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Toyota Prius vs. Honda Civic Hybrid v. Honda Insight v. ?

jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
edited March 10 in Toyota
As there has been many comparisons over on the normal Prius board about the Prius vs. The Civic Hybrid/Corolla/Camry, I felt a need to put a specific board just for that purpose. So, here's the board! Compare the Prius to whatever car you feel is a reasonable match money wise or size wise.
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Comments

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    2004 Prius base MSRP of $19,995 includes:

    • CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
    • Automatic Climate-Control with Electric A/C
    • Anti-Lock Brakes
    • Traction-Control
    • Cruise-Control
    • Power & Heated mirrors
    • Power windows
    • Power door locks
    • AM/FM/CD with 6 speakers
    • Keyless-Entry remotes
    • Cast Aluminum Alloy rims
    • Tilt steering with audio/climate controls
    • 60/40 Split-folding rear seat
    • Multi-Display with trip computer
    • Rear Defroster
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    anybody have a good comparison for the Prius? I know there are many, from the Toyota Prius 2004+ board.
  • In deciding which car to buy or which car is better you have to decide what the criteria are. There is no 1 set that is going to satisfy everyone - that's quite reasonable.

    Possible criteria items are:
    1. MPG
    2. Emissions (ground-level or earth-warming)
    3. Acceleration ( 0-60 etc)
    4. PRICE! (MSRP, TMV price)
    5. Total cost of ownership
    6. Equipment (sunroof, automatic windows etc)
    7. Safety features and performance data
    etc
    etc

    Some things are going to be valued as nothing to some folks who don't care about that item - no use trying to change their views through insults.
  • Edmunds says that the total cost, measured in $/mile, is very close between Prius and Corolla.

    So, is Edmunds right? Every other evaluation I saw said the Prius costs more and you'll never make up the difference through the fuel efficiency savings. We'll need to "run the numbers" and check their calculations, data and assumptions.

    Personally, I'm not sure which to go with (never mind that it's hard to actually get one's hands on a 2004 prius since they're selling so well). I hate dealing with car problems and I'd hate to deal with fixing a 2004 prius since most mechanics, including toyota dealships, would not be experienced with fixing Prius-like cars.

    Corolla or Civic is much safer bet - plus it seems like the difference in MPG may not be much. I, and a lot of other potential buyers, do not drive long enough commutes to where the difference in MPG or gallons saved would actually be accomplishing much.

    We could buy it "to make a statement" but it would be silly if my statement is saying I'm saving 1 gallon per month buy buying a hybrid vs a regular ICE car.
  • We noticed on the other forum(s) that no one was comparing the 2004 prius to the civic hybrid - from the matter of alternative purchase vehicles at least. Now, besides the obvious answer of "because the Prius is so much better" is there more explicit explanations of this?

    Since I currently like my Integra hatchback, I could deal with the low entry trunk openings of the civic or corolla but the fact that the seats do not fold in the civic hybrid is a non-starter for me. Darn!!
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Corolla or Civic is much safer bet

    It's nothing but a bet though... since no data is available about the 2004 Prius yet, which is a completely new frame & body design.

    JOHN
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___An 04 Corolla LE w/ the following can be purchased for $14,900.

    * 4 Speed Automatic (ECT) Electronically Controlled Transmission
    * A/C - mechanical
    * Anti-Lock brakes
    * (DRL’s) Day Time Running Lights
    * Cruise Control
    * Power Mirrors
    * Driver’s Side Seat Height Adjuster
    * Power Windows
    * Power Door Locks
    * AM/FM CD w/ 6 speakers
    * Keyless Entry Remotes
    * Cast Aluminum Alloy rims
    * Tilt Steering
    * 60/40 Split-Fold down Rear Seat
    * Integrated display including speedometer, tachometer, outside temperature …
    * Rear Defrost

    Safety

    NHTSA:
     
    Front Driver and Passenger – Frontal Impact: 5 stars
    Front Seat/Rear Seat – Side Impact: 4 stars
    Rollover Resistance: 4 Stars

    IIHS: The highest rating of (G) - Good all the way across.

    ___Who knows what the 04 Prius will rate but hopefully it will be better then the NHTSA’s 02-03 Prius tests with 3, 4, 3, 3, 4 ratings … Although there is a bet that it has improved, the 04’s crash worthiness was considered in its design and should rate at least 4 and possibly 5 stars across the board.

    ___As for the Honda Civic Hybrid, it is truly outclassed in this game. It had the edge against the 01-03 Prius but not the 04 given it still costs more in a comparable trim. The 01 – 03 Prius wasn’t close against the 03/04 Corolla either but the 04 is a comparable vehicle with its greater size and closer to std. economy class power IMHO.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___An 04 Toyota Camry LE w/ the following can be purchased for $17,900.

    * 4 Speed Automatic (ECT) Electronically Controlled Transmission
    * A/C - mechanical
    * Anti-Lock brakes
    * (DRL’s) Day Time Running Lights
    * Cruise Control
    * Power Mirrors
    * Driver’s Side Seat Height Adjuster and Lumbar support
    * Power Windows
    * Power Door Locks
    * AM/FM CD w/ 6 speakers
    * Keyless Entry Remotes
    * Tilt Steering
    * 60/40 Split-Fold down Rear Seat
    * Integrated display including speedometer, tachometer, outside temperature …
    * Rear Defrost

    Safety

    NHTSA (2003 Camry):
     
    Front Driver and Passenger – Frontal Impact: 5/4 stars
    Front Seat/Rear Seat – Side Impact: 3/5 stars
    Rollover Resistance: 4 Stars

    IIHS: The highest rating of (G) - Good all the way across except for an (A) – Average for Leg/Foot – Right side.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___An 04 Honda Civic Hybrid w/ the following can be purchased for ~ $19,700.

    * CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)
    * Automatic Climate-Control with Electric A/C
    * Anti-Lock brakes
    * Cruise Control
    * Power Mirrors
    * Driver’s Side Seat Height Adjuster
    * Power Windows
    * Power Door Locks
    * AM/FM CD w/ 4 speakers - 120 W
    * Tilt Steering
    * 60/40 Split-Fold down Rear Seat
    * Integrated multi-display including speedometer, tachometer, outside temperature, charge/assist, instantaneous FCD …
    * Rear Defrost

    Safety

    NHTSA:
     
    Front Driver and Passenger – Frontal Impact: 5/5 stars
    Front Seat/Rear Seat – Side Impact: 5/4 stars
    Rollover Resistance: 4 Stars

    IIHS (2001 – 2004 Civic’s): The highest rating of (G) - Good all the way across.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • Since the Corolla is 3/4 the price of a base Prius it's safe to say that if you want fuel economy and a "decently equiped" car but don't care so much about the techno features then it's hard-pressed to say the Prius is a better car because (best guess for now) at worst it gives 10% better and best it gives 40%(!) better than the corolla w/auto.

    40% better is pretty good, I have to admit.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___Here are the 0 to 60 mph times …

    03 Honda Civic Hybrid w/ CVT:_______13.5 seconds - Consumer Reports/Motor Trend
    04 Toyota Prius w/ CVT:____________10.2 seconds - Auto Week
    03 Toyota Corolla w/ Auto___________9.8 seconds - Consumer Reports
    03 Toyota Camry LE w/ Auto:________9.5 seconds - Motor Trend

    ___Here are some 60 to 0 mph baking distances:

    04 Toyota Prius w/ CVT:____________142 Feet - Motor Week
    03 Honda Civic Hybrid w/ CVT:_______133 feet - Consumer Reports/Motor Trend
    03 Toyota Corolla w/ Auto___________128 Feet - Motor Trend
    03 Toyota Camry LE w/ Auto:________128 feet - Motor Week

    ___Interior noise levels at 70 mph:

    04 Toyota Prius w/ CVT:____________???
    03 Honda Civic Hybrid w/ CVT:_______73 dB(A) - Car and Driver
    03 Toyota Camry LE w/ MANUAL?:___73 dB(A) - Car and Driver
    03 Toyota Corolla w/ Auto___________70 dB(A) - Car and Driver

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • If the primary goal of a prius/hybrid buyer is to reduce fuel consumption, reduce emissions etc then the best advice for a non-rich person would be to buy a Toyota Echo (or similar car). The Echo has even better MPG than the corolla and as exel mentioned previously, with good driving habits, tire pressure etc you can do better than the EPA ratings for MPG.

    It seems obvious to me that hybrids are not a giant leap in solving our fuel burning problems. We need folks to drive more fuel efficient cars, even if that means buying a medium size SUV instead of a huge SUV.

    Recently one (or 2) of the American car companies said they'd be coming out engines that shut off half the engine when the power is not needed. Since many of the cars on the road consume so much gas (compared to the prius/civic) the fuel saved from these types of engines would far out-save the current hybrid offerings. Fortunately, they can possibly combine both types of engines.
  • xcel,

    I'd have to agree with you that the civic hybrid is truly outclassed by the 2004 prius. I suspect honda may have to make some changes or reduce the price in about a year or so in order to compete. Until then the under-supply of 2004 prius will probably keep the civic hybrid selling to those who really want a hybrid immediately.

    I'm sure it's too early now to see the effect of 2004 prius on civc hybrid sales but have you heard anything about whether the civic hybrid is making the EPA ratings of 47-48 MPG?
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___Pounds of Smog-Forming pollution per 15,000 miles driven:

    03 Honda Civic Hybrid w/ CVT:_______12.3 – 12.9
    04 Toyota Prius w/ CVT:____________02.8 – 04.1
    03 Toyota Corolla w/ Auto___________12.3 – 12.9
    03 Toyota Camry LE w/ Auto:________05.3 – 06.3

    ___Greenhouse gas or CO2 release is directly related to the gallons of fuel burned per miles driven.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • mikusmikus Posts: 109
    If I worked in Honda marketing department, I would not advertize Civic Hybrid a as hybrid car. I would say something like "conventional car improved according to 21-rd century demands" ;-) Because IMA is just an assist system. It does not fundamentally change the way the engine or transmission works. Yes, it has batteries and motor-generator, but these things works totally transparent for the gas engine, transmission or a driver.

    If battery or electric motor failed in IMA, Honda would drive like a normal car, but without additional 13-hp assist from electric motor. It still would be able to start, because as far as I know it has a conventional starter. And it would drive normally, because it has totally conventional 5-speed manual transmission or CVT.

    The main idea in Honda's approach is (1) to lower fuel consumtion in all driving modes by using smaller lean-burn engine. And to compensate for the lack of torque and power it uses (2) electric motor during hard acceleration (ergo Integrated Motor ASSIST).

    Prius is totally new look on how a car should be built. Its smart transmission works only because of the way gas engine and two electric motor-generators interact with each other, you cannot just pull one or other part from Prius -- it just would fall apart. And looking at the torque flow and energy flow schemes I tend to think, that Prius would not be driveable if even one of these motor-generator failed. But this innovative approach gives Prius better mileage and better (almost zero) emissions in city driving.

    I would compare Prius with space Shuttle, which should be totally bullet-proof to be used as it supposed to. But we can see what might happen, if only one small piece of Shuttle fails. On the other hand, Honda's hybrid is like the Mir station: nothing fancy, but it works and will work even in case of minor fails in the electric part of the hybrid system.

    Anyway, Civic hybrid does not deliver as much as Prius: its economy is worse and its emissions worse either, especially in the city driving, because Civic hybrid cannot drive with its gasoline engine shut off. Again, read the name: ASSIST. Also, Honda makes other cars, like Civic HX, which have fuel economy almost as good as its Civic hybrid. So, what's the point? Honda was able to pull 60-something mpg on Insight, but it was because of ultralight aluminum body, 0.25 drag coefficient, and only two seats. One can see, that Honda technology does not scale up well. Toyota managed to get close to Insight with the car almost twice larger and with conventional steel body.

    So, my verdict is that Prius is more of "21-century space technology", and Civic hybrid is "steam engine with computer". If you believe in technology, choose Prius. If you want 100%-bulletproof solution, choose Civic Hybrid (better choose Insight then).
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Veggieburger:

    ___I haven’t followed the Honda Civic Hybrid at all unfortunately but I know many Hybrid owners (including the Civic Hybrid) are displeased with the expected fuel economy as has been mentioned many times in the other threads. I follow the Honda Insight information very carefully but unfortunately, the Honda Insight is only a 2-seater and thus cannot really be compared to the 4 vehicles listed above without some stretch.

    ___Mikus, I cannot fault you for your HCH commentary in the least. I don’t really think the HCH is a good comparison to any of the other 3 because it is totally out classed but Jchan started the thread and apparently wanted some information about it … As for the Honda’s, only the Insight 5 speed is lean burn mode capable and although its only a ULEV with the same smog forming emissions as the Corolla, it can achieve upwards of 90 + mpg when driven properly. In other words, its CO2 output is half or less of any vehicle in this comparison … and if the 04 Prius’ real world fuel economy is 45 mpg or thereabouts. Again, Greenhouse gas (CO2) is what will kill our children’s children. Smog forming emissions will kill us when we reach the point where breathing becomes difficult and we insist on living in an urban area containing high smog level’s (PHX and LA are the two biggies that I know of …).

    ___As has been stated in the other Prius threads, the 04 Prius has a great drive train for saving the planet and reducing our dependency on foreign oil but it comes at a greater cost then the gasoline it was meant to save when compared to similar vehicles depending on your particular usage. If you are an all hwy driver, the 04 Prius doesn’t come close to paying itself off vs. the 04 Corolla in terms of TCO. It also doesn’t come close in terms of comfort and luxury when compared to the Camry because of the Camry’s much higher quality suspension, braking, and optional accessory categories. As for the 04 Prius’ Green-ness, the difference between a ULEV and PZEV based Accord as just one example is just a few hundred dollars. That is far from a $2,000 - $5,000 or more price premium to own a Prius vs. a Camry or Corolla IMHO.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi All:

    ___And although I believe the 01-03 and now the 04 Prius to be a stellar low maintenance vehicle, when it does get into trouble, it sounds like it can be a very costly experience. Reading through the Yahoo-Hybrid-Prius groups over the last few months, there has been indication of the electric power steering going bad on more then a few 01-03 Prius’. There is also an individual near my locale with some 114,000 miles on his well cared for 01 Prius when the darn thing lost its drive train to an unknown. It cost more to fix it then the Prius is worth and Toyota still doesn’t know exactly what happened other then it stopped working and the codes output are telling them to fix a large amount of the electrical/mechanical drive train. On the 04 Prius’, there are more then a few reports of the CEL’s (Check Engine Light) appearing with no particular cause listed. Some are saying it’s the gas cap not being tight but many new automobiles can receive a CEL when the gas caps aren’t tightened properly after a fill up. I don’t know, I am simply watching the developments but still believe the Prius’ battery pack to be more bullet proof then the Honda’s various IMA systems. It is just that I don’t believe the electric HW in the 01-03 and the new 04 is nearly as bullet proof in comparison to a std. Corolla/Camry ICE given the Camry/Corolla doesn’t have the additional electric drive train in the first place.

    ___In the case of the Honda Insight’s, the IMA is beginning got show its age for those in warmer climates apparently. Battery packs are being replaced at a rate that makes me leery of owning one and Honda for one is most certainly not making light of it other then charging the ~ $4,000 to those out of warranty and replacing them for those that are still under warranty. Fortunately, most still are covered under the 8 Yr./80,000 mile Battery and most electric drive train component warranty but what happens when you are beyond that? You are plain and simply screwed.

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > can be purchased for $14,900
    > can be purchased for $17,900.
    > can be purchased for ~ $19,700

    That's rather misleading information. Instead, you should list the STICKER PRICE.

    Even a 2004 Prius "can be purchased for" a lower amount now. The dealer just 10 miles from where I live is offering $500 off the sticker.

     
    > 04 Toyota Prius w/ CVT:____________142 Feet

    125 Feet is the correct value.

     
    > w/ CVT

    Since the "CVT" in Prius is totally, completely different than the one in Civic-Hybrid, it is inappropriate to label both of them the same way. In fact, they have as little in common as a manual & automatic transmission do. So please be more specific in future postings:

    "Planetary CVT" = Prius

    "Cone & Belt CVT" = Civic-Hybrid

     
    JOHN
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    you are right on there: if you are an all hwy driver, the Prius provides little benefit over a corolla or regular civic in mpg. Since I drive more hwy than city, this has been one of the main causes of my hesitation to adopt the new tech. In particular, the civic HX has been around for a decade now, with a lean-burn VTEC, and friends that have had them regularly get more than 40 mpg.

    I know from driving an '01 Prius on a regular basis (part of the fleet at the county where I work) that all I could expect in daily use is 42 or so. So, no advantage mpg-wise. I do expect the '04 to improve that figure by 6 mpg or so.

    Problem is, there is not yet a PZEV-rated corolla or civic, is there? So emissions-wise, you still have to make a choice: go for the higher mpg with worse smog-forming emissions (corolla, civic), go for the lower mpg but PZEV rating (in such cars as Nissan Sentra or Ford Focus, both low-30s mpg), or go Prius and get both for about $3-4K more.

    In the end, this will have to go beyond a dollars and cents decision for anyone willing to buy Prius. In particular, one would need to have a personal commitment to change one's lifestyle a little and pay a little extra to advance a technology that holds promise to protect the environment now and in the future.

    However, unlike many postings here at Edmunds in the past, I do not believe that with the '04 Prius you have to sacrifice anything else except for the $$ premium to purchase.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

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