2016 Honda Civic: Almost 50 MPG on the Highway
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on June 28, 2016
I just took our long-term 2016 Honda Civic on an 1,100-mile road trip (more on that soon) and without much effort, I blew the EPA's highway estimate of 42 mpg out of the water. Our previous best was 38.1 mpg and I knew I could do better. Most of the Civic's miles had been driven in the city and I was ready to sit down for a long, cruise-controlled haul.
From the Interstate 80 on-ramp near Nevada City, to the Edmunds office in Santa Monica, it's almost exactly 410 miles. I figured that was plenty long enough to get a decent highway number, so I filled up at a gas station just a few feet from the on-ramp, pressed the "Eco" button, put the Civic in drive, then hopped on the highway.
From Nevada City to Santa Monica, there's an elevation drop of about 2,400 feet. Essentially, it's downhill, but there are several long uphill grades, including the Grapevine and the Sepulveda Pass. Also working against me was the heat. That day, along Central California, temperatures floated between 85 and 105 degrees and I left the A/C on the whole time, never letting the car's interior go above 70 degrees.
Most of the time, I had the adaptive cruise control set somewhere between 68 and 70 mph, with a few passes around 72 or 74 mph, but that's the fastest I ever went. I was on Highway 99 for most of the trip and traffic was clear.
When I pulled off the freeway after six hours of driving, I filled up and the trip odometer read 410.2 miles. The Civic took 8.304 gallons of 87 octane. For you non-math-wizes, that's 49.4 mpg. That's 7.4 mpg (or 17 percent) better than the highway-EPA estimate for this car, which is already one of the best ratings in the class.
Sure, I was a bit light-footed, but I definitely wasn't hypermiling. I passed dozens of semis on the way home and even a handful of slower motorists, too. With 4.1 gallons of fuel left in the 12.4 gallon tank, at 49.4 mpg, the Civic could've gone another 202 miles. Essentially, if you drive with just a little bit of care, it has a 600-mile range.
All of that in a car that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds? Color me impressed.
Travis Langness, Automotive Editor @ 6,149 miles