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  1. #31
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    I have a 2003 HCH with

    I have a 2003 HCH with (CVT), and like some of you, I was disappointed with the gas mileage after the first tank (47 mpg-calculated). The MPG readout on the first HCHs is about 5 mpg higher than calculated. I have calculated mpg on all my vehicles with every fill-up since 1962. From my first VW bug to my last Honda Accord (1986 with carburetor) I got about 30 mpg. Over the past 6 years, I have averaged 37 mpg, which is about what Consumer Reports reported. This includes short (4-mile trips to work) and long (300 mile trips). I found that outside temperature is very important, getting the best mileage at 60 degrees. The A/C consumes about 3-5 mpg, especially if it is over 100 degrees. Below 41 degrees, when the auto-stop ceases, the mileage drops 10-12 mpg. The FE (fuel-effecient) tires that came with the car were abysmal on the snow and ice in PA, so I swapped them for Bridgestone Insignias which only drop the mileage about 2 mpgn and go-in-the-snow. I have kept the tire pressures at 35-40 psi, but when I took the car in for trade last week, they claimed the tires were "cupped" and docked me $250 from the trade in. Be sure to consider the consequences of high tire pressure. I felt that I bought the car for mileage--not to save on tires. The ride is harder at 40 psi also--but it can be the most important factor in mileage. Fuel efficient tires CAN make a big difference, and perhaps we should all compare tires before blaming the Hybrid Drive. At 40 mph, I think I got the best mileage. Every stop you make eats gas. In the first mile, the HCH gets about 15 mpg, then 25, 35, etc. Reset the "A" tripmeter and watch it for the first few miles. In 2005 they did a recall because the catalytic converter was being damaged by "lean burning" fuel. I wish I had skipped that recall; my mileage dropped 5-10 mpg in the first few miles of each drive after that. I don't know how the new model compares. One time the dealer had no 0-20 oil, so they used 20 weight oil, which they said was "approved as an alternate" by Honda, but they offered to swap it out if I wanted. That dropped the mileage about 2-3 mpg.

    My biggest problem with the car was the CVT. I have a HondaCare extended warranty, but after multiple complaints about the "shudder" in the transmission over the past 2 years, they only replaced the transmission fluid--twice. Now honda has admitted that a problem exists and have "extended the warranty" to 100,000 miles or 7 years. I had new clutch plates put in my CVT (one week without car) and it seems to be like new. There are many, many posts elsewhere about this problem. I don't know if the new CVT has a similar problem. Don't let them just change the fluid (at your expense) if you have this problem.

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  3. #32
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    jawx, Thank you for the

    Thank you for the excellent summary of your experiences.
    You and early owners like yourself truly braved the waters which made it possible for many of us to be where we are today.

    With this I will say that the field experiences that Honda and its HCH-1 owners went through were extensively factored into the design and manufacturing on the second generation HCH (2006-2010). This means that owners of the newer generation can look forward to a better trending reliability experience. There are already many HCH-2's checking in for oil changes that have exceeded 100K miles without a single CVT failure. The issue of the CVT ATF fluid while still a concern is one that Honda addressed more accurately with the second generation.
    Lean Burn is absent and so is the short life expectancy for the 3 way catalytic converter and other emissions equipment. Same for EGR valve issues among many other smaller ones including SoC management governance and shorter battery life.

    But more importantly is the keeping of accurate service documentation and engaging Honda Corporate when necessary. These remain best policies not only for HCH-1 owners, but also owners of the current gen HCH particularly as these age and develop their own set of unique issues.



  4. #33

    I have had problems as well!

    I have had problems as well! I have a 2007 HCH purchased in February and the mileage is horrible. I live in Phoenix, AZ. When I picked it up from the dealer, the sticker mileage was 49 - 51. In the spring and fall (when it's not too hot or cold) I can squeeze 40-42mpg out of it. During the winter the engine needs to warm up, so that kills the mileage (somewhere between 35-38mpg) and in the summer... Well that's a totally different story!
    Every day, on my way home from work the Motor Assist system wouldn't work. As the interior car (and as I was told by the dealer, the battery pack as well) cooled off, it would start working like normal. The dealer said it's to protect the batteries. I can buy that. It's hot as... well, it's hot. BUT, then I'll be driving and the battery will go from full-almost fully charged to either one or no bars. I then have to recharge it. In the mean time, I'm getting terrible gas mileage and I have no power to accelerate with. I would be willing to swallow their excuse if the draining battery hadn't happened twice when it was raining (in the fall, maybe 70 outside, no sun out, so 70 inside the car too) and once yesterday (it was 75 out and I was parked in the shade).
    Also, for the past couple months, I haven't been able to fully charge the battery unless I'm going downhill for a few miles. It just stops at the second to last bar. It used to be easy just driving the normal way I do on surface streets.
    I have yet to read the whole thread, but if anyone here has had the same problems, PLEASE respond to this post!! I'm planning on going back to the dealership here pretty soon to see if I can't get anything done before it gets really hot out here again and any help would be appreciated!!!

  5. #34
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Notahondafan: Your mileage


    Your mileage will suffer in extreme hot weather regardless of the type of vehicle you drive. However, your car will show the effects more dramatically than most cars on the road today.
    Indeed, the battery pack will protect itself from extreme heat by going off-line for as long as it takes. So the dealer is quite right on this one.

    Here are some suggestions that will definitely help:
    - open the doors for a few minutes before driving off in a hot day. This will enable the inside of the car to get a little cooler as the interior may be too hot.
    - When driving off, keep the windows down for a minute or so then roll them up as you gain speed.
    - Avoid dialing in too low a temp in the climate control. Start with a high value then gradually and slowly lower it until it becomes actually comfortable. Avoid looking at the temp value while you lower the temp setting. This is the single most important thing you can do. I can explain this further so that you can see how it is all connected.
    - Pump your tires up to 42psi in the fron t and 40 in the rear. This will lower the CoF during the warmer days and will allow the tires to run cooler too.

    Now the common mistake a lot of hybrid owner make is to get in the car and then crank up the cooling. When they do this they're are sucking the power off the electric and the small gas engine too aggressively which then prevents the vehicle from achieving its fuel economy potential.
    In the summer we get temperatures that border on 104F and even get as high as 114F... and many of us still manage to get upwards of 50-55 MPG by following the simple rules I outlined.



  6. #35

    MSantos and Notahondafan, I

    MSantos and Notahondafan,
    I have had problems as well! I have a 2006 HCH purchased in May of 06, and have been driving the same route for the last 20 months (at least a 100 mile round trip). The sticker mileage for this car was 48 City and 52 Highway. I was very successful at getting 44mpg from day one, and figured the 4 mile loss was due to my driving habits. I drive on the HOV lane and should have been pretty close to Highway mpg. Also I live in Southern California and temperature do not fluctuate as much (always around 70ís - 80's). I have to say even last summer when it was hitting 100ís I was successful at getting 42mpg or more out of my vehicle.
    I did the 30K service at 32,050 last November timeframe, and since then the maximum mileage I have been able to get has been 38.3 mpg (for a full tank). Since I reported this incident at 35K, I have replaced my tires (37k), and replaced the Air filter at least twice (but still at max of 38mpg). I have seen the same issues reported by Nothondafan -- such as the drainage of the battery and not being able to fully charge unless Iím going down hill. Iím not accepting the dealer service managerís excuses for low mileage, and has reported this to Honda R&D as well (without much luck).
    MSantos, I have kept my tire pressure around 40 and 38psi, as 42psi, shakes the vehicle too much. However, I donít think that is making a major difference in the mpg at this time.

  7. #36

    I have to disagree with some

    I have to disagree with some of the comments regarding poor mileage; you actually get real world mileage. You also need to remember that if you are getting 20% worse than the sticker in a HCH2, than in a normal car you also will be getting 20% or more worse mileage and off a higher base so it is much worse. In all situations the mileage will be better in the Civic. I have had mine for 6 months and have saved $1500 AU in petrol costs thatís $3K AU per annum.

    I drive a combination of city, highway, at slow 60kph, medium, 80kph and high speeds 110kph. In the 6 months the best I achieved on the 100K trip was 3.1 l/100 KM or 75mpg for our US readers 100 mpg in imperial measure) on about 20% of trips, 4.0 l/100km 60% of the time and 4.6 the rest.

    There are things that change for these trips, and in order that make the biggest impact on reducing mileage in my observationis the number of cars on the road, simply because other drivers are unpredictable and most do not understand how to drive. Next is the tires and wheel alignment, I maintain pressure of 45, and thirdly simple skills, such as driving by lifting my foot off the accelerator or not pressing to the floor as in a normal car and i try and keep the battery full.

    The build quality and technology in these Honda cars is brilliant, and I understand the Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, GM and others are releasing models based on the same basic hybrid technology.

    The key is you will in all situations get better mileage in a hybrid than in a old-fashioned car. PS I have a Honda insight and get 2.1 l/100 km (112mpg US) for the same trip.

  8. #37

    I am relieved to see a forum

    I am relieved to see a forum discussion on this topic. Whether you get results like chiludo67 or MSantos, your mileage WILL vary.

    I live in the most seasonal of climates. Hot humid summers, rain, hail, and tornado filled springs and autumns, and ice and snow round out the climate here in my beloved home of St. Louis, MO. It's not good for terrain, either. The abundance of river bluffs with the Missouri and Mississippi rivers flowing through St. Louis means nearly never-ending hills on the interstate and side streets. Very, very few roads are flat and straight.

    Having said that, I knew when I bought my HCH II that my mileage probably wouldn't average in the high 40's. Using Tarabell's techniques, this winter I have been able to average in the very low 40's (40.3 or so). Using no techniques at all, I drive as fast as I want for as long as I want and average nearly 36 (35.8). To give you an idea of how cold it has been, I usually have to scrape frost off my windshield each morning since I bought my vehicle (it's now March 11, I've had the car nearly 90 days now). The cold makes airing up my tires a useless act, the freezing temps will quickly sink any kind of extra PSI I try to put in against the sidewall of my tires.

    I can't wait for spring. I'm sure when the dog days of 100+ degrees hit here in mid to late July and early August, I'll have trouble again (remember to fill-up at night when it's hot during the day, the gas is more dense in the cooler air). The few days of 60+ degree temps we've had in February and March have allowed me to average as high as 46.4 mpg any individual day.

    Good luck, hypermilers, and if you don't have to put up with all the hills and seasonal weather (both scorching and freezing), be thankful!

  9. #38

    Two things: First, I have

    Two things:

    First, I have noticed that my hybrid gets much better mileage when the weather is warm vs cold.

    Second, When I took my hybrid in for it's 10,000 mile checkup, the mechanic told me that they had "adjusted the brakes". After that i started to get 40 mpg, combined, on warm days and about 37 on cold days. I don't know what the brakes have to do with it but it made a substantial difference.

  10. #39

    UPDATE: When I was leaving


    When I was leaving work yesterday, the sun was shining and the temperature read 57 degrees farenheit. Enjoying the warm air for a change (most of the recent highs have been around 40 or lower), I decided to reset my trip meter and make a hypermiling run home (about a 25 mile drive) instead of just my usual 'blaze through the cold at 76 mph' strategy.

    Of course, I incorporate quite a few techniques when I attempt to hypermile, leave the AC either on AUTO or OFF (usually OFF), unplug all of my 12 volt drains (my GPS unit and my phone charger), take my shoes off (size 15 hard sole is not good for hypermiling), and drive using Tarabell's techniques.

    Smooth sailing on the interstate gave way to bumper-to-bumper traffic, so I detoured through some side streets for the final 7 miles of my trek, and when I pulled in to my parking space at my apartment complex, the trip gauge read 49.1 mpg. I hypermiled the same way to work this morning as well, although it was considerably colder at 37 degrees, and both trips combined averaged 46.2, which I'm guessing I averaged just a little over 42 mpg during this morning's trek alone.

  11. #40

    I bought the 07 Civic Hybrid

    I bought the 07 Civic Hybrid and although my average isn't the 50/51 that's on the sticker, I do average around 45 to 46 on highway and 48 to 49 in the city. I have a few pictures where I've even reached 58mpg, but that was only for the first 15 miles or so. After that it drops back down to 50mpg @ 50 miles then back down to 48 to 49 till I need more gas (well over 400 miles later). I don't think I've ever put gas in my tank without having over 400 miles on my car and I've never put more than 10 gallons in it.
    Stay light on the break. When coming up on a stop, lightly hold the break down to keep your "charge" up as high as you can without maxing it out. You get more charge in each breaking cycle without applying much breaking so if your AC is running you have more battery power to run it.
    For me, the auto stop kicks in when the breaks are applied and when my speed drops below 8 to 9mph. If you're in stop and go traffic, try to stay at a stop in "auto stop" mode as long as possible then when you need to accelerate again, try to reach higher speeds of around 10mph before having to stop again, this allows the car to reenter the auto stop mode. Iíve noticed with mine that if I donít accelerate much after an auto stop that when I come to a stop again, the car doesnít always go back into auto stop. I wish Honda incorporated a button to allow you to manually set it to auto stop or electric only for putting around a parking lot or when the car doesnít feel like engaging its auto stop feature.
    Also, donít use cruise control as much. As mentioned above, follow the motion of the road with your acceleration. Speed up a bit when going down a hill if you know youíll be going back up a hill, it builds momentum and you wont have to hit the gas as hard when going back up the hill. Youíll watch your mpg stay between 50 and 70, sometimes up to 80 uphill if you do it right. Just donít get a speeding ticket down the hills.
    Also, the acceleration of this car works best if you donít floor it. Use the CVT (continuously variable transmission) for all itís worth. Think of it as a rubber bandÖ If youíre stopped at a light in a 55mph zone, when the light turns green, within the matter of 2 to 3 seconds you should have gradually pushed the accelerator down about half way. Once up to around 35 to 40, push the pedal down to about three quarters the way down (in total) then slowly bring your foot back up. Youíll feel the transmission wind up like a rubber band if you do it right and youíll get much better acceleration and fuel economy at the same time. It may take some time but youíll get the hang of it.
    Also, make sure your AC isnít set to 60 on those hot summer days. I suggest getting your windows tinted the darkest legal in your area. This will cut back on the AC usage and your battery will last much longer and your car wonít have to charge it so much which yes, does use gas if your battery power is low enough. I live in FL where our summers reach over 100 and I never have my AC lower than 70. Window tint is a real life saver and AC saver. It only costs about 160 to 180 to get a real good job but youíll be more comfortable when the sun is really beating down. So do it and be happy. :P

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