2008 Civic Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Honda Civic holds its position at the top of this highly competitive class, with innovative styling, segment-leading refinement, and a broad model line that ranges from eco-friendly to sport-compact racy.
The Civic is comfortable and affords the driver outstanding outward visibility. It comes standard with side-impact airbags and other safety features that are optional on competitive models.
The 2008 lineup includes a new leather-upholstered EX-L model and a hot Mugen Si sedan, with high-performance suspension, forged aluminum wheels, aerodynamic body styling, and a sport-tuned exhaust.
Civic was last restyled and reengineered for 2006, and the sporty Si coupe was reintroduced at the same time. An Si sedan joined the lineup for 2007, sharing the 197-horsepower engine, six-speed manual transmission, four-wheel-disc brakes, and supportive sport seats. Both Si models come with an electronic stability program for added control in emergency maneuvers.
The Honda Civic Hybrid sedan is powered by a 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine coupled with a permanent magnet electric motor and a continuously variable transmission. The Hybrid features dramatically reduced emissions, and it delivers an EPA-rated 40/45 mpg City/Highway, second only to the Toyota Prius.
A natural gas-powered Civic, the GX sedan, is available to residents of California and New York, but can also be found in fleets there and elsewhere.
The 2008 Honda Civic is available in coupe and sedan versions. The DX, LX, and EX models share a 140-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a standard five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic ($800) is optional.
The Honda Civic DX coupe ($14,810) and sedan ($15,010) are the base models. Standard equipment is confined to power windows, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat and fold-down rear seatback. The coupe gets a rear decklid spoiler. Buyers wanting a radio must supply their own or order from the dealer, but a rear window-integrated radio antenna is standard. Brakes are disc in front, drum in rear. P195/65R15 tires wrap around steel wheels with full-cover hubcaps.
The Civic LX coupe ($16,760) and sedan ($16,960) add air conditioning; cruise control with steering-wheel-mounted controls; power door locks with keyless entry; center console with sliding armrest; overhead map lights; and express up/down for the driver's power window; P205/55R16 tires on steel wheels with covers. The sedan gets a four-speaker, 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio with MP3/WMA capability and auxiliary input jack. The coupe has six speakers and a rear-seat walk-in feature that remembers the front passenger seat's setting.
The Civic EX coupe and sedan ($18,710) add power moonroof; variable-speed windshield wipers; a second 12-volt power outlet; a 60/40 split folding rear seatback; and outside temperature indicator. The keyless remote adds a trunk release button. The EX is upgraded with four-wheel disc brakes, alloy wheels, and a seven-speaker, 350-watt, XM-ready premium stereo with steering wheel-mounted controls.
The Civic EX-L ($19,910) adds heated leather seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel and armrest, and heated mirrors.
Options are positioned as separate models, for example the EX coupe with manual transmission, XM Satellite Radio, and voice-recognition Navigation ($20,460); and the EX-L sedan automatic with XM and Navigation ($22,460).
The Si coupe ($21,110) and Si sedan ($21,310) are performance models, powered by a 197-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. They come only with a six-speed manual transmission. Other go-fast goodies include a limited-slip differential, sport suspension, electronic vehicle stability assist system with traction control, and P215/45R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside are synthetic suede sport seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; 350-watt stereo. Packages include high-performance P215/45ZR17 tires for the coupe ($21,310) and sedan ($21,510); XM and navigation ($22,860 and $23,060); or with all of the above ($23,060 and $23,260).
New for 2008 is the Mugen Si Sedan ($29,500), which includes sports suspension, forged aluminum 18-inch lightweight alloy wheels, a full aerodynamic body kit with an adjustable rear wing and diffuser, and a sport-tuned exhaust.
The Civic Hybrid sedan ($22,600) features a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), automatic climate control, a roof-mounted radio antenna, a rear decklid spoiler, and hybrid-pertinent digital data displays. The Hybrid is also available with the navigation system and XM Satellite Radio ($24,350).
The Civic GX ($24,590) is essentially an LX sedan with a 1.8-liter engine powered by natural gas. It comes only with a five-speed manual transmission. It comes with an auxiliary audio input jack for 2008.