Sunday, November 28, 2010

Presenting my second Civic

I won't go into the logistics about why I was in the market to buy a car lately, but it came to pass that Darlene and I went car shopping. After juggling priorities regarding what characteristics the car should have, we agreed on fuel economy and comfort, with luxury and cargo space relegated to the bottom of the list. We finally settled on a Honda Civic Hybrid. Yes, it's official - I'm one of those people now.

I was more attracted to the Prius, but Honda was offering obscene discounts on their old stock and I managed to get a great deal that alone saved over a year's worth of payments. So what is it like to drive a hybrid? Well, it ain't no sports car to be sure. Going from a TSX to a Civic Hybrid means giving up 90HP, a few luxuries and a fold-down rear seat. But the gains are significant.

For starters, the mileage is phenomenal. It's rated for 4.7l/100km in the city and 4.3l/100km on the highway. On my first tank of gas I was looking at 650km on the odometer with about a fifth of a tank to go. Refill cost - $34. My TSX needed $45 per fill-up and I might get 650km on pure highway driving alone. What I appreciate most about hybrid technology is the efficiency it adds to a gasoline car. Not only does it compliment the anaemic (but thrifty) engine, but when it's not helping propel the car, it's recouping energy during coasting and braking, energy that is normally wasted. When you come to a stop, the engine shuts off, saving even more fuel and reducing pollution. The instant you take your foot off the brakes, the engine is running again. The electric motor quickly spins the engine back up to speed - no wear and tear on a puny starter motor.

One of the things I notice about driving a hybrid car is that it gets under your skin. I truly believe that one of the reasons we drive fast in cars capable of high speeds is because we can. In other words, If you own a sporty car, you are much more likely to drive in a sporty manner. Well, I think the same rule applies to hybrids. If you know your vehicle is capable of incredible mileage, you might be tempted to push the envelope and try to get the best numbers possible. That means no racing, gentle acceleration, gentle modulation of the gas pedal to achieve a good coast on straightaways and downhill. It's like playing a video game called best mileage. Fortunately, it's a game that pays dividends to both the environment and your bank account.

Best new (to me) feature having nothing to do with the hybrid technology: USB audio input. You simply plug a USB memory stick into a USB port hidden under the centre arm rest and you have an instant digital jukebox, controlled using the audio controls on the dash. No more FM transmitter, no more mp3 player box, no more recharging. Me like.

As the title says, this is officially my second Civic. My first one Darlene bought for me in 1990, just before I returned from my tour in Alert. It was a brand new Civic Si hatchback. I can say for a fact that Civics have come a long way.

1 comment:

carlae said...

Congratulations on the new Civic, they make for a very nice ride. I LOVE the USB input, that makes it so easy to listen to my Zune!