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Old 10-25-2009, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Looking at an '04 Civic Hybrid

I was poking around on Autotrader and I found a 2004 Civic hybrid for sale. Manual transmission. It's got a lot of miles - 171,000. I know Honda makes great drivetrains but I'm wondering if there are any issues that might arise with that many miles. Should I be concerned about the lifespan of the batteries? If anyone owns or has owned one I'd welcome any input. I haven't actually looked at the car yet, it's about an hour and a half away. Asking price is $6750, which seems reasonable according to KBB. I'm really picky with cars when it comes to ergonomics and handling, so I would have to test drive it first and see what I think. I've always owned hatchbacks or wagons and had wanted to stay with that, but the idea of having a super efficient car is very appealing, and I'm having a hard time finding a used car I'm happy with.

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Old 10-25-2009, 11:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Pros: Stick shifted, tiny engine, lean-burn, good aerodynamics, lightweight.

Cons: Not a hatchback. High miles. Batteries won't outlast the car. Not an Insight.

Check out Honda's warranty on the batteries. Lots of Insights have had their batteries replaced under warranty, but if yours fails outside of warranty, you still have options aside from buying a new one from the dealer. You could pay someone to refurbish your battery, or you could do it yourself.

With a manual tranny, low rolling resistance tires, and an engine kill switch, you could get serious MPG. It's definitely worth a test drive. Whether such a high mileage car is worth that asking price is another matter. It may only have another 100000 miles left in it.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If it has lean burn, I wouldn't worry about batteries.
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Old 10-25-2009, 11:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That's another question: How do I know if it has lean burn?
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Old 10-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think there was a California version without lean burn, so it almost certainly does.
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Wikipedia says all first-gen HCH have lean burn, and those are also the only years with a manual transmission option. It's really sad, but the first gen HCH and Insight appear to be the only stick-shifted hybrids you can buy.
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Old 10-26-2009, 06:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Wikipedia says all first-gen HCH have lean burn, and those are also the only years with a manual transmission option. It's really sad, but the first gen HCH and Insight appear to be the only stick-shifted hybrids you can buy.
Tell me about it. The new Civic hybrid is CVT only, which I'm sure also does quite well, but I've been driving autos for the past nine years and I really want a stick.
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Old 10-30-2009, 07:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok, so I might be going to look at an '03 tomorrow with much lower mileage.

Here's another question, maybe a dumb question: Does the car have to be in gear for regenerative braking to happen, or will it still work in neutral?
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Old 10-30-2009, 11:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Here's another question, maybe a dumb question: Does the car have to be in gear for regenerative braking to happen, or will it still work in neutral?
In gear, above a certain RPM (1200RPM or so?), with the brakelight switch closed, with the battery not full nor overheated.

The Insight actually slows down pretty fast in regen. I've been rolling up to red lights in Neutral, much faster than I do in the Subaru, then shifting into 2nd or 3rd and gently touching the brake pedal. Once it's Regen'd down to 10-15mph, shift to N and it does its Idle Stop thing.

I think the Prius can regen in Neutral.
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Old 10-31-2009, 08:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Nah, the Prius doesn't regen in neutral, you have to be in drive.

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