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Old 08-05-2015, 01:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Long time VX guy bought an 05 Civic Hybrid manual

Hello.

I never really posted on here but I've been on this site for quite a long time now. Been daily'ing a 92 Civic VX for almost 5 years now. Recently upgraded (or downgraded) to an 05 Civic hybrid manual.

Over the last 5 years and 100,000 miles, I've gotten as high as 64.1 mpg in the VX, and averaged around 45-49 mpg in the summer, 37-44 in the winter. Also, the car gets 30-35 mpg in the summer with the a/c on. No real mods, just keep it on the factory wheels in the summer and I ran 13x5.5 crx wheels with snow tires in the winter. She has 277k miles now, and is getting quite rusty unfortunately.

Just picked the Hybrid up. 1st impressions: Seem to be getting about 45-46 mpg with just mild hypermiling, with or without a/c. So the comfort level is nice as I don't have to suffer without my air on a hot day. Downfall is I don't think there's any way to come close to the VX's roadtrip mpg. But the creature comforts of the new car are much better. Plus it's rust free, came with two sets of wheels/tires, and a new IMA battery (not installed yet, the original still works fine).

I miss the highway mpg, the versatility of the hatchback, and the power of the VX (lol) already. Other than those things, the 05 is a much more superior car to be in. I still haven't sold the VX as it's been a great car so I'm reserving it for backup duty at the moment.

I may lightly ecomod the new car over time after I research more. Haven't decided what to do yet.

I really wanted to find an Insight but this car popped up at the right time and at the right price, and it's in excellent shape.


Last edited by imaudi5; 08-05-2015 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congrats on the Civic hybrid. I'd love to nab one of those myself. Sounds like a decent vehicle replacement.

Thanks for posting btw. We love hearing from the lurkers.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Imaudi5, it will take a little time to get used to, but once you do I expect you will be able to get better mileage with the hybrid than the vx. The way to get the best mileage out of a Honda Civic Hybrid (HCH) is to use the hybrid portion as little as possible (I know that probably sounds backwards). You also want to stay in lean burn as much as possible.
A few things to check mechanically - make sure you're running the right oil - 0w20; if they are still available (haven't checked in a while), get a set of the Bridgestones like the ones that the HCHs were originally equipped with (lowest rolling resistance tire you're gonna find for that car - not the most grip, you probably run winter tires up there anyway); check the front brakes (or your mechanic, whatever) the pads are probably fine but rust can make them stick; check under the engine, the belly tray is probably missing, $40 from the dealer or make your own, either way it improves aerodynamics.

Sorry, not trying to overwhelm you, feel free to ask if you have any questions about hypermiling this car. Mine has 214,000 miles on it and its life time average is around 60 MPG.
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Pancake View Post
use the hybrid portion as little as possible (I know that probably sounds backwards). You also want to stay in lean burn as much as possible.
A few things to check mechanically - make sure you're running the right oil - 0w20; if they are still available (haven't checked in a while), get a set of the Bridgestones like the ones that the HCHs were originally equipped with (lowest rolling resistance tire you're gonna find for that car - not the most grip, you probably run winter tires up there anyway); check the front brakes (or your mechanic, whatever) the pads are probably fine but rust can make them stick; check under the engine, the belly tray is probably missing, $40 from the dealer or make your own, either way it improves aerodynamics.

Sorry, not trying to overwhelm you, feel free to ask if you have any questions about hypermiling this car. Mine has 214,000 miles on it and its life time average is around 60 MPG.
Gotcha- I'm fairly mechanical. Brakes look/seem fine, only 0w20 synthetic has been used. I know the previous owner personally, who used the car for a courier service. It has 224k miles now and had 76k last year. The abstaining from the assist makes sense as I'm sure it's not in lean burn when that happens. But I live in the St. Croix River valley and always have to go up a huge long hill to go to town. I know that kills a good amount of mpg right there.

I do run dedicated snow tires up here on all my cars, except the Audi which I store winters (awd, I know, it's just too nice to let it rust). And the car has some all season Michelins with ~75% left so I'm going to run those in the summer until they burn up.

In the VX, I could easily tell/feel when it was in lean burn, I can't tell on the HCH. Is there an aftermarket display/test light I can wire up to show me?

Also, I'm thinking a shifter mounted kill switch looks like a good idea (should have done it on the vx, never did because I never really did get the o2 heater working right, engine temp dropped immediately and kept me out of lean burn), and I'm strongly considering getting a grid harness/charger/drainer to preserve battery reliability.

Any ideas are greatly appreciated and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to post.

Last edited by imaudi5; 08-05-2015 at 06:15 PM..
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Old 08-06-2015, 04:48 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Is your HCH manual?
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Check the thread title.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Dude. You've been a member since 2011. You're on post number 3.

"I never really posted on here but I've been on this site for quite a long time now."

Got it.

Native Minnesotan myself, and I also have a HCHI (first gen). Mine is also a manual.

You have scored so hard landing an extra IMA battery. Cherish it. Mine has gotten steadily worse since I bought the car and since I work for a charity, scraping together the cash for a new one is difficult. The car still functions well and the autostop usually works, so it isn't a crushing blow, but I do miss the turbocharged-like surge of extra torque when I stuck my foot in deep for my longest hill (2+ miles).

My best tank has been about 56.5MPG. Your VX, as you already noted, can do a lot better but as soon as you turn on a couple of accessories, its advantage goes away. The HCH will let you keep the AC on and still deliver decent results, you're completely right about that.

Get some RE92s on it when the tires wear out. They're spendy but you'll get the investment back. I tried some other variety of LRR tires and wish I hadn't. They're okay but a recent loss of economy coincides with the tire replacement and I can't help but think the new rubber is part of the problem.

Look for the presence of that engine undertray. I'll bet it's gone. Mine is. I need to find one and stick it on. That's one of the best places to have a belly pan if you're going to have a partial one.

Definitely consider adding a grid charger when you switch them out, and also a discharger. Gently but thoroughly discharging the entire pack, and then just as gently and just as thoroughly recharging it all the way back up, goes a long way toward keeping the whole thing in good order. I added a grid charger to mine and it helps, especially in winter.

(NOTE: if you do eventually switch packs, PM me with a price on your old one. I could probably Frankenstein the good sticks from your old one with whatever is good left in mine and have a good working pack again.)

I have been cycling the ignition switch for EOC. My longest hill is a pain going to work, but it's a solid two minutes of nearly silent gliding going home. Ignition cycling works well enough for me but you're pretty close to the Twins and all that extra traffic might make that less appealing to you.

+1 on " the 05 is a much more superior car to be in." I have an '87 Pickup, a '98 Forester, and the HCH. It is the most luxurious car I have ever owned by a long, long margin.
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Last edited by elhigh; 08-06-2015 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imaudi5 View Post
Gotcha-

...In the VX, I could easily tell/feel when it was in lean burn, I can't tell on the HCH. Is there an aftermarket display/test light I can wire up to show me?...
Generally, when the instant mpg gauge is showing 80 or above you are in lean burn. That's another reason why you can probably get better mileage with this car, the instant mpg gauge. You should find that sometimes backing off the gas so you lose as little as one mph will result in higher mpg. For example, @ 55mph you might be getting 60 mpg and at 54 or 53 mph you might be getting closer to 75/80 mpg (not necessarily actual figures).
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Congrats on the Civic hybrid ... manual, yay!

The gen. 1 Insight also had an X-Gauge you could program into the ScanGauge-II to show lean burn status, and I'd be surprised if you couldn't do the same for the Civic.

But quite honestly, if you monitor the instant gauge as Mr Pancake suggests, eventually you'll probably be able to feel the shift in/out of lean burn when at cruise. As you've found out, it's much more subtle than the VX, but I was eventually able to detect it reliably on the butt-o-meter in the Insight.

An engine kill switch is also highly recommended. If the auto-stop feature is anything like the Insight, it's very mild and big gains can be had by killing the engine sooner & more frequently than the computer would. Power steering, brakes and instant restart remain available, too which is super nice.

I want to say welcome to the forum, but you've already been here for a while.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Power steering, brakes and instant restart remain available, too which is super nice.
HCH uses electric power steering. When I cycle the ignition it cuts out for a few seconds. I would imagine a kill switch could prevent that, does anyone know?

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