Though its miles per gallon rating rings in at 44/44/44 (that's city/highway/combined), the all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is no match for the third-generation, 51/48/50 mpg Toyota Prius that debuted as a 2010 model year vehicle. Sure, the 2012 Civic Hybrid is more fuel-efficient than its predecessor, but it doesn't trump the Prius, and that's a shame considering that the new Honda hybrid now packs a sophisticated lithium-ion battery pack and a reworked electric motor that's more powerful than the old unit.
So far, sales of the 2012 Civic Hybrid have been rather sluggish ( Honda reports that sales hit 389 through the end of May). That's due in part to the vehicle's limited availability because of quake-related supply issues. However, with a sticker price that starts at $24,800, the 2012 Civic Hybrid is $1,920 more than a base Prius, which begs the question: can Honda's costlier hybrid – one that's not even as fuel efficient as the Toyota Prius – actually compete?