Prius or Civic IMA

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Prius or Civic IMA

Postby dotsonline » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:56 pm

Hi folks,

I really have a dilema at the moment. We are looking at replacing our Rover 200 diesel for a new car. Having been looking at the obvious choices but want to try and maximise mpg and cost savings. Have looked at the Astra Eco4 but that isn't why I posted!

We've been looking at the Prius and Civic IMA for some time. I must say that our budget is really quite low. We don't usually spend much money (£1500) on cars and much of the servicing I do myself. As such am not really sure about spending £3500 to £4000 on a hybrid. We do about 10,000 to 12,000 miles a year, mainly short runs.

I have been looking at lots of cars on autotrader and ebay for some time, due to location most are 100+ miles or so away. Also trawling the net there are lots of posts and information about the 2 cars, probably more so the prius due to it being the elder.

Currently I have seen an 04 plate Civic with 102,000 miles for £3995. Obviously it's just outside the Honda guarantee period so that's a bit worrying but it has full Honda history. Does anyone know much about the Honda Hybrid/battery system. I had read that it wasn't as robust as the Prius? Is this the case? Also the mpg figures on the Civic don't seem as good as the Prius, mainly as the model is manual.

Most of the Prius I have seen have been the nhw10 import which personally I don't have a problem with. Again though it's really just the worries about how long the battery might last but I suppose it's really how long is a piece of string.

any thoughts or info greatly received.

Many thanks

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Re: Prius or Civic IMA

Postby qdos » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:34 pm

dotsonline wrote: Also the mpg figures on the Civic don't seem as good as the Prius, mainly as the model is manual.

Manuals are usually better than autos on mpg

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Postby Jeremy » Sat Aug 30, 2008 1:40 pm

I owned a Prius for three years, so can give you a view as to it's strengths and weaknesses.

For my 40 mile each way commute to work, on slow A and B roads (average speed around 40mph) the Prius gave excellent economy, about 62mpg in the Summer, dropping to about 56mpg in the Winter (it is very temperature sensitive, more so than many cars). I reckon that the Prius saved me around £1500 a year for my 20,000+ annual mileage (compared to the Mercedes SLK I had before :) ............).

I changed jobs about a year ago and my commute dropped to just a couple of miles, with the odd long trip of 100 miles or so every couple of weeks, plus average journeys of about 5 to 10 miles at weekends. The Prius fuel consumption plummeted to around 45 mpg at best, I don't think I once managed to get more than 50mpg from it doing these short runs.

In my case I also kept an old Daihatsu as a tow car (the Prius cannot legally be fitted with a tow bar in the UK, despite what some will say). I sold the Prius a few months ago and bought a Honda CRV diesel. This is nearly as economical as the Prius (it returns about 42mpg), but has allowed me to get rid of the Diahatsu, as the CRV will tow pretty well.

My advice would be not to get a hybrid solely for fuel economy if you only do short runs, as it won't really pay for itself at all. At the moment, a small diesel will almost certainly be cheaper to run than a hybrid of any flavour for short runs and will also be cheaper to buy. My wife has a Citroen C3 diesel that returns a steady 60 to 64 mpg when doing a commute to work of 5 to 6 miles each way, which is far better than either the Prius or Civic will manage for that sort of journey.

There are many other extremely good reasons for getting a hybrid though, including the fantastic driving experience that the Prius gives. With no gears (the Prius is not an automatic at all, it simply has no gearbox or clutch in any form, just a clever power split device and a directly coupled electric motor) and continuous drive from a standstill to over 100mph, lots of torque from the electric motor and cheap road tax, it has a lot going for it.

The Civic is a much less capable hybrid, in my view. I test drove both before opting for the Prius and it was no contest. The Prius is by far the better technological solution, as well as being more economical in practice and a much nicer car to drive.

With regard to the NHW10 import, I would advise you to think very long and hard before going down this route. The main screen will be in Japanese, with no English translation available, the radio will only work with a bodge converter that shifts the frequencies to the UK spec, RDS won't work on the radio, spares are, to all intents and purposes unobtainable in the UK, as the car was only ever manufactured for the Japanese domestic market, and lastly NHW 10 batteries will now be pretty much at the end of their life as the car will be around 9 or 10 years old. NHW10 batteries can possibly be rebuilt with NHW11 modules, but it wouldn't be a cheap job if you needed to pay someone to do it. Finally, the NHW 10 performance was pretty dismal. The NHW 10 was really a marketing and development experiment by Toyota, who never intended the car to leave the shores of Japan. Finally, you will pay full whack road tax on the NHW 10, as it doesn't qualify as an "Alternative Fuel Vehicle" to fit in the cheap tax bracket.


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Postby microman » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:42 pm

I would agree with much of Jeremy's comments on the Prius ( having also owned one for three years now. Our journeys are mostly dog-walking and shopping - typically 5 - 12 miles each way with occasional longer trips at week ends and for holidays. Annual is just over 10000 so I suppose our profile is much like yours.

Living in the colder North East we see even more of a temperature variation than Jeremy - 60+ in summer and low 50s in winter. Lifetime average is just under 55 which is close to that reported by most Prius owners.

Apart from the technological wonders the other attraction of the car is simply that it is both relaxing and interesting to drive.

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Postby marktime » Sun Aug 31, 2008 4:29 pm

Doug I will also echo Jeremy's comments, I test drove both before I chose the Prius and after almost 2 years I am very pleased with my decision.

If you have a look at the thread 'Hybrids the debate starts here' (in this section) you will see my comments on both.

As Jeremy says you will not get the best out of a Prius on short journeys. If you can make most of your journeys more than 20 to 25 miles then you should be able to get up into the 60's mpg.

Do not attempt to buy a hybrid registerd before 31/03/2001 it will not benifit from the band 'B' VED and alt fuel discount.

We have very recently traded my wife's Ford Focus for a Citroen C3 1.4Hdi (like Jeremy) and this gives good mileage and falls in to band 'B' for VED. (That's two cars taxed for £50 (C3 = £35 Prius = £15) :D :D :D )

Soft as Graphite, Hard as Diamond, Black as Coal & clear as CO2, It's a Carbon thing!

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Postby dotsonline » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:44 pm

Thanks everyone for the information given. It's been most helpful. I think as mentioned the diesel route is probably the best one for now.

C3 is a bit too small for family and business, C4 is nice but too expensive at the moment. Will have to have a look at Astra's, Peugeot etc.

Many thanks

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Postby qdos » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:24 am

You could keep an eye out for the new Honda Jazz as I think there's a diesel hybrid being talked about. It's a surprisingly good sized car inside too my dad has one and I can't help but think TARDIS each time I get out of it

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Postby dotsonline » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:40 am

Well we're sorted out. Got a nice Astra estate 1.7 dti on an 02 plate for a good price.

No hybrids here at the moment but that's the plan for the next car. Hopefully the Astra would give us a better position for part ex if need be.

Worth noting that if the current import rules stay in place then the Honda Insight will able to be brought into the UK without an SVA shortly. That's if there's any left in Japan. It's too small for us though unfortunatley.

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Postby hoverbover » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:58 pm

I looked at the Prius and the IMA and went for the IMA. Reason was cost, the IMA is cheaper!
My best MPG to date is 76.2, and that was slipstreaming a dutch lorry!! My average over 7500 miles is now at 62.7mpg.

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