Reader Review of the Week

This week our winner was an easy choice. In the history of our award-less award we haven’t found a more thorough review than Chance of Indiana’s take of the 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid. The really cool thing about Chance’s report is that he had a 2003 Civic Hybrid and details the difference in the two models in a number of criteria and he does so in an exact manner. You can read Chance’s full review below and if you want to write a review of your own car you can go here.

"I've had my new 2007 Civic Hybrid for 2 weeks. Here are my first impressions.

Background: My previous car was a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid automatic.
Age: 4.5 years, 60K miles.
Total average mpg: 43.5.
Living area: Indiana (moderately cold winters, moderately hot/humid summers.)
Driving: 60% city, 40% highway. Driving style: conservative.

Compared to the previous Hybrid, the new 2007/2006 model offers these changes:

  • 1. Front and side view is slightly better. Rear view is slightly worse. (I don't think they can make that rear window any smaller). It has more airbags for side impact.
  • 2. More taut handling than before. (Or perhaps my 2003 was aging). Seems to handle "rippled road" defects somewhat better (where the older model could be punishing to front seat occupants).
  • 3. Automatic has better acceleration. I never test drove the 2003 manual 5-speed, but this is no longer offered.
  • 4. Seems to get somewhat better high-speed, high-wind (70mph) fuel economy. The 2003 model loses out in aerodynamics to the new model.
  • 5. Positive instrumentation changes: Pure digital readout of speed, supports mph and kph, produces more information (e.g. explicit readout for oil replacement).
  • 6. Negative instrumentation changes: Older model had explicit rotary settings for types of ventilation, while the new model uses a single "mode select" button with a screen display. The new approach requires taking your eyes off the road, whereas the older one allowed you to "set by touch."
  • 7. The fuel-economy (mpg) readout tends to report a little low (by about 4%), whereas my older 2003 model tended to read notably too high (by about 8%). I do appreciate that the new car reports .1 mpg increments, whereas the older one only reported .4 mpg increments.
  • 8. The tank on the new car is smaller (12.3 gal vs 13.2 gal), which cuts down a bit on the overall cruising range of the new Hybrid. This may not seem like an issue for the moment, but when the "late 1970s gas lines" return later this decade, losing the extra gallon means we'll be stuck waiting for gas more often... but not nearly as often as the SUV owners !
  • 9. Having only filled the tank twice, it is really premature to report on the fuel economy of the 2007 Hybrid vs the 2003. But I was pleasantly surprised by the new numbers."

Honda Car Reviews Hybrids/Alternative Fuels Reader Review of the Week

Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David