The futuristic design in the Civic Hybrid was pretty impressive to me. The Civic Hybrid's interior features beige treatment that certainly adds a nice touch to the overall appearance.
If you compare the two vehicles on features alone, then the Toyota Prius i-Tech would totally dominate the competition. The official capacity of the Toyota Pirus i-Tech is 456 liters, and the capacity of the Honda Civic Hybrid is set at 376 liters. Both cars have your basic alloy wheels. The Honda Civic Hybrid is the cheapest way to become eco-friendly with a starting price set at $31,990, which oddly enough is the same price as the Honda Civic Sport.
When you compare the two by features, the Honda Civic Hybrid undoubtedly takes second place to the Toyota Prius i-Tech. However as a hidden incentive for the eco-lovers Honda has pledged to plant 18 trees for every Civic Hybrid sold.
Many are skeptical about the technology involved with Hybrids and because it isn't common yet, many just brush it off as small trend. Although they aren't often seen cruising around town, I believe this type of car is here to stay and will only be improved over time. As years pass you will be sure to see more and more of them, and eventually they may even become the norm since pollution problems are escalating at an alarming rate.
In Australia there is an extremely small market for eco-friendly cars unfortunately. In fact, there are only two well known cars that are having success in this market. They are the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. They both certainly have their upsides and downfalls and when it comes down to economic fuel efficiency there is a clear cut winner. In this article, I will compare the Toyota Prius i-Tech against the Honda Civic Hybrid to see which one of these cars will come out victorious.
First off, we will discuss the interior of the vehicles. The futuristic design in the Civic Hybrid was pretty impressive to me. I like the fact that Honda wanted to take a chance and not follow the norm. One thing that Honda did maintain during design is the shape. It is the same shape as all the other Civic models, but I don't see this as a bad thing. The Civic Hybrid's interior features beige treatment that certainly adds a nice touch to the overall appearance.
Comparing the amount of space in the vehicles comes out about even in my opinion. Neither of the two are short on space and can both fit four adults in the car with ease, with no problems. The trunks are a tad short on room but this is only because that is where they both store the battery packs for the vehicles. The Toyota Prius can thank the flat battery pack that lies beneath the floor of the trunk for giving it 80 more liters of space than the Civic hybrid. The official capacity of the Toyota Pirus i-Tech is 456 liters, and the capacity of the Honda Civic Hybrid is set at 376 liters.
Now we can take a look at the Toyota Prius' interior. After seeing how impressive the Civic's interior was I was hoping to see a decent competition take off. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In comparison the Toyota Prius just couldn't compete due to its very simplistic design. The gauges and controls are either restricted to the steering wheel or confined to the touch screen LCD monitor. One thing I found rather interesting though, is that they didn't limit the steering wheel controls to audio, cruise control, and the telephone. In the Toyota Prius you are able to adjust the climate and demister controls as well, which I found to be rather remarkable. Before stepping foot in the Prius i-Tech I had never driven a vehicle that gave you the control over these features via the steering wheel. These extra features don't complicate the controls either. They are actually very easy to use and quite helpful when you are in busy traffic.
Another great feature of the Prius i-Tech is the keyless entry and keyless start system. All the driver has to do is walk up to the vehicle with the key fob in their hand or pocket, and grab the door handle. After doing this, the car simply unlocks it. Once you are inside the car all you have to do now is press the starter button from any location within the vehicle, and it starts right up. This feature was amazing to me. I enjoyed being able to just unlock my car without fumbling for the keys and starting it up in a less conventional way.
If you compare the two vehicles on features alone, then the Toyota Prius i-Tech would totally dominate the competition. On a downside though, the extra zing added by these features won't come very cheap. In fact, you will find yourself paying approximately $16,000 more than you would if you were to purchase a Honda Civic Hybrid. With a price that jumps that high from its competitors, the features on the car better be really extraordinary. Don't count the Prius out just yet though because of its price, it comes equipped with a remarkable center console LCD screen that is used to control the DVD satellite navigation. Along with managing that task the LCD screen also features a reverse camera and vehicle stats. One of the more innovative features is when the screen is showing live power statistics, which tell you how much energy you are using and how you are obtaining it. You can check the statistics to find out if you are using the engine, or electricity, or even both. I found that this feature was quite an amusing treat for me as well as informative.
Now we come down to the exterior appearance of the cars. As it did with the interior, the Honda Civic Hybrid once again wins when judged by its looks. With the eco-friendly appearance of the alloy wheels as well as the chrome highlights and hybrid badges, it was no question of why the Honda Civic claimed another victory. Toyota tried to go with something new when they designed the Prius i-Tech, but Honda stuck with the popular design of the past Civic models which gave it a nice edge on the competition. Toyota took a chance and I certainly commend them for doing so, but it unfortunately didn't work out in their favor. The one positive thing that came from the unique design of the Prius is that you know it's a hybrid car when you see it, and you are never fooled into thinking it is some other Toyota vehicle. However, the Civic Hybrid wasn't meant to deceive anyone, it was just based on the popular luxurious design on past Civics to help boost its success. Both cars have your basic alloy wheels. They look nice on both vehicles, but if you really put them side by side and look at both, you will most likely prefer the Honda to the Toyota.
Both of the vehicles are equipped with the Continually Variable Transmission (CVT), which is always a welcome feature to come across. The CVT system is used help the vehicle adjust to the driver's style.
For the Toyota Prius, you will find that the handling is much more laid back. There is an awful amount of body roll and the chassis certainly isn't up to par to that of the Honda Civic Hybrid. The steering seemed like it was a bit too power assisted for my taste. As the testing continued to move along it became apparent that the best place to drive the Prius would be in the city and not on windy or curvy roads.
The Civic Hybrid is normally ahead when it comes to taking corners and using general handling. Since it is based on the new Civic chassis there are plenty of opportunities to improve it, and continue developing it and perfecting the handling dynamics. The Civic doesn't feature any significant amounts of body roll, and is actually able to respond quickly and efficiently.
Now let's look at the prices and features and compare them. The Honda Civic Hybrid is the cheapest way to become eco-friendly with a starting price set at $31,990, which oddly enough is the same price as the Honda Civic Sport). The standard features than can be found in the Honda Civic Hybrid are as follows: cruise control, electric windows, driver and passenger side SRS airbags, alloy wheels, an immobilizer, climate control, central locking, leather wrapped steering wheel, driver and passenger front airbags, front and rear curtain airbags, Antilock Brake System (ABS) brakes, and a 6 disc changing MP3 compatible CD player.
However, the Toyota Prius i-Tech is starting at a price of $46,500, which is quite a bit more than the Civic Hybrid. The standard features that can be found on the Prius i-Tech are as follows: Power windows, climate control, dual front SRS airbags, MP3 compatible JBL audio system, Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), front fog lights, immobilizer, reverse warnings, push button start, Electric Power Steering (EPS), Antilock Brake System (ABS) brakes, Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), motor traction control, DVD satellite navigation system, cruise control, alloy wheels, and many more.
One of the things that I like the most about the Honda Civic Hybrid is that they participate in the Green Fleet program, which plants trees to counteract emissions that are put out from vehicles. Honda has pledged to plant 18 trees for every Civic Hybrid sold. As an added bonus, at the end of the three years you are given the opportunity to continue participating or stop participating in the program. You shouldn't let this affect your decision though. I am a huge fan of the program, but I still think drivers should base their purchases on a number of factors to ensure that they make the right decision.
When you compare the two by features, the Honda Civic Hybrid undoubtedly takes second place to the Toyota Prius i-Tech. The quality and number of the features drastically changes between the two cars. Whether or not the price is worth it is left up to you to decide.
In conclusion, it would be great to own either of these vehicles. If you can drive a fuel efficient and eco-friendly car, then what is there to lose? After driving the hybrids I can now answer that question. You don't have anything to lose and there is actually much to gain. You don't have to be a tree hugger to take part in the prevention of world pollution. And even if you are so worried about the environment, you can still at least enjoy the benefits of a much more fuel efficient breed of cars than any others on the market.