Honda Civic Hybrid vs Toyota Prius

jdmcmahjdmcmah Member Posts: 9
edited April 2014 in Honda

I am considering both the HCH and the Prius. In my opinion, they are both great for equal and opposite reasons.

I feel as if the HCH has the look and feel of a little sports car. It's got great lines and offers a lot of power and great FE.

I feel as if the Prius looks and handles more like an escape pod- but is "smarter". It has an electric only mode and the climate system runs off the electric system- so you're not giving up FE for things like air. Plus it has the 8 year/100k mile warranty on the entire hybrid system- not just the battery.

I have gotten two dealers working over-time trying to out bid each other. Between the 500 more I'd get in a tax credit with HCH, and the 3.9% financing I'd get with the Prius, I'm literally saving 13-dollars and some change by getting the Civic.

Any owners out there have any insight as to which might be the best value?



  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    I like the looks of the Civic, though the Prius looks cool as well.

    The Prius is more efficiently designed re usable interior space. It's a "mid-sized" car with an exterior about the same as a "compact car".

    On paper, the Prius gets better mileage. You'd have to check on Civic boards to see what owners are actually getting. Prius owners get between 40 and 50 MPG depending on how hard they work at it. Winter mileage is worse, of course, as is very hot weather mileage.

    I think this comparison may boil down to which one -you- feel better in.
  • karkuskarkus Member Posts: 11
    They're both great values ! I own a Prius and my coworker an HCH. We get fairly similar MPG (50s in summer, mid-high 40s in winter), and both cars have been very reliable.

    I think the difference comes down to personal preference and utility :
    If you want a more typical looking sedan-type car, get the HCH.

    If you want more cargo utility, get the Prius. The fold down seats create a cargo space that seems impossibly large. For example, you can put a medium adult mountain bike in the back without even taking the wheels off. Or you can take off wheels and fit 3 bikes in. With the seats up, the Prius also has more legroom in the back.

    The Prius says "I drive a hybrid". The HCH says "I drive a normal car, that just happens to be a hybrid and gets great mileage". Your choice. :)
  • ukr2ukr2 Member Posts: 3
    Toyota offering 0% Financing for 24 months until the end of Feb.

    Get the Prius.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "Toyota offering 0% Financing for 24 months until the end of Feb.

    Get the Prius. "

    Only if you can afford $1000 per month car payments... or have a significant down payment.
  • mbmurphy777mbmurphy777 Member Posts: 1
    There are some significant differences.

    The Prius is relatively safe, but the HCH is safer (by testing standards).

    The HCH handles better (I have not driven the Touring Prius, though) and is more stable at highway speed (much higher speeds through slalom courses in tests... again vs. the standard model Prius).

    The seat in the HCH is more adjustable (goes up and down) and the steering wheel telescopes in and out (very convenient actually).

    The Prius does seem to get slightly better mileage overall (~42 to ~46 mpg.. about 10% better) but this is more apparent in the city (~40 vs ~48mpg... about 20%). That is based on the new EPA numbers, and it is pretty significant, esp. in the city.

    The Prius is certainly more cargo friendly (can't fold down seats in HCH) and seems to have more useable interior room (subjectively).

    HCH tax credits $2100, Prius ~$790.

    Personally, I'm pretty torn. I do like the better safety, handling (which really translates into even more safety), and the fact that my wife can make adjustments so that the car will fit her better (seat height, steering wheel telescoping). But 20% city mileage (most of what I do) is significant.

    I think it will come down to the deal I can get and the trade in value the dealer gives me. I will shop around as well.
  • caazcaaz Member Posts: 209
    Which car is QUIETER?
  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    The Prius tax credit likely won't apply this late in the year because Congress limits the full credit to 60,000 units. Once Toyota sells that many, the tax credit gets cut in half. So watch out for that.

    Honda sells fewer than 60,000 HCHs every year, so every buyer gets the full $2,100 credit.

    I just purchased the Civic a few months ago. I chose it over the Prius for the extra leg room and because I prefer the Civic's body style.

    If Toyota has 0% for 24 months, that's pretty good. It would cost you about $950/month. Honda has 2.9% for 36 months. With zero down, it's $650/month. That's what I'm paying on my '07 without the optional navigation system (I didn't think it was worth $2,000).

    Here's my latest mpg reading:

    That's mixed city/hwy driving, 65 mph highway speed, a/c all the time, and tires at 36 psi.

    So you can definitely get EPA rated mileage from the HCH.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    A little correction. The 60,000 in sales is a total for all hybrids sold by the automaker. in the case of Toyota it includes Lexus. Toyota had sold 60,000 early last year so was cut in half in September of 2006, and cut again this Spring. There will be no more tax credits for ToyLex hybrids, either now or after the 1st of September. It is not renewed each year.

    You are correct that Honda has not sold 60,000 hybrids so they still qualify for the full incentive.
  • 46jimbo46jimbo Member Posts: 12
    Which car is quieter?

    I don't know the Prius, but I own a 2006 HCH. I'm amazed at how quiet the motor is. One would think that a small 1300 cc engine would get very buzzy at high revs. But no, it's incredibly quiet and just purrs like a kitten. The regular Civic lets out a throaty roar when you floor the accelerator, but not the Hybrid.

    There is, however, a fair amount of road noise that you hear, depending on the type of road surface. Sometimes it's pronounced, other times I don't notice it.
  • kath5kath5 Member Posts: 3
    If you do a lot of traveling, you might want to compare the trunk space between the two cars. My husband and I just traveled from Boston to Nashville in our HCH. We loved the car, the nav was great, but only one large suitcase fit in the trunk. It wasn't a problem for us, but if we wanted to travel with another couple it would not have worked. Our son has a Prius, which he loves, and the storage space is great.
  • caazcaaz Member Posts: 209
    Since you have a civic and your son a prius, which one is quieter...which one has more comfortable seats...and which one gets the best gas mileage??
  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    Both the Civic and the Prius emit 69 dBA @ 70 mph.

    Seat comfort is subjective. Some people complain about the Civic's headrests, but I like them. I also like the extra leg room in the Civic.

    Gas mileage is also subjective because driving style is a HUGE factor -- 20%-30% difference. But the Prius is rated 4 mpg better than the Civic Hybrid in combined city/hwy driving -- roughly 8% better.

    So the choice comes down to a matter of personal preference, mostly on body styles. Besides the extra leg room, I chose the HCH because I preferred the way it looks ove the Prius. Others prefer the more 'techno' look of the Toyota.

    However, the hybrid tax credit is another factor. Congress limits the credit on each model to 60,000 units per year. Honda sells fewer than that, so all HCH buyers get the full credit. But Toyota sells 100,000+ Priuses, so almost half the buyers get a reduced credit or no credit.

    So a buyer would have to weigh that factor along with the sales price and financing offers between Honda and Toyota to determine the best deal.
  • wannahybridwannahybrid Member Posts: 2
    Honda has 2.9% for 36 months. With zero down, it's $650/month. That's what I'm paying on my '07 without the optional navigation system (I didn't think it was worth $2,000).

    Is this true as of today? I have only seen special APR's for honda vehicles as described on edmunds rebates/incentives page, and it does not seem to mention any civics, let alone the hybrid.
    Is there fairly predictable Honda sales activity during the July/August '08 model push and/or just before the new year?

    Thanks much.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,114
    A reporter would like to speak to current or past Honda hybrid owners that now own a Toyota Prius or will be switching to one in the future. Please respond to [email protected] no later than July 16, 2007 with your daytime contact information.


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    I bought mine in May. I just checked, and I see that the Civic is no longer listed in the "special offers" section, so I guess that's over.

    Honda may have discontinued the 2.9% financing because they had record sales of the Civic in May. No doubt, those sales were spurred by $3 gas along with low financing. Whether they offer it again at the end of the year probably depends on the price of gasoline.
  • rogerb46rogerb46 Member Posts: 9
    I am very happy with my 2003 HCH, just coming on 50k and 40 MPG overall (mainly due to under-inflated tires for a long time - I had health issues and wasn't checking). At the time the Prius was more expensive, a longer wait, and didn't look like a "real car".

    However I might consider a new Prius at this stage, since Toyota technology is capable of being modified to recharge by plugging-in. Haven't researched this thoroughly - apparently it is expensive, and possibly not even available right now. Also, the "look" has improved, and (I think) the price diff is about the same.

    Leg-room is a biggy for me (I'm 6'2"), so will have to check it out.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    They are both nice cars (they ARE hybrids, after all ;) ). I love my Prius, after 6 weeks now. There seems to be lots of leg room, but the Civic has more adjustable seats, more comfortable, many people say. It's a smaller car. The Prius is more adaptable, being a hatchback. The Prius steering wheel is only height adjustable, not length.

    Lots of things to consider. Try renting one for a few days. Nice way to avoid "buyers remorse". If you do rent one, be sure to check the tire pressures. The Prius stock tires are poor, and the car is very sensitive to tire pressure. I use 40 front and 38 rear.

    So far my overall average is 48 MPG, exactly what the new EPA figures say I should see. Wow.

    At this time I don't think the plug-in kit is very practical. It's $10,000 or so and you loose lots of interior room and gain a lot of weight. I'd say waiting for a car that's designed this way would be a better option.
  • autumncoolautumncool Member Posts: 1
    I like HC and was almost going to make the purchase, but just heard that Honda is going to stop producing HCH. Does it mean that it will be much wiser to switch to Prius?
    Thanks for telling.
  • 1stpik1stpik Member Posts: 495
    Honda will keep making the Civic Hybrid for years. You probably heard that the ACCORD hybrid will go bye-bye next year, which is true.
  • muttlovermuttlover Member Posts: 3
    I was actually looking at the Rav4 and test drove the Prius first, and loved it. So now I am thinking of getting the Touring package #6. I did not consider the Civic Hybrid because I had a 1998 Civic right now and a bit tired of driving the Civic. Decisions.
  • joseph42sjoseph42s Member Posts: 13
    Is it true that the civic hybrid doesnt run ac while at stop and the prius does? this is an important deciding factor where I live.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Member Posts: 1,015
    The Prius A/C runs off the high voltage battery, so will work whenever the car is on (even when stopped at a light with the engine shut off). It's a very nice A/C system, in that it uses a variable speed compressor, which is a lot more efficient than running the compressor at full speed all the time.

    I can't comment on how the Civic Hybrid system works. Perhaps over on the Civic Hybrid forum.
  • 46jimbo46jimbo Member Posts: 12
    The current Civic Hybrid runs the AC while stopped. But I believe this was not the case with the earlier version.
  • grumpy64505grumpy64505 Member Posts: 4
    That is correct. My 2002 would shut off the air at stop lights when the engine stopped. My 2006 continues to cool even after the engine stops.

    I really like this as now I don't lift my foot off the break to get the engine to run so I can have A/C. Nice improvement.
  • grumpy64505grumpy64505 Member Posts: 4
    We looked at both the HCH and the Prius prior to purchasing our 2006 HCH. We traded in a 2002 HCH.

    One of the major things that really kept me with the Honda is the resell value. As one dealer said, Honda does very little leasing of the HCH therefore their resale value is higher than the Prius that has a lot of leases.

    I don't know if that has an effect, but it made since and when I researched it, it seemed as though that was true.

    Plus we were so happy with our 2002 HCH that we stuck with the 2006. I really liked the color we got. It is the Magnetic Pearl with the dark blue interior. We had the interior protection done on it and it is very easy to keep looking good.
  • catringoscatringos Member Posts: 3
    I've been torn between the two for a while myself. Here is my analysis:

    The Prius has better acceleration (0-60 in 9.8s for the Prius vs. 11.7s for the HCH according to Consumer Reports).

    The Prius is more fuel efficient (44 mpg overall for the Prius vs. 37 mpg overall for the HCH - again according to Consumer Reports).

    Stability Control is not available on the HCH, but it optional on the non-base Prius models.

    Prius has many more optionals available than the HCH does.

    The HCH is a cleaner car according to the EPA SmartWay Ranking because the Prius produces slightly more pollution (

    Auxilary input for I-Pod and Cruise Control are standard for the HCH, but not for the base model of the Prius.

    There is still a $1100 federal tax credit for the HCH, there is no longer a federal tax credit for the Prius.

    I hope this helps you with your decision even though it hasn't helped me with mine yet...
  • wistlowistlo Member Posts: 13
    We are considering a new car to supplant our 2001 Civic EX. It's got 170,000 miles and has had a flukey engine sensor fail twice six months apart, unfortunately both times in the presence of in-laws. They are are Not Happy that their month-old granddaughter is traveling around in that car.

    I'm 6'5 and have sat briefly in both cars. CIvic seemed to have a smidge more front legroom, but as with all cars, driving position is knees up for me. Prius seems to win the trunk-luggage space hands (and literally, rear seats) down.

    Local dealers (New Orleans area) are quoting around MSRP for Honda, and MSRP plus $1000-4000 for Prius. Prius has 3 month wait, put $500 down and expect a car in 3 months. Civic is catch as catch can, and all Civics have 1.9% financing available for another month or so.

    Also, I was told no new 2008 Honda Fit orders are being taken, but not yet taking any for the new 2009 model.
  • seiker0808seiker0808 Member Posts: 4
    The deal breaker for me was that I couldn't get the HCH in leather. I really wanted leather. So I am getting a Prius with leather at the end of this week. But I did really like how the HCH drove.
  • FrungyFrungy Member Posts: 5
    I'm in the north bay area of California (sonoma county) and took a look at a Prius and Civic Hybrid. I liked the Prius for its trunk space and fold down seats, and disliked it for its terrible rear window- there's seriously a bar right across the middle, and the window is already tiny. I liked the Civic because it's just like a regular Civic for its feel, and disliked it because it has little cargo room and the seats do not fold down in the back. I liked how both had pretty good standard features. However, the dealbreaker for me was the pricetag. While the MSRP for both cars appears to be similar on Edumnds, Toyota was charging me 23k base price without tax for option 2, and no special financing (so 5-6%). Honda had the civic hybrid for 23k out the door (with tax, DMV etc), and is now offering 2-3% financing, AND there's still the 1k tax credit. It was a no brainer for me... it boiled down to 24k total for the civic vs. something upwards of 28-29k for the prius after financing/tax credits.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "The deal breaker for me was that I couldn't get the HCH in leather. I really wanted leather. "

    I'm pretty sure that a dealer could add leather for around 2K, and it would be a better job than most factory leather. My Honda dealer offered it to me with my 2003 CR-V, and it would have been included in the 36K/3 year warranty.
  • jcook123jcook123 Member Posts: 1
    Nice Analysis, thanks

    Here are a few additional items to ad to your list that I found on an autoMedia article called Civic vs Prius: Compact Hybrid Comparison

    * The EPA considers the Prius a Midsize Hatchback vs the Civic as a Compact Sedan. This is based on interior volume.
  • speedboyspeedboy Member Posts: 2
    Compliments to Frungy for this simple yet important analysis. I too went through the same dilemma recently. Looks are a matter of personal choice. Although I travel more often and require a car with better boot space the trade off was with the price. The guys at hendrickcars did a good job in explaining the cost difference. I am glad I bought the HCH.
  • dapastaguydapastaguy Member Posts: 1
    I have the Prius, my co oworker the Honda. Both behave similarly as far as fuel mileage and handling. 4 things make the Prius the better car:
    1. The ability to run up to 40 mph on the battery. Today I traveled 1.75 miles mostly on battery, with the MFD reading 99.9 mpg. Of course I was on the side roads, and was running 25 mph BUT it was still an amazing feat
    2. The MFD - amazing. Even in my package 2 it is an outstanding feature.
    3. The Smart Key and the HomeLink mirror. No more house keys for me! I still need 1 to get into the office but I could laways just sit on the porch and wait for a co worker to show up, but they usually are there after 9, and I get there around 8:15.
    4. The amount of interior space. I traded a 2001 Ford Sport Trac for the Prius and I now have more rear passenger room. The HCH is very small feeling inside, and the truck is also small.

    Get the Prius
  • targettuningtargettuning Member Posts: 1,371
    Regarding the ability of the Prius to run on the electric motor only. We rented a Prius over the Memorial day week end and part of my travels included a (admittedly downhill) run on a very rural 2 lane road during which we traveled between 9 and 10 miles on the electric motor alone. Even when the strictly downhill part ended and the road leveled off we continued to drive on the electric motor an additional 2-3 miles on this same rural road. I was impressed using NO gasoline for probably 12-13 miles.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Member Posts: 936
    The Prius is a totally different animal.I have read very few complaints about it unlike the Honda which seems to be ovewhelmed with problems.
    We have friends who have driven their Prius over 100K miles without a single repair.
  • hunter44102hunter44102 Member Posts: 2
    If I could take a Prius and put a Civic body on it, I would buy it.

    It is godawful ugly in my opinion.

    Also, to replace the battery in a Prius, you need like $5000, so you may be problem free longer than the HCH, but if you plan on keeping it past the warranty, you better start a saving account for the battery. The Civic battery is more like $1800
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    This is absolutely erroneous. It was a fear back in 2001 and 2002, but it's been disproven nearly 1 million times over now.


    It may even turn out that the battery and hybrid components are the most reliable parts of the vehicle needing no replacement for any normal lifetime. As of today the Prius is the No 1 most reliable family vehicle in CR's hierarchy ( the Camry Hybrid is No 4 ). The Prius is also the most reliable vehicle in its class in JD Power's annual survey.

    It would not get these rankings if battery replacements were an issue.

    Finally there is the most validating fact of all......................EVERY vehicle manufacturer is now getting into hybrid production because they've seen Toyota's great sales and the bulletproof reliability and simplicity of the technology. The competing vehicle makers wouldn't be investing $Billions if there was a substantial risk.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "It may even turn out that the battery and hybrid components are the most reliable parts of the vehicle needing no replacement for any normal lifetime."

    I'm more concerned with other aspects of the Prius creating failure points. If the main display dies, the Prius won't start. That is an expensive part.

    Does the Prius have a model without the center display? I know that the FEH has it both with or without, including the higher end models, if desired.

    That makes a big difference. If my radio goes on in the FEH, I don't have radio. If the center display goes out in a Prius, I don't drive.
  • targettuningtargettuning Member Posts: 1,371
    Aside from the fact that I have never seen any accounts of the display failing on the Prius I'm not sure it won't start if it did fail. Sure, the radio operation controls, AC operation controls, and various driver information pages are displayed on the main center display screen but it probably would start/drive without it being operational. Once again, I don't quote any of this as fact but opinion. No, one cannot get a Prius without the display and on the Civic the "with and without" display you mention is the GPS/navigation system and has nothing to do with the operation of the car. You can also get this as a page on the Prius' display and as with the Honda it is an option.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    Sorry that's not accurate. It has nothing to do with the operation of the vehicle.

    Over on PriusChat there are a few limited reports of the MFD failing but it's just a small computer screen that goes out. It has nothing to do with the running of the vehicle.

    Yes Toyota would like to replace them a premium prices but there are numerous sources from the net to obtain a replacement for several hundred dollars then it's just 'plug and play'.

    Another unfounded misconception put to rest.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "No, one cannot get a Prius without the display and on the Civic the "with and without" display you mention is the GPS/navigation system and has nothing to do with the operation of the car."

    Take a look at my message, I was speaking of the FEH.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "Sorry that's not accurate. It has nothing to do with the operation of the vehicle.

    Over on PriusChat there are a few limited reports of the MFD failing but it's just a small computer screen that goes out. It has nothing to do with the running of the vehicle. "

    Thanks for the update. My information was outdated.

    It is good to know that the MFD can fail without impacting the HSD.

    But just to confirm, I'm not talking about the screen going blank, but about the electronics behind the screen. Are you saying that you can pull the MFD out of a Prius and it will still run?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    Yes it's just a computer screen. In fact you do lose the touch screen interface for the audio and HVAC and Navi if it's there.

    However the redundant controls on the steering wheel can still control the audio and the HVAC even without the MFD being active.

    There is in fact a button to turn off the screen if some drivers find it annoying.
  • fseaverfseaver Member Posts: 13
    I am curious just how much is the cost for Navigation on the Prius?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    It's about $800. The difference between Package #4 and Package #5.
This discussion has been closed.