Hey, I hope this post isn't
Hey, I hope this post isn't too late, but these boards don't seem to be too active.
I currently drive a 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid (HCH) and I'd be happy to answer these questions.
1. I think the HCH is extremely quiet. I've read a few reviews where the reviewer commented on the loud engine and I have no idea what they are talking about. When my wife and I started it up on the lot on day one I almost turned the key again because we could barely hear it running! It is much quieter than any of my friends or co-workers "regular" cars.
2. The HCH "auto-stops" at stop lights and stop signs, meaning that the ICE shuts off and you are on 100% electric power until the brake pedal is released. For the most part you simply hear the ICE kick back on. Occasionally I get a slight jerk, and I've determined this happens mostly if I find myself stopped at a light headed up or down hill. If I'm just sitting on a flat piece of road and the ICE turns back on, I don't really feel anything.
3. I have heard horror stories from Prius and HCH drivers of slipping and sliding on ice, but I haven't experienced any such thing myself. I live in Iowa and we have had one hell of a winter, but I have not had any close calls or near misses, or even the usually sliding through a stop sign. In my opinion, if you know how to drive in winter weather (slow down, be alert and stay calm) you'll be fine in ANY vehicle. 4WD is for sissies. As for rain, I haven't had any troubles. Again I usually probably slow down at least 5MPH if there is a decent downpour or visibly standing water on the highway, but everyone should follow this practice anyway.
As far as unkempt roads, I haven't driven my HCH on many of them, but the ride in general is very smooth. I have had to drive on a few gravel roads here and there and the ride is much smoother than my wifes current car, a Mazda Protoge.
4. I find the HCH to be very roomy. The Prius is a little less so, but I still have no complaints. Co-workers of mine say they couldn't drive a hybrid because of their families, which I kind of agree with. If you have 3 kids, the HCH or Prius might not be for you, but there is always the Ford Escape.
My personal experience has been fine having up to 4 passengers (3 in back and my wife and I up front) and I've never had complaints about leg room. Even from my brother in law who states that if my sister buys a foreign car and/or hybrid it is a divorce able act ;)
All in all I am very satisfied with the HCH and I'm sure we will be with our new Prius as well. I hope I answered your questions in enough detail, but if not, please post and let me know on what to elaborate. You can also shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like.
We just purchased an Altima
We just purchased an Altima Hybrid (guess that's known as NAH around here) last month. It uses Toyota's technology, which is different than Honda or Saturn. You should research all 3 drivelines to see which is best suited for your driving needs.
We are very happy with our purchase. The CVT is much smoother than a standard automatic and you can barely detect when the gas engine kicks in or shuts down, except that when it is off, the car is very, very quiet.
There is also a full tax credit available for the NAH. Dealers are desperate to sell cars these days, so you should be able to get a good price, especially if you buy off the lot. The dealer ordered ours, without a deposit, so that we would get the color we wanted.
I think the hybrids choose
I think the hybrids choose your questions correctly. And you will have clear answers about them.They are indeed worth buying.