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  1. #61

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    Problems with my 3-month old '05 HCH in 20F degree (and colder) weather:

    ice crystals form on the interior surface of all windows

    battery is running extremely low (3 "bars")

    occasional scary "crunching" when braking on snowy roads

    occasional stalls when downshifting

    decreased mileage

    Any thoughts on this??

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  3. #62

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I live in Grand Rapids, MI. I own a 2003 HCH (80,000 miles now) and have been VERY impressed w/ its ability to achieve 49.5 mpg lifetime fuel economy. I've NEVER had any battery problems w/ the Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries, and I LOVE how the car doesn't rely on the regular battery under the hood during startup.

    I work in AAA MI's roadside assistance center here in GRapids, and I've never seen a HCH in need of a jumpstart. :-) The car does lose some efficiency (about 2-3 mpg, depending on how cold it is) in the winter months but it doesn't bother me. I know that every car loses MPG when it's cold. Yes, keeping the tire pressure up IS important during the winter AND summer months.

    As for the "Hybrid vs. Diesel" issue, I agree that we're on the same side. It is only a matter of time until Honda and/or Toyota produce a "Hybrid-Diesel" that delivers truly STUNNING mpg ratings. I'm excited about that, and I'm sure it will be the next "drive system" type that I purchase.

    As for the HCH in cold conditions, I believe that we HCH drivers need to realize that speeds between 50 and 60 mph are BEST for achieving approximately 50 mpg. AVOID jack-rabbit starts AND COAST WHEN YOU CAN- drive like you don't have brakes! Even when it's COLD outside, you can boost efficiency by setting the heater on the 2nd or 3rd LOWEST fan setting (avoid auto) AND by using the defrosters only as needed (use auto here as it is much faster...). One thing that I'd like to point out is the simple fact that during summer months the AC can POSITIVELY kill your mpg. Only use it when you have to. I've actually went 710 miles on the HCH's 13.3 gallon tank during August! I captured that stellar # on the dashboard w/ my camera phone and still have the picture.

    As for the "quality and reliability" issue, I've never had ONE problem w/ the engine or CVT transmission in the HCH, and I change my engine oil every 8,000 miles. Take your HCH to your Honda dealer for the oil changes. The synthetic oil used is GREAT oil and it lasts MUCH longer under almost ANY driving condition, in my opinion. My MPG has BARELY even dropped recently, and I'm almost at 8K miles since my last oil change. I've been VERY impressed w/ the reliability and durability of this vehicle. I'm also impressed w/ the EBD (Electronic Braking Distribution) while on snow and ice. It really does slow you down FASTER than traditional ABS systems, even w/ the smaller tires. Impressive. I am now a loyal Honda owner, and I do believe that GM and Ford have some SERIOUS catching up to do. :-)

    I believe that I am one of many HHOs-Happy Hybrid Owners. I truly believe that the # of people such as I can only continue to grow, as long as positive word-of-mouth continues to sell these wonderful vehicles. If you haven't had good luck w/ your hybrid, then it is LIKELY that you need to change your driving technique.

  4. #63

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I'm a 05 HCH owner, w/ over 20,000 miles on it in less than 7 months....and I live in Vermont. When the weather is in the 20's (nearing 30) I can easily get 44 MPG on a 45 min. commute at highway speeds (I only have one stop light, and at the time of day I leave it's blinking!). Thats with Nokia snow tires on...I have no beef w/ the mileage...it's what I expected.

    The diesel debate is useless for me, I cannot buy a new diesel in Vermont or neighboring states...and I wouldn't buy a VW after what I've seen of my friend's engine gumming up....

  5. #64

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    Just got a '06 honda civic hybrid 2 weeks ago, read through the manual, interesting that it states" the hybid system will NOT work in cold conditions until the batteries warm up,(this is done to protect the batteres), also that the hybrid system will NOT work in extreme heat until approx 15 minutes have passed" (also to protect the batteries)
    I bought the car to drive around this little town, sure enough, the hybrid assist does not work until I have driven about 5 minutes on very cold days. It also doesn't recharge the batteries while stopping until the hybrid system wakes up. My trips are the 5 minute type.
    Ya think the dealer would tell you this?

  6. #65

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I have a 04 HCH with ~30K miles and have driven it through 2 summers and 2 winters. I live in SLC, Ut (el. ~4500 feet) and we have cold winters. I am a conservative driver (that's why I bought an HCH in the first place) and follow recommended hybrid driving habits. During the summer months I average about 37 mpg in the city and on the road (driving around Utah) ~40 mpg. In the winter months I average 27 -29 mpg in the city and 36-37 mpg on the road. My overall grand average milage under all driving conditions since I bought the car is 39 mpg. When I read about HCH drivers getting 40+ mpg in winter climates and commonly 45 - 50 mpg on the road in the summer, I wonder if I have a problem with my car or folks are inflating their milage. What I find really disconcerting; however, is that when I have asked the question to service managers at the dealer: "What kind of milage are local people getting with their Hybids here in SLC during the winter?", I get the same answer: "Ya know, I don't really know." I suspect that HCH drivers can expect to get similar results to what I get if they live at hight altitude and experience cold winters. I just wish Honda and their dealers would own up to the reality and when selling the cars to innocent victoms (perhaps too strong) tell them the truth instead of them buying the car and expecting to get 47 mpg in the city and 50 mgp on the road. I also would enjoy hearing from HCH drivers who live in similar enviroments and find out what kind of milage you get. I am not sure I will buy another Hybrid, since the difference in milage I get with my current Hybrid compared to the milage I got in my 2001 Civic does not warrant it. The original cost difference plus the fact that gas would probably need to get up to $5 per gallon to make up for the difference and the lack of power are all factors which will discourage me from buying a new hybrid.
    Chris A.

  7. #66

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    To Brrrr who has ice crystals on the inside of all windows - the odds are that you are keeping your heater on "recirculate." I have only had window fogging problems (with all types of cars) when inadvertently driving around with the heat on recirculate. In my experience, that would have nothing to do with any unique characteristics of the HCH. Make sure the light is out on the recirc button (the left one) and that heated fresh air should solve your problem pronto.

  8. #67

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    Reply to Chris A. in Salt Lake City - I live in Glenwood Springs, CO and drive an 05 HCH - right now I am averaging a hair over 46.0 overall, but have only had the car 10.5 months. The overall was nearly 47 in early November, but winter tires and cold temps definitely drop the mileage a bit. I never warm the car up more than about 15 seconds before driving, and, while I'm very cognizant of getting good mileage, I think I drive it about like I would drive any car with limited power. Most of my commute is on highway at speeds under 65, which definitely helps the mileage. My overall includes several trips over to the Denver or Fort Collins areas and back, including a couple in the winter. The biggest drag on my overall mileage was a summer trip to Iowa and back - 80 mph in 95 degree weather has produced the lowest mileage I've seen (39 to 43). My wife has been driving an 03 HCH for over three years now, and her experience has been similar to mine. Her mileage drops a lot more than mine in the winter, but she has a short, mostly city commute, and also has a penchant for long warm-ups!

  9. #68

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I have an 06 HCH that is getting around 35. I am past the first oil chande and I learned to drive my friend's Prius before I bought my HCH. The car has been back to the dealer 3 times for engine error codes. Sometimes the car's IMA locks out the starter and the car won't move! Honda will not tell the dealer what the codes mean. The response from Honda has been, "It sucks to be you!" I wish Toyota would make the Prius faster. I have owned 2 Corrollas and both cars got better mileage and lasted 200,000 miles without any engine lights. From what I've been told I am stuck with this occasional paperweight! First and last Honda EVER!

    What I would like to see next year is a bybrid that uses E85. (Ford Escape would be a great start.)

    I live in Wisconsin. I never had a drop in mpg with my Toyotas in winter. Even down to -10F. I commonly used ethanol blend which is the only thing most gas companies will add to fuel in the winter. From 10 years and around 150,000 miles of driving below 32F, I can tell you that the winter mpg drop is false for most regular fuel gas engines. Hybrids have a significant drop. That comes from the fact that low temperatures DO have a severe impact on batteries and other electrical systems. There is a reason that SEARS always bragged about how their DIEHARDs would start every time in Int'l Falls, MN. It's because its hard for a battery to do anything at -10F!

    I have also lived 3 years in Europe and can tell you a thing or two about European Diesels. The whole continent of Europe lives under a smog cloud worse than LA on a hot August day. Even the newest micro-engined VWs produce more exhaust than 5 American SUVs. They do get extremely good mileage, however much of this comes from European diesel fuel which doe not meet EPA requirements. Also, the large majority of those diesel drivers are in the developed and warmer regions of Europe. Even the most advanced Benz or BMW will not start if its engine block heater is not plugged in when the temp drops below 0 F. (Hybrid in Jan... No Plug! Diesel in Jan... Hmmm?)

    In Wisconsin, diesel requires all sorts of additives in the winter to keep it from geling. The State Patrol often fines truck drivers if they stall on the interstate because of the wrong fuel. Fuel economy for diesels drops significantly in winter and there is the added cost of electricity for 10 hours every night or a heated garage during the highest energy use months of the year.

    Just some thoughts.

    From Wisconsin: NO DIESEL... NO PLUG

  10. #69

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    I've had my '06 HCH for about a month and 900 ish miles. MPG has been disappointing, ranging from high 30's up to 46 or so on a 2 hour highway trip. My 45 minute, mostly highway commute just got 37 mg today at fill up. I;m a conservative driver, whats up with this? No defrost or other A/C use and tires at 40 psi. I hope it gets better in the spring.

  11. #70

    Winter Driving in Honda Civic Hybrid

    Mike if you are looking for tips take a look here:

    They, and along with other techniques brought my '04 HCH from the upper 40's to 50's, and last summer averaged 65MPG, with my own personal record tank of 69.2MPG and 941 miles.

    This mild Atlanta winter have averaged upper 50's.

    These same tips have raised our Grand Caravan up from 15-16MPG to the low 20's.
    Congradulations on driving conservatively, and it is helpful to know what is effective- and what is not.

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