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  1. #1
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    Jan 2008
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    Thinking about an HCH

    I am considering a Honda Civic Hybrid but am having trouble getting to the final decision to go for it. I'd like very much to do something on my part to keep pollution down and help the global warming problem -- just me driving a hybrid is not going to do that much, but at least I won't be making things any worse and maybe I'll help convince someone else to join the parade.

    What's making me hesitate are two things. First, I've read some reports of the CVT failing early -- usually at around 100K miles but sometimes sooner. I have also read of people who replaced the CVT only to have it fail again only 50 - 60 K later. Does anyone have a status on this issue?

    Second, the mileage figures seem to be all over the map, and I am concerned about all the "special" things that need to be done to get decent (and by that I mean 38 - 42 MPG -- I don't need 50) mileage. While I understand that taking steps such as increasing tire pressure and driving special ways will improve mileage (it would on my present car as well) I'd really rather not have to go through a lot of changing my driving habits (I'm hardly a crazy driver as it is, and get pretty much what the new EPA figures predict with my current vehicle -- a 2000 Passat -- and city/highway mix). I also am very leery of increasing tire pressure as that's likely to decrease traction, won't it?

    So I am wondering if anyone has some sage words to push me into action. In particular, if there is anyone out there who drives in the Northern Virginia rush hours who can share some experiences, it would be much appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    Nov 2007
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    Someone else will need to

    Someone else will need to comment on the longevity issue - we bought our 2008 HCH on 12/06/07 and are just closing in on 5,000 miles.

    After much consideration, we did purchase the Honda extended warranty as a hedge against repair costs and for added value if we sell the car in a few years. We bought the 8 yr / 120,000 / $0.00 deductable plan. I suggest that you shop the internet for this, print a page from one of the Honda dealer websites and carry it to the dealer you are going to buy from - ask them for a price match and you will get a Honda warranty for much less than the dealer is asking for it. My dealers financial person didn't even blink. These are Honda warranty products and not a 3rd party item.

    Now for our personal experience - Bought the car after much research and verifying the $2,100 tax credit. I believe this is now $1,050 as of 1/1/08. See if this factors into the overall economic picture and the premium for going to the HCH over the standard Civic. The HCH seems to have some intrinsic value that is not often mentioned. Overall build and material quality, reliability (the most reliable Honda model, I believe), styling (a personal issue) and the fact that it has the Honda name (always a plus).

    We have taken no particular measures to increase mpg. Driving habits are about the same (we are moderate in our driving habits), tire presssure has not been increased (we live in the mountains with fast, sweeping curves, water sheeting across the road and the black ice/frost on the pavement problem) but I try to use the instruments for best mpg and my wife is starting to take an interest in the instruments as well. Our typical week is 5 days of a 4 mile commute to work for my wife and two 140 mile round trips combining local roads, 60mph in the mountains and some open road crusing. Average mpg (manually calculated) is exactly 44mpg. I just drove 220 miles on a full tank with the trip meter indicating 46.9mpg - probably closer to an actual 47.3mpg, Now that the engine is settling in I expect to get close to 50mpg when it warms up.

    We were very anxious about making this purchase but the HCH may be the best car we have ever owned. I realize that some posts that are very negative and the kind people on this forum are trying to to give sound advise to help find a remedy for these disappointed owners. Based on our personal experience, I feel that the 2008 HCH was a good purchase and should deliver reiliale service over time and meet or exceed EPA mpg figures.

    Hope this helps you some. Richard

  4. #3
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    I took delivery of my 2006

    I took delivery of my 2006 HCH in Oct 06. Understand your concerns. I was hoping for 43MPG, but am achieving 48.6 MPG overall. As to driving habits, I changed somewhat. I drive about 3-5 MPH under posted expressway speed. I increased tire pressure to 35 PSI on all four tires. I, too, am concerned about tire traction, so for now, that is where I will keep tire pressure. Credit is in fact $1,050. I am very satisfied with the car. One thing, however. Look in this forum for wheel alignment problems. M. Santos, a frequent poster, has some sage advice: if you buy a HCH II, get a four wheel alignment as part of negotiated deleivery process, due to reported wheel alignment deficiencies in the manufacturing assembly of the vehicle.

  5. #4
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    Hi NoVA: The CVT issues

    Hi NoVA:

    The CVT issues you've heard of had to do mainly with the maintenance cycles on the 1st generation HCH. Those issues are often resolved when the CVT maintenance schedule is shortened and Honda later found out.

    As it is common with vehicles of higher engine displacements, the fuel economy hit due to poor driving attitude is not as severe as the experiences of a fuel efficient vehicle like the HCH or a Toyota Prius. So it is not surprising that some owners of larger vehicles (like your Passat and larger) find it easier to approximate EPA. In reality, the HCH and Prius are very sensitive to poor driving attitudes, and poor conditions, so much so, that these cars are not for everyone. And that is why you may see mileage figures that are all over the place.

    But if you can get EPA on your Passat then you'll also be able to get EPA on the HCH. Why? Because the EPA used the exact same driving routines on both cars in order to arrive to the fuel economy numbers they posts in the vehicle's dealer sticker.

    But in the real world, if you learn to drive the HCH right (yes you must learn as we all did and still do) then it will reward you with an easy EPA match. If you really learn drive it well and you enjoy doing so regularly, then this car will get you much, much better than EPA. I'm talking 60-80+ MPG.

    Increasing tire pressure does not decrease traction. In fact, higher pressures reduce hydroplaning and tire hysteresis which is why law enforcement and emergency service vehicles have much higher pressures on their tires.
    Using lower tire pressures adds more resiliency to the tire which prevents the road imperfections from being easily transmitted to the car's suspension thus improving the perceived ride quality and comfort... but the tires will wear faster, create more heat, give you poorer fuel economy and decrease handling effectiveness.

    As Thompson said, get a wheel alignment performed on the car before you pick it up from the dealer. This will give you the peace of mind that the tires will not wear prematurely on you, and you'll get the best fuel economy possible from the start.

    Cheers;

    MSantos





  6. #5
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2008
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    Thank you for the replies --

    Thank you for the replies -- they make sense. I thought of another question that I had but forgot to ask previously.

    I have seen here that fuel that contains ethanol should be avoided. But here in Northern Virginia, all gasoline contains 10% ethanol (I think just in the winter months).

    What is the deal with ethanol? Will it harm the engine? DOes it just cause a MPG or performance drop?

  7. #6
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    No, 10% ethanol will not

    No, 10% ethanol will not harm the engine at all. The main reason why it should be avoided on the Prius and HCH is that the fuel economy in these cars is negatively affected in the order of several miles per gallon.

    10% ethanol mix is actually a good thing for cars that are much dirtier (that means everything other than an HCH and Prius) since it helps clean their emissions substantially. But on the HCH and Prius, it is mostly a net loss since they are already very clean (AT-PZEV and Tier 2/Bin 2)... and that extra oxygenation from the ethanol just leads to less energy and shorter traveled distances.

    I can't say much about a perceived performance drop with 10% ethanol since most of us (at leasts the weirder ones) never really stress our engines beyond 2500 RPM. Sorry.

    As some say: MPG is the new HP !!!

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  8. #7
    Guest

    Hi MSantos, I believe that

    Hi MSantos,
    I believe that we drive our cars in the same city, which from what I understand, recently requires 10% ethanol at all the pumps. Are you able to fill up your HCH anywhere to not have the ethanol?
    Thanks!

  9. #8
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    As of my last check, Shell

    As of my last check, Shell gas is less likely to contain oxygenants derived from ethanol particularly during the summer months. In order to avoid ethanol I also prefer to fill gas with the lowest octane rating available.
    With that said, Mohawk or Husky gas brand is definitely out of the question for me.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

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