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Toyota Prius vs Honda Civic Hybrid – Har “money”







Its unusual to compare things which cant be measured with the same yardstick, but while comparing things, we usually take the price factor first. If both the things, even if they are different, happen to be in the same price bracket, then they can definitely be put under the comparison scanner. The certain things turn out to be the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid. We recently had the Honda Civic Hybrid with us for approximately half a day and hence the quick comparison with its so called nearest competitor, the Prius. Now, having a Prius can be a sub Rs 30 lakhs affair while a Honda Civic, when new costs around Rs 25 lakhs plus on-road. So, back to back driving of the Honda Civic Hybrid is inevitable. Comparing apples to apples is what the norm is usually but we are going by comparing apples with bananas with the common thing being the nutrition quotient in them.

Looks

This one is a no-brainer since the Toyota Prius in India is a unique one as far as the Civic Hybrid is concerned. Both these Japanese cars have always being known to be radical in their design thought right from the start. Admittedly since the time of the Toyota Fortuner, there are only a few Toyota cars that can turn heads in India, the Prius is a welcome change. Its afterall a sedan and a sedan turning heads is a big thing. This same thing used to happen when the Civic was launched albeit in its regular form. Some of the punks out there would insist that the it’s the Civic which stands its ground better. Though the alloys in the Prius wouldn’t make one to go wow, the ones in the Civic wouldn’t either. But admittedly so, the Civic’s alloys feel a bit special than the ones on the Prius. The length of the Civic admittedly is more than that of the Kammback Prius. The Prius gets the more funky looking rear end while the one in the Civic and its petrol fuelled cousin is the same save for the Hybrid badge.

For us, it’s the Toyota Prius on the styling front, however, want a conventional thing, the Civic stands up.

Interiors

The Civic’s funky speedometer and almost head up display still have many fans. Everytime the door is opened, it calls for a sense of occasion. However, one look at the interiors of the Prius and you would be forgotten to having visited Edison’s lab. There is no typical instrument panel out here but then the various battery things and stuff. More like the “Hollow Man” lab. BMW style gear levers is an added bonus on a car without the Bavarian’s badge on it. The fonts at first seem hard to read, however, once we settled in the car for a good 5 minutes, everything seemed to work as it should. Seating in both the cars is quite comfortable, however the Prius has got the edge here with its higher seating arrangement wherein the occupants wouldn’t have to be on their knees literally to get inside. For older people, the ingress egress thing is what matters a lot. In the back, it’s the Civic which claws its way ahead.  The flat seating of the Civic ensures that 3 people are more comfortable here than the made for two Prius. As for the boot space, the Prius just inches ahead of the Civic here. But the loading bay of the Civic is much lower than that of the Prius.

In term of practicality, the Civic inches forward while for  the novelty and bragging rights thing, the Prius is better.

Handling and ride quality

The ride quality of the Honda Civic and its typical behavior was duly noted in here however, compared to the stiff ride quality of the Prius, it was far more cosseting. The Prius doesn’t bottom out when fully loaded while the Civic does. Apart from that, speed breakers didn’t pose a problem for the Prius whereas for the Civic, one has to be real careful. The steering wheel of the Civic is more on the lighter side while the one in the Prius is heavier but simply doesn’t offer much feel to it. The steering response of the Civic was found to be more linear in comparison with the one on the Prius. The Toyota Prius is an absolute silent car. More to do with the thing that the petrol motor interference is far less in some modes. The electric propulsion that this car undergoes is very silent in nature and most of the times pedestrians are caught unawares by the presence of this car. Road noise is also less in this. The Civic for the initial part remains silent but then on the motor becomes vocal enough. As for the handling part, it’s the Civic which can be said as a fun to drive in this context vehicle. The Prius is for simple motoring from point A to point B.

Overall, it would be the Civic here but the Prius is eerily silent.

Engine, performance and fuel efficiency

About the engine parameters of both the cars, the details are provided here Toyota Prius in India – silence personified and for the Honda Civic Hybrid in India. Like the Corolla, the Prius also boasts of having a 1.8 liter motor but in a detuned state. The Civic uses the 1.8 liter engine in the petrol Civic but the capacity has been lowered down to 1.3 liter now. In terms of power output, it is the Prius which outdoes the Civic. But while driving, the Civic seems more powerful of the two. The Civic boasts of having a very good braking setup and the ones in the Toyota seem as if the brake pads have worn out or something. The feel from the discs in the front is not upto the mark. Both the cars come equipped with braking safety aids. The safety factor is a bit more in the Prius than in the Civic hybrid.

As for the fuel efficiency, the Prius clearly outshadows the Civic here. The Prius returned an overall fuel efficiency of 23.2 kmpl whereas the Civic hybrid turned in only 13.7 kmpl. Now, that a stark difference between the two.

We would happily go for the Prius on this one.

Verdict

Though the Civic and Prius are from a different breed altogether, there is one bond which ties both of them and it is the use of an electric motor. Now, that’s the only strap and probably the “small” price difference between them both. If at all, you want a clean car, it would be the Prius. Novelty factor and fuel efficiency dialed in plenty. The Civic Hybrid is no longer available off the shelf and maybe Honda India may think of bringing it back if one is interested in it and push the show room people too far. The Toyota Prius price in India is Rs 27 lakhs while the Honda Civic Hybrid price in India revolved around the Rs 23 lakhs mark when it was first launched.

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