Prius vs. Civic Hybrid Review


Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Hybrid Review


Are you trying to decide between the two highest MPG production cars sold in the USA? They are the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid Hybrid. This Web page will hopefully help you decide. The reviewer has road-tested both cars. The best features or specs in each category are highlighted in green.


1. Fuel/MPG.1

2. Price.1

3. Driving.1

4. Reliability.3

5. Engine3

6. Comfort3

7. Colors4


1.                Fuel/MPG

The new 2008 EPA ratings for these cars are below. Actual mileage will differ due to many reasons, for example running of heaters or air conditioning. It is best to use an accepted standard to compare, such as the US Government EPA rating. They are below (green showing winner). The Prius mileage varies by model (so a range is given):





Toyota Prius




Honda Civic Hybrid




Note that the EPA 'Actual Driver MPG' for the Prius averages 50.8, and the Civic averages 47.6 (the latter significantly higher than the EPA's own tests).


The bottom line is:

-         The Prius is optimized for city driving, so is significantly more efficient in mostly-city-driving situations

-         The Civic is optimized for highway driving, where it is much closer in MPG to the Prius (and nearly equal using the 'Actual Driver MPG' statistics)


There is a plug-in version of the Prius coming out by the end of 2012 which will dramatically improve MPG for commuters who have relatively short drives to work.  For more information, see:   

Toyota's Prius plug-in page

Autoblog article


2.                 Price

The prices for both vehicles are very competitive. The comparison of base model MSRP is as follows:



Toyota Prius


Honda Civic Hybrid



As typical with cars, added options, destination fees, and dealer markups can substantially increase the above prices. Difference


3.                  Driving

There are many aspects of usability, having both pluses and minuses. The table below summarizes the opinion of this reviewer:





Toyota Prius


Opt. Remote Engine Start, car can be set to open by proximity of key kept in pocket, and started via pushbutton

Drivers who have never driven a Prius may be confused on how to start it

Honda Civic Hybrid


Car starts just like a non-hybrid, by inserting and then turning an ignition key (familiar to all drivers)

If engine is started and there is a delay before driving the car, gas is wasted

Toyota Prius


Rear visibility is poor due to spoiler but partially compensated by opt. backup camera and opt. rear wiper

Front visibility is obscured by oversize dashboard; rear visibility is poor

Honda Civic Hybrid


Both front and rear visibility are acceptable


Toyota Prius


Shows instantaneous MPG, trip MPG, and regeneration (diagram)

Diagram can be distracting to the driver

Honda Civic Hybrid


Shows instantaneous MPG, trip MPG, and regeneration level


Toyota Prius

Nav System

Opt. satellite nav system w/color touch-screen and speech recognition


Honda Civic Hybrid


Opt. satellite nav system w/color touch-screen and speech recognition


Toyota Prius


Std. Antilock Brakes (ABS)
Std. Front and Side Airbags
Opt. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
Opt. Dynamic Radar Cruise Ctl (new 2010)
Opt. Pre-Collision System (2010)

Honda Civic Hybrid


Std. Antilock Brakes (ABS) w/Electronic Distrib.
Std. Dual-Stage Front and Side Airbags
Opt. Veh. Stability Assist (VSA, new in 2013)
Opt. Cruise Control
Opt. Fwd. Collision Warning (FCW, 2013)
Opt. Lane Departure Warning (LDW, 2013)


Toyota Prius

Rear-View Mirror

Opt. rear camera;
Opt. dimming rear view mirror w/compass;
Opt. Intelligent Parking (new 2010)

Honda Civic Hybrid


Opt. rear camera (new 2013)


Toyota Prius

Cruise Control
'Economy' button

Opt. cruise control
4 driving modes (2010)


Honda Civic Hybrid


Std. Cruise control


Toyota Prius


Opt. Anti-Theft system


Honda Civic Hybrid


Included Anti-Theft system



4.      Reliability

Regarding reliability of components, both Toyota and Honda have an excellent repair history. There are many new components involved in hybrids, and both of these models have not been out long enough to determine longevity of those components. Both use high quality NMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) drive batteries, along with charge controllers, which should make them last over 10 years. Here are the manufacturer warranties:


Overall Warranty

Drivetrain Warranty

Hybrid Battery Warranty

Toyota Prius

3 yrs / 36,000 mi

5 yrs / 60,000 mi

10 yrs / 150,000 mi *

Honda Civic Hybrid

3 yrs / 36,000 mi

7 yrs / 60,000 mi

10 yrs / 150,000 mi *

* Warranty is 10yr/150,000mi in CA, MA, NY, NJ, VT, CT, ME, NM and RI; all other states 8yr/100,000mi.


5.                Engine

Acceleration is slightly better for the Prius (0-60 in 10.1 sec for Prius, 12.4 for Civic), but the difference is not very noticeable, and both models are unremarkable compared to fully-gas-engine-driven sports cars.


The gasoline engine size on the 2009 Prius is 1.5L, increased to 1.8L for the 2010 model. The Civic's engine size is 1.3L. Both are 4-cylinder, and both contribute torque in combination with the electric motor(s).


Both models drive very smoothly. The Civic has a tighter suspension, which provides a closer feeling of the road (good) but more vibration and noise (bad). Which is preferred will depend upon the driver.


Turning radius is almost identical (34.1 for Prius, 34.8 for Civic). Both transmissions are continuously variable, thus there are no 'clanks' from shifting. The Prius transmission has planetary gears, vs the Civic is belt-driven (which may not last as long).


6.                 Comfort

The Prius has a luggage volume of 16 to 67 square feet depending upon the model. The Civic has a luggage volume of 11 square feet. However the Prius is a hatchback, so the volume is measured with the rear seat folded down.

Both cars can seat up to 5 passengers. Comfort aspects are largely a matter of personal opinion; these are mine:





Toyota Prius


Seat is comfortable and adjusts forward/backward and tilt;
Opt. heated front seat or leather-trim;
Rear seat has 60/40 split fold down

No lumbar or up/down adjustment

Honda Civic Hybrid


Seat is comfortable and adjusts forward/backward, tilt, and up/down

no lumbar adjustment; Rear seat does not fold down

Toyota Prius


Opt. Moonroof with solar charger to ventilate parked car (2010)


Honda Civic Hybrid




Toyota Prius

Steering Wheel

Steering wheel is adjustable

Center console hits elbow for tall people

Honda Civic Hybrid


Steering wheel is adjustable; adequate space in driver seat on all sides


Toyota Prius


Std. AM/FM/CD 6-spkr w/MP3 jack; Opt. JBL AM/FM 9-spkr 6-disc CD changer w/XM or Sirius satellite radio (w/subscrip), MP3 jack, Bluetooth

Has dials for radio, but climate controls are all thru touch console

Honda Civic Hybrid


Std. AM/FM/CD 6-spkr with 18 Preset Scan channels and MP3 jack, XM satellite radio (w/subscrip), Bluetooth



7.                Colors

Both the Toyota Prius and Civic Hybrid have a limited number of body colors available, due to their limited production. Here they are:

Toyota Prius

Super White (mdls 1/2/3/C)

Moonglow (mdls 1/2/3/4/C)

Blizzard Pearl (mdls 5/P/V)

Classic Silver Metallic (all mdls)

Black (mdls 1/2/3/4/C)

Barcelona Red Metallic (mdls 5/V)

Sea Glass Pearl (mdls 5/P/V)

Nautical Blue Metallic (mdl 5)

Winter Grey Metallic (mdls 5/P)

Magnetic Grey Metallic (mdls 1/2/3/4/C/V)

Absolutely Red (mdls 1/2/3/C)

Habanero (mdls 1/2/3/C)

Summer Rain Metallic (mdls 1/2/3/4/C)

Blue Streak Metallic (mdls 1/2/3/4/C)

Honda Civic Hybrid

Alabaster Silver Metallic

Galaxy Gray Metallic

Crystal Black Pearl

Green Opal Metallic

Polished Metal Metallic

Urban Titanium Metallic

White Orchid Pearl



Another determinant is body style. The Toyota has an unusual exterior style that does not resemble other cars on the road; the Honda has a more conventional appearance. The choice is up to individual taste.



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