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Honda Civic Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,085
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 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.
  • supertonesupertone 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 [email protected]#. Anyway, I just drive it sensibly and it gets decent mileage.
    Looking into gettin HID's and LED tail lamps.
  • chibridchibrid 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????
  • cason621cason621 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,, under "Driving Tips," talks about using full throttle as a good strategy. I'll try it out and let you know.
  • spratt1spratt1 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.
  • 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!

  • 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: 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.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 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.
  • john1701ajohn1701a 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.

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 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.
  • bd21bd21 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.
  • john1701ajohn1701a 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.

  • muttley98muttley98 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?
  • automiteautomite 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.
  • 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.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy 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
  • "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.

  • john1701ajohn1701a 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.

  • dselldsell 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.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    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?
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Thanks Dsell!

    My data since March can be found here:

    I'm currently just above 26K miles.
  • dselldsell 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 =)
  • dselldsell 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!
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    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?
  • buddbudd 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
  • larsblarsb 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
  • 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:)
  • larsblarsb 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......
  • thekingtheking 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 !
  • buddbudd Posts: 5
    Thank you. Very helpful. People like you are the reason this site is so informative.
This discussion has been closed.