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Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Coupe
Old 06-19-2007, 11:35 PM   #1
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Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Coupe

Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Coupe


I started out looking for a Hybrid - Prius or Civic. In early May, prior to $3.00 gas they were easy to find - the Prius was being offered to me at $2,000 under MSRP with no wait, I put it off - a month later there was a 12 week wait for the Prius and it was full price. So, I guess $3 is the current pain threshold. The Toyota dealer said SUV people were coming in droves and were getting screwed on both ends of the deal - full price and a 3 month wait for the Prius and horrible trade-in value....When researching I had heard that the advertised mileage of the Prius was quite a bit higher than real world results. I also realize that I would not be saving that much money at the pump - I would only drive 10,000 miles a year...if I bought a Civic or the equivalent small car I would still get around 30 miles per gallon - hopefully better..that would be about 325 gallons a year while if I did manage to get 45-50 miles per gallon with the Prius - I would use 200-225...so the savings at $3 a gallon would be just $300-$400 a year. The Prius would have cost me $25,500 total. The Civic LX Coupe cost $18,500 out the door...that's a difference of $7,000...$7,000 to save $400 or so a year! The Civic is a an ULEV - ultra low emission vehicle - not as low as the Prius, but still pretty good. I like the coupe's look better than the Prius, so I think this is a good choice for saving gas, doing my bit for the environment, lessening reliance on OPEC....and enjoying the ride! I think we get caught up in manias and what the cool thing is and lose sight of what makes sense for our own particular circumstance, I almost did!
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:23 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by DanTien View Post
I think we get caught up in manias and what the cool thing is and lose sight of what makes sense for our own particular circumstance, I almost did!
The Honda is most cool, but the Prius can carry a 9'0" longboard on the inside. You're right, though, the Prius fuel-economy numbers are all over the map for driving style & climate (A/C & heat).

I don't know if there are as many hacker engineers boosting Honda battery packs and converting them to plug-ins, but they're easy to find for Prius conversions.
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:40 AM   #3
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The Honda is most cool, but the Prius can carry a 9'0" longboard on the inside. You're right, though, the Prius fuel-economy numbers are all over the map for driving style & climate (A/C & heat).

I don't know if there are as many hacker engineers boosting Honda battery packs and converting them to plug-ins, but they're easy to find for Prius conversions.
The honda hybrid was a no go when I learned the rear seats didn't fold down...golf clubs and push cart are my priority...but I can get everything in easily into the coupe..I'm waiting to see the 2009 Prius - rumor is they are shooting to break 100mpg!
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:24 AM   #4
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2009 Toyota Prius: Spy Report








Here's a good look at the next-generation Toyota Prius. The inside word from Japan is that the '09 version of the landmark hybrid will deliver both better fuel economy and more power. Engine size increases to 1.8 liters. New batteries and refinements to the Hybrid Synergy drive maybe even a solar panel on the roof and eventually plug-in capability could up city economy to 80 mpg. It may not look it, but the body will be all-new, growing 1 in. wider, but getting 1 in. shorter in overall length.
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Old 06-20-2007, 07:46 AM   #5
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Own a 2006 Prius. You mileage figures don't reflect my experience. I get 55-60mpg routinely on my commute, doing nothing special except driving conservatively and adding a few techniques easily mastered (e.g. pulse driving -- essentially coasting on and off around the desired speed).

Part of my good results is due to living in a warm, flat, humid environment which the car loves. Friend up in NJ gets around 50 mpg.

It holds a lot for a small car. It is very smooth given the variable transmission - no lurching as it changes gear. It requires minimal maintenance. Decent if not stellar fit and finish.

One of my favorite all-time vehicles.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:40 AM   #6
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When we bought a 2006 Civic, I looked into the hybrid. By my math using EPA numbers and our type driving, placed the pay back, if gas was $7/gal, at just when the batteries were due to be replaced.

We bought the middle model, Hybrid option is only on the high end model, add in the Hybrid cost and it just didn't make sense.

We have averaged 34mpg for the first 22,000 miles, Winter/Summer, City/Highway. Gets low 30s in Winter, mid 30s in Summer and low 40s on long trips. Replaced a small SUV that averaged around 15mpg. Had to go to the second Honda dealer to get a fair price on trade in. Was fun to walk in and tell them exactly what we wanted, no test drive needed (we had already done all that with the first dealer), all they had to do was make the price point, and I told them that. They came close on the first go around, small negotiation on some dealer add on options we wanted and it was close enough.

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Old 06-20-2007, 08:51 AM   #7
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The honda hybrid was a no go when I learned the rear seats didn't fold down...golf clubs and push cart are my priority...but I can get everything in easily into the coupe..I'm waiting to see the 2009 Prius - rumor is they are shooting to break 100mpg!
Those numbers are misleading. If the next generation of hybrids are plug-in hybrids that can do maybe 40-60 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in then miles per gallon is not the right metric. If you never went beyond the 40-60 mile range then the miles per gallon metric would be infinite.

My take on the Prius... It's a great car for most purposes in every category except safety. I wouldn't want to encounter a Giant SUV (eg. Excursion) in one of those.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:05 AM   #8
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Those numbers are misleading. If the next generation of hybrids are plug-in hybrids that can do maybe 40-60 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in then miles per gallon is not the right metric. If you never went beyond the 40-60 mile range then the miles per gallon metric would be infinite.
More than merely misleading, that would an offensively bogus way of calculating mileage...
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:13 AM   #9
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More than merely misleading, that would an offensively bogus way of calculating mileage...
Perhaps a better metric would be in average energy cost per mile. That would account for the cost of the electricity (as well as any gasoline used) to run the Prius about town and could be compared directly to other cars.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:23 AM   #10
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DW got the Civic coupe last fall after we crunched the numbers - the hybrid just didn't make the economic argument.

The civic's a great car - she's getting around 34mpg, & could do better if she would only heed my driving technique advice (won't happen ).
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:44 AM   #11
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Dan, I think you are correct, at 10,000 miles per year a Hybrid (today) does not make economic sense. But, they do emit less pollution, so that is a personal choice for some.

You mentioned people were trading in their SUVs at a loss. What's the math there? People get pretty emotional about things - maybe you could buy a used SUV and the discount would more than pay for the extra gas costs at 10,000 miles/year? Of course, all the 'greenies' will sneer at you as they drive by in their hybrids.

RE: Solar Panel on the roof of a Hybrid? May I be the first to say dumb idea? And probably bad for the environment.

How often will a car be positioned to take full advantage of the sun? Well, not only will it be in the shade at times, but they can't place the roof at the correct angle to the Sun (which would vary by location and compass position anyhow). Plus, the car has to carry that extra weight (and probably air drag) around. And, if you are in the Sun and the batteries are at near full charge, that energy would just get wasted. Doesn't make sense.

Remember, it takes a lot of energy to produce a solar panel. Estimates vary (of course!), but most of the numbers I see are in the 1 to 4 year range before the panel generates enough electricity to overcome the energy required to produce it in the first place. That assumes it is mounted properly. On a car, with all the negatives I mentioned, it might take 10 years to payback it's energy content.

Much better to put the limited number of solar panels that are being produced in an optimal location, and let them feed their energy into the grid where it can always be fully utilized.


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Old 06-20-2007, 09:44 AM   #12
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I don't know if there are as many hacker engineers boosting Honda battery packs and converting them to plug-ins, but they're easy to find for Prius conversions.
Why and what for? I can understand engineers' obsession of hacking for the sake of, well, hacking. But it makes no sense at all from the financial/economy point of view. Even for someone like yourself, who has an abundant source of "free" solar electricity. It's not really free since you have some investment capital (however low) to recoup. I have the feeling that once you calculated the true cost of conversion, cost of plug-ins recharging, the financial advantage would lean heavily on the non-modify Honda/Toyota hybrids. It makes even less sense for someone else to use the grid electricity to recharge the batteries.

The only advantage I can see in your case (solar energy) is the desire to minimize hydrocarbon comsumption and the satisfaction that comes with it. That's priceless.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:51 AM   #13
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My take on the Prius... It's a great car for most purposes in every category except safety. I wouldn't want to encounter a Giant SUV (eg. Excursion) in one of those.
My homework on that issue confirms the generic vulnerability of small cars v. large vehicles.

However, on issues like collision studies (consumer rept), standard electronic stability control, avoidance maneuvers and other issues besides hitting a cement truck at 65 mph, it faired pretty well (relatively speaking).

The newer models coming out sound pretty nice.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:52 AM   #14
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Toyota corolla, 2 grand less than the civic you can get a 2007 with everything you need for 16K Gets close to 40 mpg.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:53 AM   #15
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Dan, I think you are correct, at 10,000 miles per year a Hybrid (today) does not make economic sense.
To Quote Lee Iacocca...
People want economy and they will pay any price to get it.

People who buy a Prius are not saving any money but believe that they are saving the earth.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:55 AM   #16
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Toyota corolla, 2 grand less than the civic you can get a 2007 with everything you need for 16K Gets close to 40 mpg.
They run ads out here for $12400 Corollas equiped with automatic/air plus quite a few extras.
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:04 AM   #17
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I've crunched the numbers a bunch of times, but the hybrids still don't make sense to me. The dealers want a PREMIUM price for them, and I've heard battery pack replacement at 100,000 miles or so is about $3000. I for one did not buy a Honda to have a 100,000 service of $3000+.....if I wanted that, I would have kept my Chrysler..........
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:08 AM   #18
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The 2008 Chevy Suburbans and Tahoes will have a hybrid available, so they can get around 22-23 on the highway, instead of 17.........
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:18 AM   #19
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Remember, it takes a lot of energy to produce a solar panel. Estimates vary (of course!), but most of the numbers I see are in the 1 to 4 year range before the panel generates enough electricity to overcome the energy required to produce it in the first place.
I always wanted to know this. Do you have a link to good readable summary on this subject?
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Old 06-20-2007, 10:26 AM   #20
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Neighbor up the street has a prius and a civic hybrid. He prefers the prius.

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Perhaps a better metric would be in average energy cost per mile.
Right. I've been frustrated that the media doesn't understand this. They'll do a story on an electric car, but give no indication of miles per KWH. I realize that most people don't understand what a KWH is, but they could at least say "This car will cost you about 5 cents per mile for charging."
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