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Old 05-01-2014, 12:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Parents just bought 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid... against my advice. Hmm.



Small car hankerin'

A couple of weeks ago, my dad decided it was time to get rid of their 15 year old V6 Camry. I discovered this when, out of the blue, he asked me, "what about those small cars you have forums about?"

"The Mirage or Micra? You wouldn't like those." (He thinks a Honda Fit is too dinky.)

I did ask why the sudden interest in small cars.

"To save gas."

I see. "Just get a Corolla or Civic. Actually, buy just about anything, but quit driving at 120 km/h / 70 mph on the highway! You'll save lots more gas that way."

A few days later he mentioned he was looking at an '09 Civic Hybrid.

Honda battery pack woes?

Uh oh. "Did you do any research on reliability?"

"No, why?"

I reminded him about my Honda hybrid, and the minor issue of its worn out battery pack. My dad is not the type to pull out his battery pack and rebalance cells.

The next day I emailed him a link to this Consumer Reports article:

Quote:
...our latest reliability survey found what might be called a shocking failure rate for the 2009 and 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid: Almost one in three owners told us that their carís hybrid battery had needed replacement within the last 12 months.
I suggested if he had his heart set on a used hybrid, he should probably look at a Toyota.

Quote:
The equivalent [battery failure rate] for the rival Toyota Prius was less than one percent.
"But I don't like the Prius' looks," he said. "Also I already made a deal on that Civic."

Doh!

It turns out the pack in the car he bought has already been replaced a few years ago.

Still, it's nice to drive. Not as nerdy fun as a Toyota hybrid, but still engaging.

I've taken it for a short drive, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. This is the first Civic hybrid I've tried -- automatic (CVT), 1.3L. No lean burn in these newer Civics. But it will do a limited amount of "EV mode", where the ICE shuts down and closes all its valves, but continues to spin while being driven by the e-motor.

It showed 5L/100 km (~47 mpg US) just driving it conservatively for a couple of kilometers on quiet city streets, using no fancy techniques. It's EPA rated at 40 city / 45 hwy / 42 combined. Time to do some reading about how to squeeze the most out of the car's systems.

That's at least twice the mileage their old Camry would have gotten.

However, having owned an Insight with a tired pack, I immediately recognized when the Civic began to recalibrate ('recal') its pack during my brief drive. Uh-oh!

At least this second battery pack is still under warranty...

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Old 05-01-2014, 03:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The battery warranty is nice to have, good one on your dads part.
He has definitely entered the 21st century now if he hadn't already ..

You got a new car to work on ! kidding
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh parents, cant live with em cant live without em. Lol jk. Good Job trying to convince them. Thanks for the humorous story!
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Anybody know offhand if the Civic hybrid can still be driven if & when the second pack dies, like the gen. 1 Insight can?

I'm assuming it can be... It has an auxiliary 12v starter motor like the Insight.
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The battery pack will probably have an On/Off switch.
The Insight has one under a metal cover plate held with just 2 bolts, one of which just has to be loosened as it slides under.
Flip that switch, then start the car: it should do so on the starter engine.
Flip it back and it should do the IMA start (instant run).

I've blown my auxiliary fuse once, turns out the IMA control electronics are part of that... Drove fine, but less zippy. The CVT was lazy to rev up; pulling away from a stop or a T junction is let's say a lot less fun without IMA support.
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Anybody know offhand if the Civic hybrid can still be driven if & when the second pack dies, like the gen. 1 Insight can?

I'm assuming it can be... It has an auxiliary 12v starter motor like the Insight.
In spite of the higher battery failure rate, they have an advantage since they can still get driven, while a Prius wouldn't.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That's true. Yet I'd personally rather drive a Prius than the Civic. It's just more engaging & capable in the fuel economy department.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecomodded View Post
You got a new car to work on ! kidding
No thanks! It's got warranty for a few more years. Best case scenario is the pack dies in the last year and he gets a replacement.

But I am looking forward to driving it again. I've been doing a bit of reading on how IMA works with the CVT and how to squeeze the most from it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
Yet I'd personally rather drive a Prius than the Civic.
If I would ever have to get a hybrid, I'd rather get one which wouldn't seem so obviously-hybrid as the Prius because of all the hybrid driver negative stereotypes, so the Civic would fit better to my Almost Politically-Correct Redneck way of life. I actually got to believe the OP's dad also considered the same factor...
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You'll accept worse fuel economy because you're concerned about what other people think your car says about you? Not me!

----

I did some work around the house for my folks this evening and borrowed the Civic to go get some supplies. I'm figuring out how to "glide" it. Glide in quotes because while the engine is "off" (with valves closed), the crank is always turning, and the transmission is still in gear (blast you, less efficient IMA!). So obviously it doesn't glide as well as a Toyota hybrid.

And if you shift to N, the engine fires up again. And if you kill the engine with the key, and switch back to "run", the engine fires up again. Grr. If it were mine, first thing on the list would be an effective kill switch mod.

Still, managed 4.5L/100 km / 52 mpg (US) from a cold start on a ~12 km / 7 mi. round trip in moderate city + outskirts traffic. I'm starting to get the hang of it.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cRiPpLe_rOoStEr View Post
If I would ever have to get a hybrid, I'd rather get one which wouldn't seem so obviously-hybrid as the Prius because of all the hybrid driver negative stereotypes, so the Civic would fit better to my Almost Politically-Correct Redneck way of life. I actually got to believe the OP's dad also considered the same factor...
Quote:
In 2007, when a large survey asked, "Why did you purchase a Prius?" The majority of Prius owners answered, "It makes a statement about me." NOT, "Because it's good for the environment." NOT, "Because it saves money on gas." No-- they bought it for the image. "Ostentatious" indeed.
Reasons Why the Prius Sucks | List of Reasons to Hate Priuses

I cannot say that I agree with much of what that author rants, although he says that Prius owners talk about how "green" they are, while the "greenest" car is a fuel-efficient used car.

Civic HX, VX, Metro, or Echo, anyone?

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