2008 Honda Civic Hybrid Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Honda Civic Hybrid

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Honda Civic Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission CVT Automatic
  • Horse Power 110 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 40/45 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Honda Civic

  • Comfortable, smartly designed and available in a wide array of configurations, the 2008 Honda Civic sets the bar for the small car segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Engine lineup that offers both fuel-efficiency and performance, roomy and refined interior, high crash test scores, available as a sedan or coupe.

  • Cons

    Controversial gauge cluster design, slow acceleration times of Hybrid and GX models.

  • What's New for 2008

    A new Mugen Si trim level debuts for the 2008 Honda Civic sedan. It's similar to the regular Si sedan but comes with more aggressive suspension tuning, special wheels and exterior body enhancements. The only other change for the Civic line this year is the new availability of leather seating for the new EX-L trim level.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (57 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

9 of 18 people found this review helpful

Thank god for this car!!!

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Im not trying to knock anyone down because your opinion is your opinion, but im not complaining. I went from a 87' Chrysler 5th avenue to this car, it was a God send. I was getting 17 hwy on that thing and i put 50 dollars in 3 days later, im putting in 50 more. I guess when you come up with nothing and finally have something you appreciate it more...So buy one you'll love it!



9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Very solid high mpg car

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I puchased this unit used, recently in very good condition. ($13k, 44k miles). Hybrids are certainly a different breed of cat. They drive a bit differently, though I like the driving dynamics much better than the Prius. (Brakes seem "grabby" and steering doesn't fit me; HCH has a telescoping and tilt wheel that allows a more aggressive steering position). I find the car to be plenty peppy as to acceleration. Handling and braking are very good in my opinion. Car feels sporty. Hybrid system is a little distracting, and does some odd things (sudden battery "dumps" at times, MPG drops on cold weather). Ride is a bit stiff, bordering on harsh on poor pavement.



3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Never again

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

I had been getting good (>43 MG) mileage before the Honda update to my Hybrid in May of 2010. Prior to that update I had reached 47.8 MPG on a 1,022 mile trip from my son's home in GA to my home in Boston. After the May computer update, I never got better than 38 MPG, even on the highway. I've had this thing back to the dealer at least 3 times for crappy gas mileage after the May update. One more thing - the resale value on these things is terrible. The Toyota dealer across the driveway from my Honda dealer offered me $9 grand on a trade-in for this $22,000 Hybrid with less than 34,500 miles and less than 24 months driving. I pick up my new 2010 Prius tomorrow.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Poor gas mileage, poor acceleration.

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

Nicely-designed car but never did better than 40 mpg combined city/highway. I recently received the Honda-directed firmware "update" which has radically altered the hybrid propulsion system. Fuel economy has decreased by 5 mpg, and the car often is incapable of accelerating when you need it. Honda refuses to admit to a problem.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Honda can do better

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

yeah, the gas mileage is good. Not in the hot summer though. If you sit at a red light too long the hybrid battery runs down and you have very little power to accelerate. No frills in the interior. No automatic headlights, no lighted vanity mirrors, no rear cup holders. It would not have cost Honda that much to add a few comforts to make the driving experience a little more pleasurable.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Warning: honda ima reprogram recall

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Vehicle: 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid 4dr Sedan (1.3L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)

My Civic hybrid performed flawlessly and still regulary returns 43 mpg per tank in mixed city/hwy driving. Per notice from Honda I took recall notice in and was told the computer reflash would only affect the battery recharge rate - would NOT affect the driving characteristics of the car. However, since reflashed, the battery is quicker to discharge in city driving. If it falls below 4 bars of power THE IMA POWER BOOST DOES NOT ENGAGE. I am trying to accelerate with only the 1.3L gas engine until I recharge above 5 bars Dealer sent computer test sample to Honda Tech Dept who acknowledge "many" such instances, but insist the new computer program is operating as designed-NO FIX.



Full 2008 Honda Civic Review

What's New for 2008

A new Mugen Si trim level debuts for the 2008 Honda Civic sedan. It's similar to the regular Si sedan but comes with more aggressive suspension tuning, special wheels and exterior body enhancements. The only other change for the Civic line this year is the new availability of leather seating for the new EX-L trim level.

Introduction

In 1973, Honda introduced the Civic to American shores. Small, fuel-efficient and reliable, the Civic was an ideal small car solution to rising gas prices and increased environmental awareness. Now, 35 years later, Americans are faced with similar issues, and again the Civic stands at the ready.

Of course, history hasn't quite repeated itself. The 2008 Honda Civic is considerably heavier and more luxurious than its pint-sized forbear. It's not even the company's smallest car anymore -- that role is handled by the Fit. But for the average small car shopper, the Civic remains the quintessential choice. We're quite fond of the current-generation Civic -- it was last redesigned in 2006 -- and it's one of America's best-selling cars.

There are plenty of reasons to choose the Civic. First among them is the car's wide array of configurations. The Civic is one of the few small car offerings to be sold as a sedan and a sportier-looking coupe. A fixed, minimal-options trim level architecture, ranging from the budget-oriented DX to the top-level EX, makes picking a Civic a relatively straightforward affair.

There are also the specialized Civic Si, Hybrid and GX models. In Si trim, the Civic is one of the most sporting small cars available for the money, while the Hybrid, thanks to its gasoline/electric powertrain, can deliver 40-plus mpg in real-world driving. The Civic GX is truly an oddity -- it runs on natural gas and can be fueled at home via a special "Phill" hook-up. The GX is the most expensive Civic, but in return it's America's cleanest mass-production car in terms of tailpipe emissions.

A new addition this year is the Honda Civic Mugen Si sedan. Built on the foundation of the Civic Si sedan and tuned by the prestigious racing and aftermarket performance company Mugen, this model comes with a track-tuned suspension, 18-inch forged alloy lightweight wheels with special tires, a full aerodynamic body kit with an adjustable rear wing spoiler, a rear diffuser and a sport-tuned exhaust system. Only 1,000 of these models will be sold, and they're priced in the very un-Civic-like territory of $30,000.

No matter what the trim, the Civic's traditional strengths in comfort, interior design and safety are all still firmly intact. The Civic also holds its value better than many other small cars and has a reputation for above-average reliability. Though we suggest doing a bit of comparison shopping -- the sporty Mazda 3, affordable Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Rabbit/Jetta are also very good choices -- the 2008 Honda Civic remains an ideal pick for a small sedan or coupe.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Honda Civic is a small car available as a sedan or coupe. For both, there are five main trim levels: DX, LX, EX, EX-L and Si. On the Civic sedan, Honda also offers the Hybrid, the GX and the Mugen Si. The DX is meant for those on a tight budget and offers little more than power windows, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver seat. The more popular midgrade LX comes with 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and a four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system with an auxiliary audio jack.

Going with a Civic EX gets you 16-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof, six-speaker audio with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a 60/40-split rear seatback with a rear armrest. This year's new Civic EX-L comes with leather upholstery and heated front seats. The Civic Si has most of the EX's features plus a high-output engine, sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, a premium audio system and special interior trim. High-performance summer tires are an option for the Si, and a navigation system is offered for the Si and EX/EX-L models. Hybrid models are equipped similarly to the EX and have automatic climate control and optional navigation. The GX has a feature list similar to the LX's.

The limited-production Civic Mugen Si sedan has a track-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels with more aggressive tires, performance exhaust and a specialized exterior body kit.

Powertrains and Performance

Civic DX, LX and EX models are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 140 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent through the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic. The GX also has a 1.8-liter engine, but it's fueled by clean-burning compressed natural gas and makes 113 hp. It only has a cruising range of 200 miles, but with Honda's Phill device, you can refuel from the comfort of your own garage. For the Civic Si, Honda installs a 197-hp 2.0-liter engine and an exclusive six-speed manual transmission with a performance-enhancing limited-slip front differential.

The gasoline-fueled 1.8-liter engine delivers above-average fuel economy for the small car class; 2008 EPA estimates are 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway for an automatic-equipped Civic. The GX posts 24/36 numbers. The Hybrid, meanwhile, uses a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain to maximize fuel economy. Its 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine is paired to the latest version of Honda's IMA technology and a continuously variable transmission to deliver 110 hp and 40/45 mpg ratings.

Safety

All Civics come with front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Antilock brakes are also standard; EX and Si models have four-wheel discs, while the rest have rear drums. Stability control is an exclusive standard feature on the Si trim only. In government crash testing, the 2008 Honda Civic earned a perfect five stars for its protection of occupants in frontal impacts. Side-impact tests resulted in a four-star rating for front passengers and five stars for rear passengers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Civic its top rating of "Good" for the car's performance in frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Civic's dash features an unusual layout. An analog tachometer is in the traditional location but the digital speedometer and gas gauge are at the base of the windshield. Though some drivers find the two-tier display distracting, others say it makes quick visual checks of speed easier. Otherwise, the Honda Civic continues to be one of the best small cars in terms of room, interior storage and refinement. Its controls are easy to operate and materials are of high quality. Regular Civic sedans have 12 cubic feet of trunk space; this drops to about 10 for the Hybrid and 6 for the GX due to the space taken up by the hardware of their respective powertrains.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Honda Civic's suspension, steering and brakes all work together seamlessly, and even the mainstream models can be described as being somewhat sporty to drive. The Civic Hybrid and natural-gas GX are unfortunately a bit slow, but neither model is meant for supreme acceleration anyway. That task is taken up by the Civic Si. Possessing nimble handling and a delightfully fizzy engine, the Si is one of the few cars available in any price range that makes you want to drive it just for the sake of driving.

Talk About The 2008 Civic

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 40
  • cty
/
  • 45
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs