// 1982 Honda Civic FE
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  1. #1

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    I am often disappointed to see the new hybrid MPG ratings. My 82 Civic FE got 55 MPG on the highway on regular gas. Factor in 23 years of R and D, a world fuel crisis and a few holes in the ozone and it makes you wonder why Honda and everyone else arent producing 80 MPG cars right now.

    I really miss that car.


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  3. #2

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    Hi Patrick,

    I can only agree. Your observation is definitely a challenge to those who hold up the Prius or similar as the final word in efficiency. Granted, the Prius is a bit larger, but that doesn't explain away the 20 years. Let's see if someone on this board has a good response to this.

  4. #3

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    A quick google search reveals that the 1982 Civic had a whopping 67 horsepower. The EPA test doesn't care if it takes you 30 seconds to reach 45mph (where a large percentage of the highway test is) or another 30 seconds to go from 45 to 55mph where about half the highway test is run.

    Also, good luck driving 55mph on any US highway!! The horrible aerodynamics of the 82 Civic means that it's fuel efficiency will drop like a rock at speeds above 50-55mph or so. Sadly, that's probably about as fast as you'd want to go anyway since it's built like a tin can and is basically a rolling deathtrap.

    I owned a 1988 Civic, which is TWO generations after the 82. I considered that car incredibly unsafe, so I can't even imagine driving an 82 in modern times. I'd consider sky diving to be safer than driving an 82 Civic on today's roads.

    To top it all off though, the 82 Civic was curburated and probably put out about 500 times as much polution as even the regular old 115hp Civic HX that you can buy at any dealer now, rated at 43mpg on the highway. The Civic Hybrid probably puts out as much polution in 100,000 miles as the 82 Civic did in 1000 miles.

  5. #4

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    With regards to the EPA test, check out this article:


    Here's some snipets:

    "The EPA highway cycle assumes an average speed of 48 mph and a top speed of 60 mph. Many state highway speed limits are set at or above 65 mph."

    "Assuming very gentle acceleration and braking—the maximum acceleration rate in the EPA test cycles is 3.3 mph per second, about the same as going from zero to 60 mph in about 18 seconds. The average new car or truck can accelerate nearly twice as fast.7 While most consumers don’t use all the power in their vehicle, EPA data shows that people accelerate as fast as 15 mph per second, nearly 5 times the EPA tests."

  6. #5

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    Shoot, I hit enter on accident and submitted the post before I could put up the best quote:

    "In the 1980s, the EPA acknowledged that fuel economy tests were flawed and developed a band-aid to compensate. As a result, EPA reduces fuel economy results by 10% in the city and 22% for the highway, and reports these “adjusted” values to consumers. For the typical vehicle, this cuts the combined city/highway fuel economy by about 15% below the test results."

    What that means is that the 1982 Civic results were before they started applying the adjustment. The 1982 Civic was rated at 42/55. Using the 10% and 22% reductions, this means that to compare to a modern test score, the 82 Civic in all it's 67 horsepower rattletrap glory would be rated at 38/43. Guess what? The larger, safer, more comfortable, faster 2001-2005 Civic HX is rated at 36/43. What that tells me is that although cars are now far safer, faster, and more comfortable, they still get just as good gas mileage.

  7. #6

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    I can live with less acceleration and a smaller car. I still don't think that they are pushing the limits of conventional IC engines. I am so happy that hybrid tech is beginning to surface in the US mainstream over the last 5 or so years but wouldn't it be great if all the non-hybrid vehicles were getting twice their current MPG? I really don't remember the 82 Civic as being a rattletrap or dangerous except for its small size. In fact, I thought it handled quite nicely with its struts and rack and pinion steering. And my drumset still fit in the car with me. I was driving 35 to 45 K a year then.

    PS: my next vehicle is a Dahon folding bike.

  8. #7

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    Well I owned my 88 Civic from 2000 to 2004, concurrent with the ownership of my 97 Civic. When you go directly back and forth from a modern economy car (if I can call an 8 year old Civic modern) and the 88, it really highlights the differences between old and new.

    A lot of the time I feel like my 97 Civic rides great and is very solid, then I jump in my roommates 2004 Nissan 350Z and all of a sudden my 97 Civic feels like a flimsy piece of crap with no brakes. You kind of have to drive vehicles back to back to get the best perspective on their differences.

    At any rate, the fact that Insight sales have dropped off to just 500 units sold in all of 2004 compared to 25,000 or 35,000 something Prius' sold should tell you a bit about how willing most consumers are to buy a car with 70 horsepower (the Insight has 73) even if it does get 70mpg. I commend Honda for still offering the Insight year after year, but you can't blame them if they stop offering it next year because there's virtually no buyers for it at all.

  9. #8

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    I thinkk the Insight VS. Prius sales war is being won by the Prius due to seating capacity. Honda's Hybrid Civic must be selling although I thought the HX made more sen$e at this time.

    Does anyone know how long the battery units are supposed to last, how long are they under warranty and how much do they cost to replace?

  10. #9

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    Civics back in the 70's and 80's were strictly economy cars with very lightweight design. They had small engines and only weighed about 1800 pounds or so. They wouldn't sell today because they had horrible crash test ratings by today's standards.

    A Honda Insight weighs about the same as these early Civics, and it gets about the same mileage and better performance. And they are actually safer than the older Civics and Corollas.

    Volkswagen has a Lupo economy car, 4 seats, and it weighs about as much as the Insight. The diesel engine version can get about 80-90 miles per gallon on a highway. They are also aluminum bodied, just like the Insight, though they do have curtain airbags. They probably would not fare well in US crash test, though.

    The original Civic also came out at a time when 55 mph was the norm. I see people driving 50 miles per hour on 35 mile per hour zones all the time now days, even faster on bigger roads. It used to be you didn't need a car with very good acceleration. Sometimes I wish we went back to those days.

  11. #10

    1982 Honda Civic FE

    On the topic of 80mpg cars, the Audi equivilent of the Lupo is the Audi A2 1.2 TDi, which is a "3 liter" car. Over in Germany that means it uses 3 liters per 100km driven, which is about 78mpg. That's with the official government test too. Many owners have been able to get the 80-90mpg like you're talking about. It's a VERY good looking car too!


    With only a 0.25 drag coefficient, it's a very slippery shape, and it looks like a smaller version of the Prius. Being an Audi, I'm sure it's also very safe too. If I had a choice between the A2 or an Insight, I'd probably go for the A2.

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