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Old 02-26-2011, 05:06 PM   #1
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Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

As a college kid, I got my hands on an Acura RSX type s and it's been a great car. Now that I'm a productive member of the workforce and have a 70 mile round-trip commute daily, I'm interested in an even more economical vehicle.

I'm open to ideas, but mostly interested in used Civic HX, Civic Hybrid, Prius, or Insight. Price range is from $3000-$6500.

All civic HX's I've seen have higher miles, 120k doesn't sound so bad to me as long as its been maintained well, but what about 175k? Is that too much of a risk, or if the price is right and the car checks out is it a worthwhile buy? Also which generation (6th or 7th) is preferred?

With all used hybrid's I worry about the battery, but have seen a few cars in my price range that have had batteries replaced recently. How much should I be worried about a battery going bad?

As far as practicality, I can't remember the last time I had someone ride in my backseat, so the insight is a valid option, although I keep going back and forth about this one. Any opinions on the insight vs all the other choices?

So given my price range, which car is best for me based on mpg, reliability and to some extent, practicality?
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:36 PM   #2
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

more info please...

i'm not convinced hybrids are THE choice for economic and monetary advantages(as 3 of your 4 choices are hybrids) unless you're the "average" lead foot consumer or you drive mostly in the city. it seems toyota and honda are the only brands on your list. if these are your "limits" don't forget that they both make super efficient vehicles outside the hybrid realm.

do you plan to maintain this vehicle yourself? if so, i'd skip the hybrids for sure. are you into hypermiling? or do you want a vehicle that will do it for you. that said, hypermiling a hybrid can yield sick FE.

your price range is quite wide. could you stay at the low end, get a gas engine, and give it TLC? mileage won't matter(to a degree) as long as the car is well maintained. maybe, you want to spend on the high end so you get to "plug and play" perhaps?

anyway, good luck in your search and welcome to GS. btw, don't be in a rush, sometimes that sweet deal falls in your lap unexpectedly.
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Old 02-26-2011, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

I absolutely agree that hybrids are not necessarily the way to go. The Civic HX seemed like a great one; is there anything out there comparable? I know the older VX's were great for FE but seems hard to come by one in decent shape. I'm a fan of honda, but I'm definitely open to other brands.

I'm definitely planning to maintain the vehicle myself, but never really thought about how different maintenance on a hybrid could be. Is it really that much more difficult?

I'm interested in hypermiling, but have just played around with it a bit, so I'm not sure how much of it I'll be doing.

As for my price range, the original plan was to stick to the low end with a gas engine and TLC, but the potential of sick FE with an insight has caused me to consider somewhat higher priced hybrids. I love the idea of the insight, but question it's practicality for me. The other hybrids only seem to have marginally better FE compared to the Civic HX, so I'm not sure I really want to pay more for one that is more difficult to maintain.

On another note, I read a bit about converting a hybrid to a plug-in hybrid, but it seemed this was generally for prius, and it was limited to 35mph for electric only mode. Is there any hope of this improving FE with this for my commute which is mostly at 55-60mph? I assume this conversion isn't cheap; but could I save some bucks by doing the conversion myself so that it would make economical sense?

I'll keep my eyes peeled for that sweet deal; thanks for the help!
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:01 AM   #4
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

considering your commute, i'd strongly recommend against a hybrid--if nothing else just for cost per mile considering purchase price. and maintenance? you(and i) obviously don't know much about them so...anyway, here's a thread about other possible vehicles...http://www.gassavers.org/showthread....light=top+cars

be advised that the original poster does not like toyota. but, once again toyota and honda have many good choices in the FE regard. take a look at the top ten and see that our people here do pretty well w/out hybrids...http://www.gassavers.org/garage/topten

btw, i had a chevy prizm(4 door of course) that's a re-branded toyota corolla as you likely know, that got well over 40 mpg. and i recently bought a civic lx pretty cheap(well under your budget) that looks like will be over that as well.

i have no idea about plug in conversions.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:20 AM   #5
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

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Originally Posted by bmather9 View Post
for my commute which is mostly at 55-60mph?
A hybrid really isn't the best choice if your goal is to save money with a highway commute. Total cost of ownership for that kind of driving is almost certainly lower with a non-hybrid.
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:32 AM   #6
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

your rsx-s is rated at 28 mpg highway, under the new FE ratings not 31. That car is geared for performance, and the rpms at the highway is awful. if your commute is all highway, your better off getting a non hybrid. a hybrid shines in the city, and on the highway its still a little better than a normal gas car, but the cost difference does not makes sense if your trying to save money.

I drove a friends 06 corolla auto, i can get 47 mpg on that all highway going 67 mph, I used to have a 94 civic DX with the 1.5, i got about 45 mpg going 67 mph, if i had a cx/vx tranny maybe it would of gotten even better highway fe.

Try looking at a toyota echo, corolla, civic, they will not disappoint you. a 03 accord 4 cylinder would get abot 40 highway with the auto, i tried that also.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:56 AM   #7
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

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I'm definitely planning to maintain the vehicle myself, but never really thought about how different maintenance on a hybrid could be. Is it really that much more difficult?
This is from a 2nd gen Prius perspective, maintenance is really not much different. Motor oil, transmission oil, and coolants aren't any different, with only the inverter coolant being a little tricky to get all the air out on the refill.

Brake flushes aren't possible without the Toyota diagnostic tool, but that may be true of most newer ABS systems. The rest of the brakes are just like a regular car. Except the regenerative braking system extends the life of the shoes and pads. Hybrids going over a 100k on the original ones isn't unheard of. Which does mean it's important to check the pins and other parts for proper greasing.

The motors and alternator shouldn't need any maintenance. Same for the battery. A PZEV hybrid, in a CARB state, has a 10 year warranty. I don't know how it works with replacement batteries, but there are some gen 1 prii that have gone 300k with the original. Oh, and all the high voltage cables are bright orange, and mostly hard to reach without trying to get to them.

The earlier Hondas were a bit more abusive of the battery, or more correctly didn't provide enough protection from drivers drawing too much on it. That in consideration, the federal, manual Insight should easily pull 70mpg on that commute with some basic hypermiling techniques.

Don't discount any Honda hybrid just yet either. The higher city mpg is the nature of Ford on Toyota hybrid systems. Honda's follow the usual higher highway number of regular cars. They may be close to regular cars in numbers, but in my limited Prius experience, hybrids make hypermiling easy.

Even without making total use of the EV mode, a plug-in conversion will give an improvement to fuel economy. You'll have a buffer on non gasoline derived electricity for the car to make use of. A gain should be possible with just enlarging the pack without the plug.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:30 PM   #8
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

my 84 honda crx with a 1.3 is epa rated at 50+ mpg. it has 130 thousand miles. I paid 1700 for it,. The new honda hybrid also has a 1.3 , plus an electric motor, and a bunch of batteries, and is rated at 48 mpg. I would think that after 28 years, honda could drop the electric, and still get over 50 mpg. I don't know what the new hybrid costs, but I will stick with the crx.
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:39 AM   #9
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Re: Civic HX vs Civic Hybrid vs Prius vs Insight

Under the the new testing your CRX is rated 38/47 and 41 combined. That is still close to the current Civic and Insight hybrids, but only seats two and has far fewer safety features.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:17 PM   #10
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Prius Gen II will save you 300 gal/y on fuel

That's compare to 28 mpg, assuming Prius Gen II (2004 - 2008) is 45 mpg, from Fuelly.com, and you drive 22.5K/Y.

I drive 27K/Y. For past 3.7 years, my maintenance cost was $1100 in total, including oil, 12V battery, spark plug etc. excluding body work. I started from 104K and now at 206K. Bought the Prius for $8K in 2010. Fuel saving alone is about $6500 already, not to mention super low maintenance cost.

Ironically, the biggest part of my maintenance cost is oil. The 2004 Prius developed oil burning starting at 150K. Now it burns 1qt/800 mi. I am using Marvel Mystery Oil a month ago, looks like it's getting better a little bit. But the worst situation is to get a 70K mile used engine for $500, ask my mechanics to install for $500. That's it! And I will get a 206K car with 70K mile engine on it, even newer than I bought it.

Go with Prius. Take care of it. The more you learn, the more you will like it.
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