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Honda Civic Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
edited June 2014 in Honda
Discuss your driving tips for geting the best mileage out of your Civic hybrid here.


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    supertonesupertone Member Posts: 2
    I bought mine over the Memorial Day weekend and have 750 Miles on her now, I got the Blue Opal color and really like it. I have averaged 46.2 MPG combined driving and have seen 54.3 on a one hundred mile trip with mostly highway driving. Seems like in order to achieve the best mileage you must drive these cars easy, anticipate hills by accelerating prior to the hill and coasting over most of the rise in the road. A full charge is a major benefit when starting out on a trip. helping the gas motor more often. 87 octane is fine for this car, if you ever notice any pinging try using BG44 injector cleaner or Chevron injector cleaner. Good luck with your Civic Hybrid keep in touch.
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    supertonesupertone Member Posts: 2
    Hello again,
    I now have 800 miles on the Civic Hybrid and am getting the advertised mileage out of her. 48.4 average for 245 miles. I use the for life time mileage and use the for current results. I leave the CVT in all the time and drive combined on Interstate 270 and locally with lots of traffic in the mornings. I try to judge distances ahead for coasting to keep the batteries charged. The current MPG scale on the dash is kind of like playing a video game in the hopes that you can keep the average up. Some one sent me an article on the Insight and how to achieve maximum mileage by driving barefoot to help you "feel what he car is doing" and slow down more, add more power before climbing hills, letting the car coast up and over them. All sounding like rather a pain the A@#. Anyway, I just drive it sensibly and it gets decent mileage.
    Looking into gettin HID's and LED tail lamps.
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    chibridchibrid Member Posts: 5
    I've owned a Civic Hybrid for six weeks (1500 miles) and love it(even though I'm only averaging about 40 mpg in suburban rush hour driving with A/C).

    I noticed on pg 111 of the Civic Hybrid owners manual the following:

    "When the system is in full AUTO mode, the Auto Idle Stop function will not be activated."

    Further on it states: " The system turns off the ECON mode when you select AUTO, ....."

    However, when my A/C is in the full auto mode and ECON is utilized, the car does auto stop and the A/C shuts down. Manually moving the fan dial gets the fan running, but I don't believe the compressor is on. Am I confused or do I have a problem????
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    cason621cason621 Member Posts: 15
    Riley brings up something I was wondering about - would quicker acceleration actually improve mileage because it uses more of the electric assist?

    The Insight web site mentioned earlier, InsightCentral.net, under "Driving Tips," talks about using full throttle as a good strategy. I'll try it out and let you know.
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    spratt1spratt1 Member Posts: 53
    I have tried the hard acceleration tactic (see #182). It does seem to work. I have gone from 42 mpg to 45 - 47 in the last 150 miles. I guess it really works using up the stored energy.
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    stanizer1stanizer1 Member Posts: 1
    Hi all,
    I just purchased a new civic hybrid a couple weeks ago. I live in LA and commute about 70 miles per day of most highway driving. The civic hybrid is the best car for this sort of driving.

    I bought the car for green reasons, but was contemplating whether or not to get the 2003 accord. I'm glad I bought the hybrid.

    I noticed that driving smoothly and using the gas pedal softly conserves the most fuel in LA traffic. If I drive around 65-70 MPH, then mileage is around 47-48 MPG.

    My current high score is 57.1 mpg in slow-and-go traffic from home to work (about 35 miles). The key seemed to be noticing when traffic is slowing and lifting off the gas pedal enough to get the MPG meter really high, but not lifting so high as to start regenerating the battery (which slows the car). In this was I was able to coast along with traffic for long periods of gentle slowing. Then I would gently accelerate back up when traffic picked up, and repeated this process over and over.

    Has anyone else noticed how useful this technique is in slow-and-go traffic (5-35MPH)?

    So far my MPG ave is around 49. I have 700 miles on the odo.

    Go Hybrids!

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    hybriddriverhybriddriver Member Posts: 23
    First of all, congratulations on your new car! I am glad that you love it. Increasing tire pressure can give you better MPG, but I think the maximum pressure rating for your tires is 44 PSI. Look on the side of them to see. 40 PSI is what I pumped mines up to. They might blow out if I go over 44. In city driving gradual acceleration is actually bad for MPG. The best is full throttle acceleration with low engine RPMs. This minimizes pumping loss of the engine and maximizes electric motor assist. You can see it working on the instantaneous MPG display. This is most easy to do with the 5 speed but can also be done to a certain degree with a CVT at very slow speeds or from a standing stop. I have a CVT. If I am rolling slowly (like 5 MPH) I floor it and after the RPMs reach 3,000 I let off the gas to keep the RPMs low. The whole time the horizontal instantaneous bar graph tells me that I am getting 40+ MPG. If I accelerate slowly, the instantaneous MPG drops way down. For a full explanation and more tips go to: http://www.insightcentral.net under Knowledge Base click on Driving. These are tips for the Insight but many can be applied to the Civic Hybrid. Your average MPG display indicates the MPG since the trip odometer was last reset. If it says 22.2 MPG then that is what it is. Why so low? Probably because other people who drove the car before you bought it did not drive economically. I would just reset it. I don't know about the break in period. The manual says to not change the oil until the first scheduled oil change which is 10,000 miles. Also, I tend not to use the cruise control. I usually keep an eye on the instantaneous bar graph and try to keep it as high as possible.
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    lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    You might want to rethink the tire pressure you are using in your Civic. 51 psi is way too high and very dangerous for such a small light car. I know you are thrilled with the higher mileage you get, but you need to think about your safety. The number listed on the tire is simply the highest pressure your tire can handle before exploding at highway speeds. It is NOT the safe pressure the manufacturer designed based on the car's weight and suspension. It's generally ok to increase the pressure a few psi above the recommended level for better mileage, but 51 has to be at least 15 psi over what Honda recommends. Where this will become dangerous is in wet weather. As you increase the pressure, less tread is in contact with the road, which will lead to skittish behavior in accident avoidance manuevers and a higher chance of hydroplaning and sudden loss of traction. This is even more pronounced on a light car like the Civic. Not to mention the extra road noise and rough ride. Anyway, I would keep your safety in mind when setting your tire pressure and consider lowering it to something safer.
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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    > As you increase the pressure, less tread is in contact
    > with the road, which will lead to skittish behavior
    > in accident avoidance manuevers and a higher chance of
    > hydroplaning and sudden loss of traction.

    That isn't always true ANYMORE. It used to be, but now tires are constructed much better.

    Running my 44 PSI rated tires at 44 PSI hasn't produced any contact change whatsoever. The tread is wearing completely even across the entire width of the tire.

    The buldging effect isn't a problem nowsdays for high-quality tires.

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    lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    You can believe what you want, but the fact is, that running significantly higher psi then what the manufacturer designed for the car will lead to poorer handling characteristics and wet weather traction. Car companies take great pains to find the right combo of comfortable ride, safe handling, and good mileage when they determine tire pressures. Going above or below this means you are making tradeoffs and the safe handling of the car is one of them. This is what I was trying to get across. Not whether the tire will wear evenly. Better tire construction has led to tires that wear more evenly, but they can't offset underinflation or overinflation. A 2500 pound Civic was never meant to ride on tires inflated so highly.

    I myself have played with tire pressure many times to find the combo that suits me. At one time, I thought it was better to inflate much higher then recommended to get better mileage. That is, until I came across very skittish handling characteristics over bumps, constant loss of traction in the rain, and sudden sliding of the tires in turns. I'm just relaying this experience to those that automatically assume inflating the tires to max pressure will have no ill effects.
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    bd21bd21 Member Posts: 437
    You said it perfectly lngtonge18. Both car and tire makers are totally against running higher pressures. Both ride and safety are significantly compromised by not following the recommended pressure. It always amazes me to see how many drivers know more about the characteristics of cars then the engineers that made them. John1701a by all means enjoy your noisy, rough ride, but please put a sign on your car that warns people that you run your tires at extreme pressure. That way when your tire explodes or you lose traction in the rain, we will be clear of you.
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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    > running significantly higher psi then what the manufacturer
    > designed for the car will lead to poorer handling
    > characteristics and wet weather traction.

    Sorry, but the pro's don't agree. The first they tell you in fact is to pump up the tires to the max-cold-spec listed on the sidewall.

    > Car companies take great pains to find the right combo of
    > comfortable ride, safe handling, and good mileage when they
    > determine tire pressures. Going above or below this means
    > you are making tradeoffs...

    Sorry again, but ride/handling/mileage is a tradeoff.

    If your butt doesn't care what it feels and you have a well sound-insulted vehicle, you can increase handling & mileage but simply making the tires harder.

    Perhaps your testing was with a vehicle that wasn't well balanced, so the increased PSI really did throw it off. But with the cars I've done it on, exactly the opposite happened. There was an improvement.

    Do as you please. There's a ton of data backing the high PSI preference is a valid choice if you want it.

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    muttley98muttley98 Member Posts: 1
    I have purchased a 2004 Honda Civic Hybird. I have already registered 1000 miles on it and I am stuck only getting about 38 miles per gallon city and highway.

    What am I doing wrong? What can I do to ensure I am optimizing my mpg?
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    automiteautomite Member Posts: 17
    try watching how you place your foot on the gas pedal. i find when i use the forward part of my foot lightly on the gas, i get a considerably higher mpg reading on the "line" readout. when you use the whole weight of the bottom of your foot, the readings are much worse.
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    rustyshackrustyshack Member Posts: 1
    I drive a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid with manual transmission. I just got my HCH a week ago. I've read the (sparse) owner's manual, and I've read what I can find online.

    I get the feeling that I'm going to need to learn a new driving style if I want to maximize mileage. So, does anyone have any tips?

    I have a few questions so far:

    Has anyone else noticed the shift indicator is a little bizarre? I'll get signals to shift up when I'm driving 30mph in 4th gear.

    Also, autostop only works if I keep the clutch pressed to the floor. If I take my foot off the clutch, the autostop light flashes and beeps.

    Overall, I'm really liking my new car. I especially like how great music sounds with no background engine noise when I'm stuck in traffic.
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    midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Member Posts: 1,978
    Look on the HCH Edmunds forum. Misterme gets excellent mileage in his HCH and has posted many tips on the other message thread. Some of the best in in message #799

    misterme "Honda Civic Hybrid" Jun 21, 2004 12:57pm
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    usbseawolf2000usbseawolf2000 Member Posts: 759
    "actually it's a fun car to drive.


    I find hybrids fun to drive because it involves more senses than driving automatics(The same way some of you prefer manual). The fact that it contains the LCD screen with MPG feedback and amount of kW the regen braking is producing, makes me use more senses to expand my awareness outside the car into the traffic. Planning becomes part of driving because there is a in-your-face reward(higher mpg) system. The whole driving experience was totally different, plus the complete silence at the stop lights.

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    john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    Watching the MPG value climb and playing with the motor to achieve the greatest gain is a blast... especially since (for me anyway) that means I leave the typical person far behind after the light turns green.

    Think of the CVT like a playing a trombone. The instrument has no keys. But if you work the slide right, you get amazing music. The CVT has no gears. But if you work the pedal right, you get amazing efficiency.

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    dselldsell Member Posts: 18
    Here's 2 Months of Fuel Economy data on our 2004 HCH: (note: all numbers are indicated, not calculated - in other words, optimistic!)


    I have a 124 mile-per-day commute along the coast of California. Moderate hills, mostly freeway/highway driving. I have over 7k miles on the car now.

    My experiences will echo most seen here and elsewhere on the web:

    1) "Sweet Spots" exist on the speedometer from what I can tell: 50mph, 61mph, 71mph get the best fuel efficiency. Most speed limits here are 65mph in Ventura County, CA. I get a lot of SUVs angrily tailgating my new Civic (Grr!). 65mph on the cruise control gets the meter down to 40mpg consistently.

    2) You can get better mileage than the cruise control offers if you play with the accelerator... as in taking your foot off just a hair. Most of the time the car will not decelerate but you can gain a bar or two on the meter. This gets tiresome on long commutes though.

    3) Gas pumps are not accurate. I know the indicated mileage on the Civic is usually optimistic, but one of us needs to study how accurate gas-pumps are. I've noticed weird numbers from time to time.

    4) Tire pressure: A friend has told me to increase my tire pressure for better fuel economy. I have not done this yet. =)

    My indicated life-mpg (Trip A for my car) is 48mpg! I have been fairly careful!

    So far the car costs me ~$0.05/mile in fuel. Not too shabby.
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    gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Welcome to the Forum. That is a good accounting on your mileage. I think I would be happy with high 40s for an overall average. I think I would experiment with tire pressure. That seems to be a big factor in getting the best mileage.. Keep us posted on your car and how it holds up under heavy usage. Is your Civic the CVT or Manual transmission?
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    mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    Thanks Dsell!

    My data since March can be found here:

    I'm currently just above 26K miles.
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    dselldsell Member Posts: 18
    Ill inflate the tires in time for the next tank (sometime around wednesday). More data to follow.

    My Civic is a CVT... whatever makes the commute more comfortable =)
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    dselldsell Member Posts: 18
    Nice #'s misterme. I'm envious of you non-California folks who have the 12+ gallon tanks. The less trips to the gas station the better!
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    gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Nice #'s misterme. I'm envious of you non-California folks who have the 12+ gallon tanks. The less trips to the gas station the better!

    Do you mean the CA Civic has a smaller tank than the rest of the world? If so what was the logic behind that?
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    buddbudd Member Posts: 5
    I have found that my 2004 HCH with 8300 miles will not shut down the motor at stop lights when I am running the heater. I have tried it on auto heat but the only thing that works is to shut off the heater as I come up to the light and then it will work. I also notice that if I turn the heater back on sitting at the light the engine stays off but the heater will start to work (auto setting). It didn't do this with the air-conditioning during the summer. Is this normal? Any help would be much appricated. Budd
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    There are a few reqirements to be met before AutoStop will activate, one is a warmed up engine.


    "Is there a way to get the Autostop feature to work with the ECON button off."


    Your ECONO button is essentially your AutoStop on-off switch and becomes active whenever your blower selector is not OFF.


    By default your AC compressor always comes ON when you select DEFROST.


    By default your ECONO button does nothing while on DEFROST. (AutoStop disabled)


    You can change these defaults.

    One can change the ECONO button default so the car will go into AutoStop while in DEFROST mode.


    Here are some instructions:


    The procedure to enable the ability to turn off the A/C when in defrost mode is:

    1) Turn the vent control (top knob) to "face" (one to the right of


    2) Turn the temperature knob all the way to cold (left)

    3) Turn the fan control to "auto"

    4) Hold the A/C and recirculate buttons down.

    5) Insert the key into the ignition, turn to "Start" (or II)

    6) Hold the buttons down for 7 seconds. The A/C light will blink,

    then stop.

    7) Release buttons.


    To switch back to default, repeat the procedure above.


    To allow "Econ" to be used, the procedure above is exactly the same, but you hold all 3 buttons in for step 4 until the Econ blinks.


    Hope this helps
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    midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Member Posts: 1,978
    Actually Larsb you information is the best that has been posted in all of the Hybrid columns in the last month or so. Thanks.


    ....<removed by me so the post will remain> ...


    Any Larsb, thanks again for your excellent post.


    MidCow ( back to hibernate mode:)
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    You are very welcome, hope it helps someone. I have this particular info documented in my personal HCH database of tips on my own computer, so I can refer to it anytime and easily without depending on a website to be up and running......
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    thekingtheking Member Posts: 107
    Would you be so kind as to offer your Honda Civic Hybrid tips to present owners and people like myself who are pondering a future purchase.Dealers really do not know all they should know about the attributes of the Hybrid !
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    buddbudd Member Posts: 5
    Thank you. Very helpful. People like you are the reason this site is so informative.
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Getting max MPG from a Hybrid takes a "re-learning" process in your driving style, for most people. You can't "just get in and drive" and expect EPA numbers or higher. But with a little re-training of yourself, you CAN do just that.


    Generally, owners in warm mild weather locations will get better mileage than you people in cold and snowy states.


    Everyone's MPGs starts out low till they get the hang of it. There are a million gas savings tips here just search around.


    If you have nice, generally flat roads, use cruise control every chance you get.


    In the city I accelerate very slowly, and if I'm alone in the car and nobody is behind me I accelerate slowly.


    I'll pop it into neutral and coast to the red light 3 blocks ahead - usually it turns green before I get to it.


    Leave plenty of space in front of your car when traffic allows it. If someone pulls in front, remain safely back. You can reasonable expect your brakes to last 100K if you take it easy like this.


    Pretend you have no brakes as you drive and that will help too.


    The MPG you get will be limited by the changes you make to your driving style.


    Coast, Coast, Coast. I have a manual tranny, so it is Oh So very easy for me to just pop the tranny into neutral when I have some speed built up and see that I have an open space in front of me an no one behind me to slow down. I usually coast in neutral when I need to keep my speed up because the car rolls much better out of gear. If I need to boost the battery or if I know I am going to be coasting only for a block or so, I leave it in gear to get the charge boost, because the charge increases when you coast in gear.


    If you can drive as slow as 30 mph, do so and put on the cruise. In my manual tranny, I put it in fourth gear at 30 mph instead of 5th and it gets better mileage on the real-time meter. If I get up to 36 mph, I put it in 5th gear. Both 30 mph in 4th and 36-42 mph in 5th are the best for high MPG readings on the real-time meter. Yesterday in only a span of less than two miles at 30 mph I saw the real-time meter stay mostly 65-85 mpg on a flat road. I am always careful to avoid slowing anyone down who is zooming up behind me. I usually have three lanes to choose from so thus far I have avoided any Road Rage incidents !!


    At your first oil change (I would do it around 5000) change to synthetic oil if you can. It allows for less friction in the engine and you can get a 1-3 mpg boost from the added efficiency of the reduced friction. In a 1997 Suburban, I went from 17 mpg to 19 mpg just from the oil change alone.


    Drive like there is an egg between your foot and the gas pedal and never accellerate harshly unless it is required for safety purposes.


    Learn how to use Auto-Stop and milk it for every stop it's got !! It's easier in the manual tranny, because I can stop behind someone and take it out of gear and if I have to creep up a car length or so, the Auto Stop will kick in again after I creep up when I put it back in neutral. I don't know how the CVT handles that sort of thing. If all else fails and Auto Stop fails to engage if you have to creep up, TURN OFF THE IGNITION while you wait for the light to finish. These cars do not have traditional starters, they are started by a "starter generator" powered by the electric battery system, so it's OK to start it a few extra times a month in the effort to save fuel and reduce idling emissions, right? Right.


    Avoid A/C usage when you can, as it KILLS the MPG. I had a tank at the end of the summer and I was at 650 miles and 55.6 MPG because I managed to avoid the A/C the whole time on that tank.


    Keep your windows rolled UP when you can to avoid extra wind drag.


    Try at all costs to avoid getting into a situation where you must drive faster than 60-65 MPH. These speeds will MURDER your MPG.


    To improve mileage, you may want to run your tires at 40 PSI or higher when cold. This is a philosophy which is hotly debated around the web, so do your research before this tweak - there are pluses and minuses for this modification.


    Hope this might help you. My MPG has gone steadily up, but I think I have just about peaked on my driving techniques. I would be shocked if I can ever get more than about 55 for a tankful with my short commute. I'm just past 5 months ownership now and my average is almost up to 47.5 MPG now. Good luck!!
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    yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Hi larsb


    Thanks for you fuel-saving tips. I have taken

    a printout of your message.


    My suggestion, try avoiding crowded roads whenever

    possible. While going from Virginia to New Jersey

    I avoid I-95 and instead take Rt-15, I83, I81, I78

    which is 40 miles more, but no tolls and traffic-free.


    My Olds-Cutlass which gives 16 MPG in City gives

    26 MPG (while driving at 70 MPH). Also no tolls

    and I gain around 9-10 bucks for 1 way.


    Had HCH come in 2000-Q1 I must have bought it.
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    gfedchakgfedchak Member Posts: 37
    Thanks - just printed this out!


    This is why I'm here. To read this, not to read that a Mazda3 is far superior because it comes standard with fatter tires and an electromagnetic digital cigarette lighter.
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    blueiedgodblueiedgod Member Posts: 2,798
    I'll pop it into neutral and coast to the red light 3 blocks ahead - usually it turns green before I get to it...

    .....Coast, Coast, Coast. I have a manual tranny, so it is Oh So very easy for me to just pop the tranny into neutral when I have some speed built up and see that I have an open space in front of me an no one behind me to slow down. I usually coast in neutral when I need to keep my speed up because the car rolls much better out of gear.


    Doesn't that defeat the whole regenrative braking and battery charging idea?
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    quote blueiedgod-"Doesn't that defeat the whole regenrative braking and battery charging idea?"-end quote


    The coasting is better for longer flat distances at speeds of 40 mph+ when I can see that I'm going to be stopping in the next 1/2 to 3/4 mile.


    If I need to charge the battery with regen, I cannot do a lost of coasting in neutral. But to coast in gear creates a lot of engine drag (although it increases regen a lot) and slows the car down much faster.


    In cases where my battery charge is below 25 percent, I keep the coasting to a minimum while I spend time to recharge the battery.
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    zodiac2004zodiac2004 Member Posts: 458
    I don't think coasting in neutral is such a good idea. Something to do with lubrication, not exactly sure what.

    Maybe the experts can chime in here.
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Coasting in neutral in a manual tranny is fine, not a problem. I got 323,000 miles out of a 1980 Nissan 200SX and I coasted in neutral for MANY of those miles....:)


    You do want to avoid coasting with the clutch all the way down (called "riding the clutch"), as this will cause needless wear and tear on the clutch. When stopped at a traffic light, put the gearshift into the neutral position and release the clutch rather than sitting with the clutch engaged.
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    mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    "Doesn't that defeat the whole regenrative braking and battery charging idea?"


    It would, but only if the battery needs charging :-}

    If you have coasted a long way and-or-have been in lean burn, you haven't been using the battery so it is usually charged.


    My co-worker says that he had a 91 Civic and had upper 40's to lower 50's MPG.

    Not sure what happened but today's Civic at


    http://automobiles.honda.com/models/specifications_full_specs.asp- - - - ?ModelName=Civic+Sedan&Category=3


    shows only 32 / 38 MPG as EPA estimates.

    Wonder what happened to the missing ~20MPG?


    I've heard several ideas, such as emission requirements, fuel quality and even conspiracy!
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    refieldsrefields Member Posts: 18
    Just an FYI if anyone is interested:


    I put in 88 octane instead of 86 (regular here) and my milege jumped from 47 mpg to 54 mpg.


    I asked around and the speculation is that the HCH high compression engine has an antiknock sensor and is retarding the timing on lesser grade gas - which cuts into efficiency, power, and mileage.


    By switching to a higher grade gas, the timing can go back where it wants to be and the engine gets more powerful and efficient. Hence better mileage.


    As to cost, it costs $0.10 extra for 88 over 86 octane but the mileage difference is the equivalent of saving $0.30. Net savings - $0.20/gallon and just that much less CO2 pumped into the atmosphere.


    If you think you should be getting better mileage in the Hybrid than you are, try using a better grade of gas and see if that doesn't kick it up a notch.
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    cdoldcdold Member Posts: 34
    "Do you mean the CA Civic has a smaller tank than the rest of the world? If so what was the logic behind that?"


    The ULEV models have a plastic tank that is expanded in place above the axle, filling all the available space. The "CA" model SULEV has a steel tank, as one of the requirements is "zero evaporative emissions", which the plastic tank can't sustain. The steel tank doesn't fit as well into the available space, and is 11 gallons.
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    cdoldcdold Member Posts: 34
    "To allow "Econ" to be used, the procedure above is exactly the same, but you hold all 3 buttons in for step 4 until the Econ blinks."


    I don't understand what you mean by the last part. What is the three-button setup that you mention, verses the two-button setup?


    There are two things that bug me about the default. No idle stop when I have defrost on, which this solves, and when I turn defrost off, the A/C stays on, which costs mileage.


    What I would really like is to be able to force an idle-stop. I'm in heavy traffic, and move forward a little bit, which starts the motor, and then it doesn't shut off again. I'd like to push the econ button to shut the engine off.
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    mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    I also wish the AutoStop would come on in those instances.


    If I am in that situation I'll put it in N, set the hand brake if neccessary and click the key back once.
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    quote cdold-"What I would really like is to be able to force an idle-stop. I'm in heavy traffic, and move forward a little bit, which starts the motor, and then it doesn't shut off again. I'd like to push the econ button to shut the engine off."-end quote


    With the Manual tranny HCH, you CAN do just that - inch up then have the Autostop kick in again after you apply the brake and the clutch again.


    That's a big advantage for the manual tranny drivers.


    That is most likely one of the reasons the manual tranny HCH actually performs as well as or BETTER in City driving than the CVT in real world driving, although rated lower by EPA for City.
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    oakstockoakstock Member Posts: 2
    I purchased a HCH a few months back and at first was a little disappointed in the gas mileage. I live in San Francisco, so it being a city with lots of stopping and starting (and hills!) made me question if I made the right decision because around town I get 33 to 34 MPG.

    I just took it out on a real road trip and became overwhelmed with taking on a new driving technique that the car appears to have been designed for to use to economize fuel. Due to the VTEK engine this car can seriously coast along roads once speed has been built up. Other cars have a great deal of resistance due to engine compression even when not accelerating. It seemed to me that if you accelerate it a bit while coming out of the coast keeping it at a steady speed you can really get the most out of your fuel. I liken this to riding a bicycle, if you are coasting on a bike and see a hill coming up, you will peddle a bit more to build up momentum. OK so not rocket science I know but it is none the less a different approach to driving, it's more like gliding. Now my question is that it seems the "sweet spot" on getting the best MPG is to keep from going into "assist" mode too often on the IMA gauge. Is this what others have experienced? Especially Larsb, who somehow is getting upper 60 MPG.
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    larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I WISH I were getting upper 60 MPG !!! :)

    I have put almost exactly 9000 miles on my HCH since July 12th, and I have an overall average of 47.7 MPG. The best I have done is 93.1 MPG for a 3.1 mile stretch, right after a fillup.

    Yes, there are "sweet spots" that achieve highest MPG which you can find with experimentation.

    With a fully warmed up car, for example, just last night I refueled and on the 12 mile trip back to my house, on city streets with speed limits ranging from 35-45 MPH, I was able to maintain 70.1 MPG for the 12 miles by the time I pulled into the garage.

    So these cars are very capable, once you learn how to play the game !!
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    mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    I&#146;ve only been to San Francisco Airport a couple of times as a hub to Asia, but have seen the &#147;Streets of San Francisco&#148; & loved those jumping car chases! ;)
    Given what I&#146;ve seen on TV your 34MPG is likely beating most everything on the road.
    I&#146;ve had my CVT HCH for 13 months and 33K miles and have a lifetime average of 58MPG. Average last summer was 61-62, this winter like last is 56-57MPG.
    My best segment is 69.8MPG over my 46 mile daily commute done last month, I usually roll in @ 60-66MPG.
    I&#146;m not driving normally to get this, I&#146;m practicing the advice of the Insight hypermilers (The ones getting 80-110MPG) and am still learning my automobile. I&#146;m not driving slowly, unless one thinks speeds around the limits are slow.
    My wife has almost no interest in driving for efficiency and still gets 45-50.
    I&#146;m not sure of the length of your commute but the longer the better. If you are taking 2-3 mile trips, each time starting her up from stone cold you&#146;re not going to get stellar results no matter what you drive. Here in GA the day temps have been 40-60 typically and I can pick up the kids @ 2 schools with all the traffic, &#147;medium&#148; hills and get around 55MPG over the 4 miles round trip.

    I don&#146;t want to make a huge, long post but please let me list a few things that waste fuel, most of these also apply to all vehicles in general:

    a. Old habits. Things like automatically adding gas on inclines, curves, etc. Eliminate these and only do what needs to be done, and in measure.
    b. Running late. Leave 10 minutes earlier than usual. You&#146;ll have a more pleasant ride and not tend to mash the gas to catch up.
    c..Exessive acceleration. The more gradual the increase in speed, the more savings.
    d. Accelerating on inclines. Accelerate on flat sections or declines instead. Don&#146;t accelerate on hills unless absolutely necessary.
    e. Don&#146;t nudge ahead at stops Keep your Auto Stop activated.
    f. Tailgating. Keep a large traffic buffer to the car ahead. This way you can plan your action well in advance. A great place to set up your buffer is when beginning from a stop. You&#146;ll save gas while accelerating too.
    g.Keep momentum Drive like your brakes don&#146;t work.
    h. Keep your speed under 65MPH. Wind resistance really takes its toll when going over 65. I use the right lanes on the freeway. &#147;Sweet spot&#148; for efficiency is 40-60MPH. Reduce your speed in a headwind: you can increase your speed with a tailwind.
    I. Activate your AC compressor only when needed, including defroster. Don&#146;t just keep it on all the time. When you do need the compressor, let the weight of the car help run it by using it while going downhill.
    j. Keep your headlights switched on during your day drive. This keeps the &#147;hidden charging&#148; activated.
    k. Keep off the Assist as much as possible. You won&#146;t loose MPG to charge the battery.
    l. Unless you live in a very flat terrain, keep the cruise control off. Gradually raise the momentum of the car (speed) on the base of a hill and only use enough fuel for a gradual slow-down at the peak. Better yet, if possible hold the foot feed fixed over a segment of road. Let the car slow going up the hill, and pick back up on the other side, still holding your gas in the same fixed position.
    This is sometimes called &#147;Driving with the load&#148;.
    m. Get up off of those soggy, spongy tires! I keep them inflated to max sidewall cold pressure, but this is a debate all in itself.
    n. Find the best route to maximize your MPG on routine trips. Find a way that doesn&#146;t add significant time or mileage over the trip.
    o. Keep your instant MPG over your average MPG and your average will increase. The larger the margin over the average the better.
    p. Find the right amount of gas needed to maintain speed on a flat road. Back off the gas to gain 1-2 bars of the instant MPG gauge. If you&#146;re still keeping speed you&#146;ve just gained 8MPG over that segment.

    Well I guess that&#146;s it for now, any comments or suggestions?
    All of this (And more not mentioned) may seem a lot to do or remember but begins to be routine. You can develop this in skill so what you are doing is transparent to other drivers…you don&#146;t stand out at all. I&#146;ve applied these to a small degree in our &#146;01 Grand Caravan as well and so far gained 5-6MPG. That may not sound like much but is a milestone in that pig.

    Others are doing better than me and my 58 lifetime pales to their ~70MPG figures.

    Another great suggestion would be to visit sites like Insight Central or green hybrid and converse with the Insight hyper-milers on their techniques and then apply them. I personally thank Wayne (xcel) for the help he has given me.

    So much for huge, long posts! :-)}
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    rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Thanks for the long post, it was helpful. Can you elaborate on j. Keep your headlights switched on during your day drive. This keeps the &#147;hidden charging&#148; activated ?
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    mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    Thanks fruth.
    The HCH & Insight battery recharges 3 ways:

    1. Brake regen.
    2. Coasting charging with the foot off of the gas pedal.
    3. When the battery's charge gets below a certain point, 4 green charge bars appear while you drive for a recharge.
    4. Hidden charging.... #3 above will bring it a few bars above 1/2, then the bars go out and it appears the charge has stopped.
    "Hidden charging" then comes in to bring the battery up to it's max (Short of 2-3 bars).
    Engine drag is much lighter, and the only evidence of it working is every mile or so another green SOC bar will appear.

    This is the problem I was having:

    I start off with a 90% battery charge.
    A few hills to pull and it drops a couple of bars.
    I drive for 5 miles but no hidden charge.
    A couple of more hills, a couple of bars drop off.
    Miles pass and sitll no hidden charge.
    Couple more hills and now I'm down below half charge.
    Now I enter the freeway after 25 miles and the charge drops to about 1/3, still no green charge bars or hidden charging.
    I begin to pull the first freeway hill which drops it down to 1/4 and now green bars light and I'm charging hard, seriously reducing freeway MPG for miles on end.

    However, strangely, at night hidden charging always worked great.

    Wayne (xcel) helped me with a tip from the folks over at Insight Central, in which the Insight charging system is connected to the headlights.

    I've found the HCH is the same. Drive with the headlights on and hidden charging will always work to bring your battery back up. Unless pulling a 10 mile long mountain pass (Or similar) the SOC usually will not go below 1/2-2/3, and will always work to bring itself back up.
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    gfedchakgfedchak Member Posts: 37
    Thanks for the interesting post!

    I'm like your wife; I just drive without caring about mileage in our CVT HCH. I'm a fairly boring or conservative driver. I got 47 mpg in warm weather, and am getting 41 now with Blizzak snow tires (NOT low rolling resistance!) plowing through snow and slush, with the auto-stop seldom kicking in, since it has been below 32 degrees F. since December.

    I'm DELIGHTED! May all the world drive these things!!
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    bbb99bbb99 Member Posts: 58
    Could someone recommend a good HCH tire and what PSI is best for gas mileage? I live in Texas so it will be 90F most of the time. I hate this heat.
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