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Car of the Week - May 20, 2002

2002 Honda Civic Hybrid

SEE ALSO: Honda Buyer's Guide

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This is the "son" of Insight (Honda's original hybrid) - the 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. As the name implies, this very high-tech car has been very carefully bred. It is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine (85 horsepower) assisted by a 13-horsepower electric motor. The assist is a special gas-and-electric dance called the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system. When you coast, when you use the brakes, you are also recharging your battery bank for power boosts when needed. The driving experience is very much what you'd expect from a traditional compact sedan - with the exception of the silence when you're at a standstill.

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The interior is pleasing to the eye as well as easy to use. The seats are comfortable, visibility good, and the noise level inside the Hybrid is quite low thanks to some additional insulation and aerodynamics. It is pretty hard to tell the difference between the Hybrid and the standard Civic - one give-away is the standard alloy wheels. The other is the redesigned hood with the enlarged air dam that improves air flow under the car. What with excellent fuel mileage and ULEV cleanliness, the Civic Hydrid, son of Insight, is going to make his Daddy proud.

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- Editor

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