by Martha Hindes
If there's safety in numbers, Honda's compact Civic auto must certainly represent the feeling. Case in point: One Midwestern apartment complex recently had no fewer than five in various neutral shades lined up in a row in the parking lot. Add to that Honda's redone 2012 Civic Hybrid sedan, and the chances of that row of autos expanding grows exponentially.
Many of those parking lot Civics were owned by health care workers, one group that Honda cites as gravitating to the Civic for its reputation for dependability, economy and long-term value. Others include business professionals, educators, environmentalists and -- yes -- driving enthusiasts. Think fun, not funky. For despite its sometimes vilified understated demeanor, the Civic Hybrid hides a wealth of technical prowess under its skin.
As originator of the Insight, the first -- now exiting -- and highly recognizable, jellybean-shaped production hybrid to hit U.S. roadways in the 1990s in numbers great enough to count, Honda knows something about building a combined gasoline-electric powered auto. Transition to 2012 and the newest, refreshed Civic hybrid gains some significant technical advances, including a switch to a lighter weight lithion-ion battery pack and improved powertrain. Full Story