43.5 mpg. That was our average during a week’s test drive of the 2012 Honda Civic hybrid on city streets and highway. Now, that’s pretty impressive. And we didn’t have to sacrifice ride quality, safety or comfort in the redesigned gas/electric hybrid.

Available in four trims, the front-wheel-drive sedan is equipped with a 1.5-liter (up from the previous 1.3) engine (with Integrated Motor Assist) that develops 110 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 127 lbs.-feet (increase of four) of torque at 1,000 rpm. The inline-four cylinder engine is mated to an electric motor, which is powered by a lighter 20-kw lithium-ion battery (out goes the nickel-metal hydride. A seamless Continuously Variable Transmission is standard.

The hybrid offers a regenerative braking system for additional fuel savings. When brakes are applied, the electric power functions as a generator, converts the captured kinetic energy into useable electricity for recharging the battery. Want to eke out further fuel efficiency? Just press the ECON button. Also part of the Eco Assist system is the plant leaf graphics, which tracks driving habits.

Indeed, Honda has boosted gas mileage on this 2012 version over its predecessor by four in city and one on the highway. And compared to the conventional Civic sedan, the hybrid sees a 16 mpg and 5 mpg increase in city and highway respectively.

Base-priced at $24,200, the Civic is priced up to $26,900 if you would like leather seats and a navigation system.

With its cheeky styling in and out, smooth but solid ride and frugal fuel consumption, the Civic hybrid is a no-brainer. Honda’s reputation for durability and reliability only adds to the compact car’s value.

Test drive a Civic hybrid at Brandon Honda, located at 9209 E. Adamo Dr. in Tampa, or call 397-2360 for more information on the Civinc hybrid or any other Honda.
Tires: P195/65 R15 all season
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
Length: 177.3 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multilink rear
Steering: electric-power assist
Weight: 2,875 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 13.2 gallons
Website: www.honda.com

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