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



  • I am trying to decide between the HCH and the Prius. Do you know anything about the air conditioning cutting out on the HCH when the electric mode is being used? Otherwise, any thoughts on how to make my decision?
  • Thanks. There should be more informtion available in addition to what you have now that Bush has signed the the energy bill.
    The wife is test driving a Prius tommorow and will see what the dealership says about the 2006 credit.
    It seems that a credit is better than a deduction, assuming you are not doing anything too fancy with your taxes.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    The HCH is a mild hybrid and only shuts down at stop lights. The Prius A/C is electric and will run all the time. The both get similar mileage, the edge goes to the Prius according to some long terms tests from Edmunds, CR and some National automotive magazines. The margin is slim between the two. Drive both and see which you like better. You can probably get a better deal on the HCH, but you won't get the content of a Prius.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "The HCH is a mild hybrid and only shuts down at stop lights. The Prius A/C is electric and will run all the time. "

    Well, if we're going to get into all that (which I hope we don't), we can also go back to the fact that the HCH will run without traction batteries, while the Prius cannot. However the Prius can run without the ICE (for a couple of miles) while the HCH cannot. You pays your money, and you take your choice.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    I heard that the HCH may actually go to the full hybrid scheme as the Prius. Can someone confirm that?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    As far as the HCH going "full Hybrid" that's not really the case. Here is what Honda has announced:

    "will be able to cruise at low speeds using only the electric drivetrain"

    Here is a link which explains it a little bit more:

    The word I have seen is that the HCH will NOT be able to start from stopped using only the electric drivetrain, as the Prius can do. I will turn off the gas engine when the car is at sufficient battery level and low enough speed to allow the electric drivetrain to power the car.

    So not Full Hybrid, but better use of the existing IMA technology. :D
  • kmh3kmh3 Posts: 35
    The 2006 HCH air-conditioner will run either from the gas motor or its own electric motor (used when the gas engine shuts off). 2005 and prior HCH models were dependent upon the gas engine to run the compressor, so they tended to get a bit hot inside when the gas engine shut off.

    On honda's website they have a nice video showing the whole thing, including the new electric motor that runs the compressor when the gas engine is off.
  • It all boils down to personal preferance. Personally I want an automatic transmission and a car that will fit four. The Prius impressed me much more than the civic. The technology, everything. I bought mine several months ago and drive it from Los Angeles to Utah on a regular basis. It has handled great. I hit some windy areas about 50 miles past Vegas and have had no problems. Maybe I just know what to expect. I am sure many people will prefer the Civic which is great too. If you are deciding, just pick the one you like. As it stands right now most people are buying the Prius, it has cool looks, cool technology and a good price. I am sure Civic will catch on too. If I wasn't to buy a Hybrid, I would have spent 35k for a car, so I save money there too.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "The 2006 HCH air-conditioner will run either from the gas motor or its own electric motor (used when the gas engine shuts off). 2005 and prior HCH models were dependent upon the gas engine to run the compressor, so they tended to get a bit hot inside when the gas engine shut off."

    I wonder if they borrowed it from the HAH? That system has a lower capacity A/C when stopped, as I recall.
  • I'm confused - isn't everyone getting away from the fact that a hybrid is defined as "something...having two kinds of components that produce the same or similar results"? I understand that some gas/electric hybrids, such as the Prius, may be more heavily subsidized by the electric motor, but shouldn't we be more concerned about the figures? The technology is certainly interesting and worthy of conversation, but this "mild hybrid" nonesense is exactly that - nonesense. If something is claimed to be a hybrid, then the claim is either true or false, not less or more so.

    I sense that my opinion may be dismissed by some, but I would propose that the Prius is overrated in this way and cannot be defined as MORE of a hybrid the the HCH. The fact is that each engine is subsidized by the motor in a unique manner and that neither can be considered more of a hybrid. For example, who could claim that a CVT is more of a transmission than a 5AT?

    That said, having driven and researched both, it is clear that the Prius is more succesful in its goal. However, the environment aside, one cannot get away from the fact that the total cost of ownership of a Prius (over five years), including gas consumption, is said to be marginally greater than that of the HCH.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    The Prius has some advantages over the HCH.

    More content
    Ability to run on electric to 42 mph
    electric a/c

    Each one has its good and bad attributes. You can't go wrong with either.
  • I've been looking to purchase a hybrid car for a couple of weeks now. I've test-drove the HCH, the Prius, and also the Civic GX (Compressed Natural Gas vehicle). Each one has it's own advantages and disadvantages. Check out to compare these vehicles.

    I was thinking about purchasing the Civic GX, but the home refueling station cost about 3k to purchase and install and there are limited natural gas refueling stations around my area.

    The HCH has a boring design and very limited options (ie. Navigation, bluetooth, etc)

    Prius has the best design (in my opinion) and the most options available. The 2006 HCH suppose to add navigation to a list of their options but their fuel efficiency is still not as good as Prius. Only 5% better than the 2005 HCH (about 3mpg more). The design of the 2006 HCH is much better than the 2005 models. But as far as fuel efficiency, Prius will still be in the lead. (Not mentioning the Honda Insight). There is also an article that says that under ideal driving conditions, and it has been tested, you can get up to 110MPG driving an unmodified Prius. Please check out the following link:

    I am still doing my research on which vehicle to purchase, but as of this moment, I am leaning towards the Prius. Because I live in California, I am able to get the sticker to drive in the HOV lane even though I'm alone in the vehicle. But they are limiting the vehicles to hybrids that can provide 45mpg or over, and only up to 75,000 hybrids will be able to receive this sticker. So if I wait until after Jan 1, 2006 to purchase this vehicle, I may not be able to receive the HOV sticker. For those who haven't heard, if you purchase a hybrid after Jan 1, 2006, you can receive a tax credit (not tax deduction) with the Prius in the lead of $3150. Please check out the following link for more information:

    So, right now, I'm debating on whether I should purchase my hybrid before or after Jan 1, 2006.
  • pops5pops5 Posts: 1
    I am just in the beginning stages of researching hybrid vs. non-hybrid and, if hybrid, which one. Thanks to everyone in this Forum for your candid comments and observations. My question is, what is the published or real life expectancy of the hybrid battery and how expensive will it be to purchase a new one? Thanks.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    Jury is out on that one. If you purchase a Toyota hybrid (Lexus RH or Prius) your battery is warranted for 150,000 miles/8yrs in CA/NY/VT/MA and 100,000 miles elsewhere. They batteries in conjunction with the software allow them to be very robust and have long life. Replacement cost at this time should not even be an issue because the cost is most likely higher than it would be 8 yrs from now. I would not allow the issue of the batteries to disuade you.
  • I'm not sure how much information is out on the battery, but in one of the searches I've done (either in this forum or elsewhere), I've read that the Prius' battery are in separate cells, so if one goes bad, you can actually just replace the one bad cell. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

    I found this information from Toyota in one of my researches, (but I think this is an old statement):

    "The Prius battery (and the battery-power management system) has been designed to maximize battery life. In part this is done by keeping the battery at an optimum charge level - never fully draining it and never fully recharging it. As a result, the Prius battery leads a pretty easy life. We have lab data showing the equivalent of 180,000 miles with no deterioration and expect it to last the life of the vehicle. We also expect battery technology to continue to improve: the second-generation model battery is 15% smaller, 25% lighter, and has 35% more specific power than the first. This is true of price as well. Between the 2003 and 2004 models, service battery costs came down 36% and we expect them to continue to drop so that by the time replacements may be needed it won't be a much of an issue. Since the car went on sale in 2000, Toyota has not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.”

    Hope this information helps.
  • mossyman, I bought a fully loaded Prius last month. Apart from other points folks here have already mentioned, others that made a difference to me were the hatchback design (can get to things in the back w/o getting out of it), the VSC (have one in a '04 HL Ltd & love it) and the fact that the rear seats in the Prius fold flat, if need be. Per the Honda dealer, the rear seats in the HCH or the hybrid Accord do NOT fold. Oh yes, I liked the instrumentation better as well.
  • fipfip Posts: 1
    I agree with geminijax. I am shopping for Hybrids for a practical reason. As a CA resident, that reason is the right to use the carpool lane carpool lane. So to me HCH and Prius should be both fine. And I almost decided to get a HCH because it is cheaper, and the dashboard is more familiar.

    Until I see another practical reason. And that is the cargo space at the back of Prius. With the seats fold down, I can use this car to, say, transport big items from Ikea, Home Depot, etc without the hassle of renting a car. My old Acura Integra had the feature and I once used it to move my wife (then girl friend)'s whole one-bed room stuff to our new house.

    I am a very pragmatic buyer. But I am am going to buy a Prius, unless I forsee the HOV quota does runs out by the time I get the car (CA only allows the first 75,000 qualified hybrid the right to use the carpool lane).
  • eman6eman6 Posts: 1
    Molokai - can you refer me to something that documents the longer warranty for VT? I'm in VT and thinking about buying a Prius. The local dealer didn't mention this.
  • molokaimolokai Posts: 313
    I believe VT, MA, NY have adopted the same standards as CA. The standard warranty is still the same. As to the traction battery, it should be 150,000 miles along with a few other components. You may want to check with Toyota corporate. I am pretty sure VT may be one of those states. I know that MA and NY definitely are.
  • I've asked this question on another hybrid discussion board but am still not sure about issu: I read somewhere that the Toyota Prius, if not driven for 10 days or more, will drain and the car must be jump started or towed. Have you any information on this? I like what I read about the Prius except for this. I cannot own a car with this problem as I travel and would leave it home several time during the year.

    Thanks for your input.
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    Many people have left their Prius for over 3 weeks with no problem whatsoever. If you have the smart exit/entry you should disable it as an extra measure. There is a switch for this.
  • Glad you like the Prius, Geminax. I finally got mine on Friday. It’s about $4k cheaper than what they are asking for here in CA. They are pretty much selling for the MSRP price of $27,066 for a package #6 and some dealership actually mark up that price by around $2k. I was so glad I got a great deal on mine. Although it is a 2005 model, it is used vehicle. The only thing that I see wrong with the vehicle is that the mileage was pretty high. It has about 1 1/2 years worth of miles on it. Clean title and pristine condition otherwise. Not only that, it also have an XM satellite radio installed by the dealership and free maintenance for 60,000 miles. I think I got a pretty good deal for my Prius. As soon as I got it home, I started playing around with all the instrumentation. I programmed the homelink system to my garage, I hooked up the Bluetooth connection to my phone, played around with the navigation system, and tried using the voice commands. I'm having a slight problem using the voice commands because it would sometimes do other things than what I actually want it to do. Because Toyota doesn't provide a list of voice commands available for the system, I searched around and found a site that provided a list. I’m going to play around with it a little more tomorrow. Hope it would recognize these commands better. Does anyone know if there is a way to get the voice command to understand your commands better? If you do, please provide some information on how to do this. Thanks in advance.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Congrats on your new Prius!

    A complete list of voice commands has been posted (and is discussed) along with features, etc. at john1701a, "Toyota Prius 2004+" #1955, 27 Dec 2003 5:45 pm

    Also - don't forget to post about your buy in the Toyota Prius: Prices Paid & Buying Experiences discussion.

    Again - congrats!
  • bic1bic1 Posts: 5
    I keep hearing how difficult it is to see out of the rear window of a Prius. Does anyone know if this will be redesigned in the 2006?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,922
    The 2006 has an optional back-up camera.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I keep hearing how difficult it is to see out of the rear window of a Prius.

    Newbies keep making assumptions that the split in the rear actually interferes with what you see. But in reality, that quite simply isn't true. The two windows work like bifocal glasses.

    The bottom part is only for parking and tailgaters. It is too low to see anything else anyway, since it sits mostly below the top of the back seats and with no trunk in the way... making it an area not even visible in sedans. Remember, Prius is a hatchback.

    The top part is where all of your normal distance viewing takes place. Note the vertical height. First impression is that it is smaller than average. There is actually more than than people realize.

  • H'mm, one has too wonder ??? There have been a lot of Prius owners that have complained, even RailroadJames, about the difficulty seeing when backing up and now for 2006 Prius is offered with an optional backup camera. It seems to me that there really might have been a problem. Toyota usually doesn't provide a solution to problems that don't really exist.

    The reason I mentioned RailroadJames is because he is a very enthusiastic and interesting Prius owner that is very open and honest. And as much as he enjoys and like his Prius he has mentioned the backup vision problem before.

    Just another perspective,


    P.S.- If only Prius would make a manual shift Prius I would get one in a heartbeat and now if looks as if the 2006 Civic Hybrid is auto only URG! :cry:
  • I don't have a problem seeing when backing up, but that's because I am used to a Mercedes C230 coupe that I own as well. It has a similar configuration. John is correct about the bifocal aspect of the rear. It's quite a clever design. Loving this car man! Especially with 3 buck gas!! Currently averaging 50.3 and still haven't filled up since the prices went up. I guess I am in for a rude awakening when that time comes!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I just think it'll be in-demand for people that already have a NAV screen. Why not? The hardwards adds little to the cost, $200 at retail for aftermarket Pioneer systems for instance.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "P.S.- If only Prius would make a manual shift Prius I would get one in a heartbeat and now if looks as if the 2006 Civic Hybrid is auto only URG! "

    The HSD doesn't have gears, so there is no way to put in a manual transmission without completely redesigning the system.
This discussion has been closed.