda Civic Hybrid (3rd gen)

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The Honda Civic Natural Gas goes on sale later in the year so there wasn’t one available to drive at the press launch. For the 2012 model year, however, this vehicle will for the first time be available with luxuries like in-dash navigation (with directions to your nearest filling station), Bluetooth and USB/iPod integration. In other words, it won’t be just for fleet buyers anymore.

Now, if you are going to scream about the fact that the regular Civic “only” returns EPA highway estimates of 39 miles per gallon when the Elantra returns 40, please know that there is a Civic model just for you. The HF, while it will probably only account for maybe 2-3 percent of sales, offers buyers EPA estimates of 41 miles per gallon highway thanks to different tires and various aerodynamic upgrades.

But to be quite honest it has been my repeated personal experience that EPA fuel economy estimates are very rarely accurate and can vary widely based on where you live and how you drive your own vehicle. That is why as I am testing the 2011 Elantra and Corolla (I tested the Cruze and Jetta earlier this year) for weeklong periods to get an idea of how they perform efficiency wise in the real world.

Now I realize this is crazy but gas prices are becoming so important that many people may be forced to buy one of these vehicles not by choice but out of necessity. So this year I hope to cram in as many new Civic weeklong road tests so I can get a fuel economy data base that is perhaps more realistic. Or at the very least repeatable in the real world.

Yes, from the Si to the EX to HF to Hybrid and even with a natural gas powered model thrown in, I may go into Civic overload but I think this is an ever more important test figure. We’ll just have to see how receptive Honda is to my request for half of their press fleet.

Now, if saving money on gas or saving the environment is important to you, here is all of the most pertinent information on the 2012 Honda Civic HF, Civic Hybrid and Civic Natural Gas.

2012 Honda Civic HF

The HF model of the 2012 Honda Civic comes standard with a 5-speed automatic in a trim level that mirrors that of the LX but with special aerodynamically enhanced alloy wheels, low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic enhancements as mentioned before. The 1.8 liter 4-cylinder engine puts out the same 140 horsepower/128 lb. feet of torque as in regular Civics and sort of proves by its very existence that EPA fuel economy figures can be manipulated.

During a short drive loop at the press launch the HF handled a slalom course in a manner much like any of the other EX or LX variants except with a little bit more tire howl during high speed cornering maneuvers. But if you are buying a Civic HF I assume high speed cornering behavior is not high on your list of priorities. Given this model’s high value to feature ratio and the possibility of greater fuel economy in a time of escalating gas prices, Honda may find there is more demand for the HF than they are expecting.

(Prices)—Civic HF

5-Speed Automatic

$19,455

2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas

As the Civic is not a bespoke platform for this natural gas powered sedan, its gas tank will still be somewhat smaller thanks to the intrusion of the enlarged fuel tank. But as far as low cost commuting goes, the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas makes perfect sense. It is powered by a 1.8 liter 100 horsepower/106 lb. feet of torque 4-cylinder mated to a 5-speed automatic and returns EPA estimates equivalent to 27 city/38 highway.

So what are the benefits of this particular Civic model in comparison to its petrol powered brethren? Well, natural gas is often times cheaper than gasoline (especially now but it depends where you live) and many states allow vehicles like this to travel in HOV Carpool lanes with only one passenger. That one fact in and of itself might make this car the perfect long distance commuting accessory. (Note: Pricing not available at time of test publication.)

2012 Honda Civic Hybrid

Yes, for the first time ever Honda is using lithium-ion batteries in one of its hybrid models instead of the usual nickel-hydride batteries used in the last generation Civic and current Toyota Prius. This new battery pack is more powerful, lighter and more compact than the unit it replaces. With the gasoline and electric motor working together power output is 110 horsepower/127 lb. feet of torque with a greater emphasis put on mid-range torque to improve performance at city speeds.

In the place of last year’s 1.3 liter gasoline engine is a new 1.5 cylinder unit with an aluminum cylinder head block and dual stage i-VTEC valve control for improved performance at highway speeds. There is also a stop/start system that shuts off the engine at stop lights and EPA fuel economy estimates are 44 city/44 highway.

While I am guessing the Civic Hybrid averages somewhere closer to 44 miles per gallon, during a “hypermiling” contest at the press launch one journalist averaged a healthy 59 miles per gallon. I, however, was too busy being distracted by driving the Si around the autocross to remember to participate in the driving slow challenge. I would actually prefer to drive the Hybrid in real world conditions where the fuel efficiency is more representative of what average folks will see.

Honda Civic Hybrid (3rd gen)

I believe that when people are in a car they should have an intended destination and drive accordingly. This is how I drive every car I test so once I get a chance to test the new 2012 Civic Hybrid for a week it will be interesting to see how it performs in the fuel economy stakes with me in control of the accelerator pedal.

As an example, my road test in a 2010 Prius returned 43.2 miles per gallon which is quite a bit south of their estimates. Also, a lot of that was freeway driving over a short freeway period because the Prius broke down 4 days into the test. Let’s hope that the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid doesn’t suffer from any such ill-timed maladies.

But even in my time with the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid, that was one of the few times that my EPA estimates were somewhere close to accurate barring my experience with VW’s TDI diesel which has always exceeded EPA fuelled expectations. So while diesel and Honda’s own hydrogen style of personal transport may be fading out in the coming decades, it appears that the hybrid is here to stay.

(Prices)—Civic Hybrid

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

$24,050


Civic Hybrid with Navigation

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

$25,550

Civic Hybrid Sedan with Leather

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

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