Honda Civic Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

Late last week, we heard that Honda was updating the software in all 2006 through 2008 Civic Hybrids sold in the U.S. to prevent the batteries from wearing out sooner than expected. At the time, Honda spokeswoman Christine Ra told Bloomberg that the fix would not impact the car's fuel economy or performance. But is this the case?

According to a new Bloomberg report, the software update may indeed hurt gas mileage and acceleration; one driver said the update "made the car sluggish and slashed the vehicle's gas mileage." That driver claimed his car went from 45 miles per gallon to 33 after two of Honda's software updates, one last year and one several weeks ago. The 2008 Civic Hybrid is rated at 40/45 mpg (city highway), while the standard five-speed automatic 2008 Civic gets 25/36.

Honda is sticking to its guns. Honda spokesman Chris Martin told Bloomberg, "This is not just to prolong the life of the battery, it also helps improve the performance." The story is nowhere near over, as the California Air Resources Board is looking into whether the update increases vehicle emissions and thousands of other drivers get their software updates. Bloomberg notes that not everyone is reporting mpg decreases – some are even reporting increases – so the final word here has not yet been written.

[Source: LA Times]

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