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New Honda Civic Challenges Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius
The new 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid is more than ready to take on the Toyota Prius for the title of ConsumerAffairs.Com Hybrid of the year. Beyond that, this could be the year that competition between Honda and Toyota for hybrid sales brings some pricing sanity back to the hybrid market place.

Up until now, Prius and hybrid have been almost synonymous. A causal automobile shopper might think the Toyota Prius was the only real hybrid vehicle worth looking at.

Not so, at least not any

The 2006 Civic Hybrid is both more powerful and more efficient than previous Civic Hybrids. The car is now capable of running only on electric power in some low-speed situations and is no longer looked at as a "partial hybrid" or "mild hybrid."

Environmentalists and penny pinchers alike will find the new Civic Hybrid a vehicle that's just about as comfortable and stylish as a compact sedan can be with little or no sacrifice in drivability.

The new Civic is a styling knockout when placed beside the Prius escape pod profile, and it rides with world-class handling provided by a tighter overall suspension.

Like other hybrids, the Civic Hybrid's gas engine shuts down at stops then starts again automatically when you lift your foot off the brake. But since the Civic Hybrid's air conditioning is driven by both engine and electrical power, the unit continues to run when the engine shuts down at stops, something you can't say about every hybrid.

The Civic comes with a long list of standard equipment including an impressive list of safety equipment like front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, active head restraints and antilock brakes.

The only optional equipment offered on the Civic Hybrid is a navigation system with voice recognition, a 6.5-inch touch screen and a PC Card slot that gives you the ability to play music from almost any type of digital media card.

The Civic Hybrid carries an MSRP of $22,400 and tops out at $23,900 with a navigation system. Dealers are marking the vehicle up $500 to $600, though some dealers are reported to be tacking on an additional "market adjustment."

The Prius starts at $21,815 without front-side and side-curtain airbags. A consumer can add almost $8,500 in options to the Prius making, the Toyota far more luxurious and expensive than the Honda Civic Hybrid.

Dealers are adding an average of $1,165 to the Prius sales price with some Toyota dealers adding much

The Civic line of vehicles won Motor Trend magazine's 2006 Car of the Year award. The award extends to the entire Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe lineup including the environmentally responsible Civic Hybrid and high-performance Civic Si models.

The Prius is a previous Car of the Year winner and the title in the market place belongs to the Toyota hybrid until the reigning champion is defeated with sales numbers.

The second-generation Toyota Prius quite simply has dominated hybrid sales. The car allows hybrid owners to achieve 50 miles per gallon in comfort and accelerate to highway speeds without causing a backup.

The little car has plenty of power not to mention one of the most loyal owner followings in automotive history.

Let the competition begin!

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New Honda Civic Challenges Toyota Prius
Japanese Import Car, New & Used Car, 2007