It was a brave move to hold the 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid media introduction at the foot of the Santa Rosa Mountains near Palm Springs, Calif. The test route climbed some 15 miles up to an altitude of about 4,000 feet where most cars would be wheezing in the thin air. Honda almost seemed to be taunting lead-footed auto journalists to see just what kind of power this second-generation hybrid could deliver.
It soon became apparent that this new, refined and improved Civic, rolling into showrooms in Apriland priced at about $20,000, was up to the challenge. It's not exactly a performance car, but it gets along briskly. And when you consider that the Civic Hybrid interior is especially attractive, and it gets 47 miles per gallon (with the manual transmission), you have a very appealing package. You could buy one and then shrug when gas prices double.
Yes, we live in an unpredictable world. Gas prices could shoot up. Gas supplies could be cut. Frigid Boston could get Miami's balmy weather, thanks to global warming. The Honda Civic Hybrid is your hedge against disaster scenarios. And you don't have to wear your politics on your sleeve. There are lots of reasons to buy this four-door sedan besides the fact that it's about as environmentally friendly as a modern car gets.
Consider this scenario. A young car buyer strolls onto the lot at the local Honda dealership. The Civic Hybrid's redesigned nose and handsome interior catch the shopper's eye. "Hey, I like that one over there. What is it?" The salesman begins tap dancing, pitching how fun it is to drive, how good it looks, how practical it is. Then he concludes by saying, "Did I mention that it's a hybrid and gets almost 50 miles per gallon?" The buyer's response: Cool.
Cool is right. And Honda was the first to prove in the U.S. just how cool gasoline-electric hybrid technology could be. In 1999, the carmaker released the Honda Insight two-door hatchback, one of which has held a valued place in the Edmunds.com long-term fleet for the past two years. It has been driven 32,000 miles with no major glitches while delivering an average of 52.4 miles per gallon.
The Honda Civic Hybrid has taken the technology pioneered in the Honda Insight Hybird and improved on it. It uses a small 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine (85 horsepower) assisted by a 13-horsepower electric motor. When the driver backs off the throttle or hits the brakes, the energy that is usually wasted is captured in a bank of batteries mounted behind the rear passenger seat. The next time extra power is needed, when pulling away from a dead stop, for instance, that captured energy is, in a sense, recycled. Honda calls this give-and-take between the gasoline engine and the battery the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system.
The i-DSI (Dual and Sequential Ignition) four-cylinder engine is a technological marvel, with two spark plugs per cylinder to promote complete combustion, boost fuel efficiency and cut emissions. The engine burns clean enough to earn it an Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) rating. Additionally, the engine debuts a new "cylinder de-activation system" that cuts fuel flow to three combustion chambers during deceleration. This reduces friction by 30 percent, allowing the batteries to capture energy that would otherwise be lost.
Also improved is the 10-kilowatt electric motor (which also functions as a generator). The Civic Hybrid's electric motor is brushless and ultra-thin. This is important, since the inline gas engine nearly fills the engine bay's available space. The electric motor is positioned between the gas engine and the transmission.
Rating the power of the Honda Civic is a bit confusing, since it isn't a simple matter of adding the horsepower of the gas and electric motors. The gas engine supplies 85 horsepower at 5,700 rpm while the electric motor delivers 13 horsepower from 2,500 to 4,000 rpm. However, according to Honda's specifications, this adds up to a combined maximum rating of 93 hp at 5,700 rpm. (The torque rating for the gas and electric motors combined is 116 pound-feet at 1,500 rpm in the manual transmission and 105 pound-feet at 3,000 rpm.) For purposes of comparison, a fully gas-powered Honda Civic LX sedan delivers 115 horsepower, and the Insight makes 73 ponies with its IMA system.
The Civic Hybrid is offered with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CVT version includes a feature called "Creeping Aid System" that prevents the car from rolling backwards from a stop on hills.
Now, you'd probably like to know what all this whiz-bang technology adds up to. The short answer is: a very drivable compact four-door sedan.
As we mentioned in the beginning, much of the test loop was a steep climb into the mountains. With a BMW 328i bearing down on us, we were very sensitive to the Civic Hybrid's power. The CVT made the most of its 93 horses, and we were able to climb fast enough to keep a respectable distance between our rear bumper and the Bimmer and you know how pushy those BMW drivers can be.
Since the CVT transmission always seeks the most efficient gear ratio, it feels noticeably different to drive from, say, a four-speed automatic transmission. The car revs to a certain level and stays there, unless you want to go faster or slower. At first, we found ourselves anticipating the slight bump that accompanies a gear change in a conventional automatic transmission. But soon, we grew used to the CVT and enjoyed its efficient delivery of available power.
The five-speed manual made the Civic Hybrid feel like any other conventionally powered compact. The low-end power was modest, but we test-drove the car with three adults onboard at high altitude. For around-town purposes, with a non-enthusiast-type driver at the wheel, the power would be quite adequate.
A gauge on the dash shows when the gas engine is being assisted by the electric motor. It's fun to watch the flickering lights, and it shows when the engine experiences the greatest load. But it's not like this is vital information for driving the car. Contrary to what some people have thought, you never have to plug it in.
Like the Honda Insight, the Civic Hybrid uses an automatic idle stop feature to save gas. When the driver comes to a complete stop at a traffic light, for example, the engine shuts off. Obviously, this saves gas and cuts emissions. To remind the driver that the engine has shut off on purpose, and has not merely stalled, a light on the instrument panel blinks.
The first time the engine stopped on the test drive, it produced a slight panic sensation in us. The feel of a throbbing engine is so basic to the driving experience. But, as with the CVT, we quickly got used to this feature. It even seemed relaxing to be waiting at a light without holding back the engine as it impatiently idled. In fact, as we drove away from the press event in a Ford Focus, and the engine didn't shut off at a traffic light, it suddenly seemed wasteful.
Road feel in the Civic is comparable to that of other Hondas of this ilk a little on the numb side, despite stiffened springs and increased shock-damping rates. On tight mountain curves, there is some body roll not surprising, since the Civic Hybrid is about 200 pounds heavier than the Civic LX. Overall, though, the ride is very comfortable. This Hybrid uses the same control-link MacPherson strut front suspension and reactive-link double wishbone rear suspension as other Civic models. Additionally, the Hybrid is equipped with electronic power steering, antilock brakes and Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD). Front disc brakes and rear drums are standard.
One pleasant surprise when driving the car was how quiet it remained inside the cabin. While sitting in the backseat, it was possible to hear people in the front conversing in normal voices without asking them to turn their heads. The low decibel level is due to additional insulation under the car, along with underside panels that make it more aerodynamic.
The seats are comfortable and exceptionally attractive with beige fabric that resembles suede. The driver seat has a fold-down armrest that is not offered in other Civics. The graphite-colored dash is made of high-grade soft-touch plastics, and there is a generous sprinkling of storage bins and cubbyholes around the cabin. The automatic climate control buttons are large, easy to manipulate and are attractively arranged in a vertical layout.
From the outside, it takes a sharp eye to spot the differences between the Civic Hybrid and other Civic sedans. One tip-off is the standard alloy wheels. The other is the redesigned nose with the enlarged air dam that improves air flow under the car. Other than that, the crisp, inoffensive Honda styling is very much in play.
Buyers interested in the Honda Civic Hybrid will only have a few choices to make. Three colors are available Titanium Metallic, Opal Silver Blue Metallic and Taffeta White and buyers can get the standard CVT transmission or the manual transmission (about $800 less expensive). The Civic Hybrid is sold with Honda's standard 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, except for the battery, which is covered for 8 years or 80,000 miles.
After this glowing description of Honda's 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, the reader might think we are suggesting that you really can have your cake and eat it or, in this case, get great gas mileage and have a fun-to-drive car. That's exactly what we are saying. However, there is a trade-off that isn't readily apparent: the price. You could get a comparably equipped Civic LX for about $4,000 less. Still, if gas prices shoot up, you'd save money even by buying the more expensive Honda Civic Hybrid. Not only that, but the technology is exciting. And, oh yeah, like all hybrid cars, it's easy on the environment.
2003 Honda Civic Overview
The 2003 Honda Civic is offered in the following submodels: Coupe, Hatchback, Natural Gas, Sedan, Hybrid. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (1.7L 4cyl 4A), EX 4dr Sedan (1.7L 4cyl 4A), and EX 2dr Coupe (1.7L 4cyl 4A). Civic models are available with a 1.7 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 127 hp, depending on engine type. The 2003 Civic comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The 2003 Civic comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2003 Honda Civic?
Save up to $123.4 on one of 51 used 2003 Honda Civics for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $2695 as of Nov 17, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 55 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 3 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2003 Honda Civic trim styles:
The 2003 Honda Civic LX is priced around $4446 with average odometer reading of 120331 miles.
The 2003 Honda Civic Si is priced around $3995 with average odometer reading of 156836 miles.
The 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid is priced around $4991 with average odometer reading of 127011 miles.
The 2003 Honda Civic EX is priced around $4585 with average odometer reading of 121511 miles.
The 2003 Honda Civic DX is priced around $4995 with average odometer reading of 99628 miles.
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, Virginia. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Is the 2003 Honda Civic a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2003 Honda Civic and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2003 Civic featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2003 Honda Civic? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2003 Honda Civic and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2003 Civic 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2003 Civic.
Review I struggled with constant repairs on domestic cars for years before purchasing this car. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. Bought at 47K miles in 2007 and now have 120K. In that time only ONE thing has ever gone wrong and that was a sensor that only cost $150. It just blows my mind how reliable this thing is. This car is such a smart choice and can be found for under $5K atm. Will be one of the best vehicle investments you ever make.
2003 Honda Civic inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Honda Civic for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 2529 new and 3887 used and CPO 2003 Civics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 2199 and mileage as low as 30110. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2003 Honda Civic. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 123 on a new, used, or CPO 2003 Civic available from one of 2796 dealerships in your area.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
2003 honda civic EX 4dr Sedan (1.7L 4cyl 4A), 4-speed automatic, regular unleaded 29 combined MPG 26 city MPG/34 highway MPG
2003 honda civic EX 2dr Coupe (1.7L 4cyl 4A), 4-speed automatic, regular unleaded 29 combined MPG 26 city MPG/34 highway MPG
What options are available on the 2003 Honda Civic?
Available Honda Civic 2003 Submodel Types: Sedan, Coupe, Hatchback, Si, Hybrid, Si w/Navigation, Type R Touring, Si w/Summer Tires, Natural Gas, Type R, Si w/Navigation and Summer Tires
Available Trims: LX, EX, Si, EX-L, EX-T, Touring, Sport, Hybrid, LX-P, EX w/Honda Sensing, LX w/Honda Sensing, EX-L w/Navigation, SE, Sport Touring, LX-S, Value Package, EX-L Navigation, DX-VP, Si w/Summer Tires, EX-T w/Honda Sensing, Si w/Navigation, DX, EX-L Navigation and Honda Sensing, EX-L w/Honda Sensing, HF, Hybrid w/Leather, Type R Touring, Type R, VP, GX, EX Special Edition, Hybrid w/Leather and Navigation, Hybrid w/Navigation, Natural Gas, Si w/Navigation and Summer Tires, VX
Exterior Colors: Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Taffeta White, Lunar Silver Metallic, Aegean Blue Metallic, White Orchid Pearl, Cosmic Blue Metallic, Rallye Red, Dyno Blue Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Crimson Pearl, Urban Titanium Metallic, Burgundy Night Pearl, Kona Coffee Metallic, Royal Blue Pearl, Nighthawk Black Pearl, Galaxy Gray Metallic, Atomic Blue Metallic, Satin Silver Metallic, Tango Red Pearl, Opal Silver Blue Metallic, Eternal Blue Pearl, Magnesium Metallic, Satin Silver, Sonic Gray Pearl, Borrego Beige Metallic, Energy Green Pearl, Orange Fire Pearl, Cool Mist Metallic, Sunburst Orange Pearl, Shoreline Mist Metallic, Clover Green, Clover Green Pearl, Vogue Silver Metallic, Fiji Blue Pearl, Green Opal Metallic, Radiant Ruby Pearl, Titanium Metallic, Galapagos Green, Granada Black Pearl Metallic, Championship White, Cypress Green Pearl Metallic, Flamenco Black Pearl, Magnetic Pearl, Dark Green Pearl Metallic, Frost White, Grayish Blue Metallic, Milano Red, Red, Silver Stone Metallic, Sonoma Red Pearl, Spectrum White Pearl, Vivid Blue Pearl
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Gray cloth, Ivory cloth, Beige cloth, Black leather, Gray leather, Black/Gray cloth, Black/Red premium cloth, Gray, Black/Ivory cloth, Black premium cloth, Ivory leather, Beige leather, Black, Ivory, Beige, Black/Gray leather, Stone cloth, Blue cloth, Black/Ivory leather, Red/Black Suede-Effect Fabric suede/cloth, Stone leather
Popular Features: Rear Bench Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Alarm, Tire Pressure Warning, USB Inputs, Stability Control, Bluetooth, Back-up camera, Trip Computer, Auto Climate Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Aux Audio Inputs, Keyless Entry/Start, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Remote Start, Heated seats, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Leather Seats, Post-collision safety system, Power Driver Seat, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Navigation, Upgraded Headlights