Honda has managed to raise the gas mileage ratings on all of its new 2012 Civic models, including the 2012 Civic Hybrid, which is rated at a combined 44 mpg.
In a road test over several days last May, we managed to get a real-world 45.3 mpg over a route that was about two-thirds highway, one-thirds local.
But, we wondered how the Honda Civic Hybrid would fare if we hammered it in aggressive real-world usage.
This past weekend, we tested the new hybrid Civic by running it up and down the hills of San Francisco.
Then we hit the the local freeways at speeds that reflected not the speed limits but the pace of prevailing traffic (and perhaps a bit more), and drove it at the height of the Bay Area's grim, aggressive, stop-and-go rush-hour traffic.
The result? While the average mileage varied quite a lot over the course of our 148-mile trip, we ended up at 37.3 mpg.
Mileage in pure city use ranged from 28 to 32 mpg, while a lengthy stint of highway mileage took us up to 40 mpg.
2012 Honda Civic HybridEnlarge Photo
With a few hundred more miles of that, we suspect we'd have gotten closer to our 45-mpg result from last spring.
That's pretty good for any compact sedan in mixed use, and with slightly gentler driving, we're confident the Civic Hybrid would deliver more than 40 mpg across a variety of duty cycles and average speeds.
Beyond gas mileage, we had the same reactions to the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid that we did in May.
It's an awkward car to drive smoothly, especially in stop-and-go traffic when the engine may switch off just as you want to move forward. That applied especially to the four-way stops at every intersection in San Francisco neighborhoods.
The Civic Hybrid is relatively comfortable, fairly well equipped, and otherwise utterly anonymous as only a Civic can be.
So, while we didn't change our views of the car, we did confirm that even in aggressive use, you'll still get better gas mileage than a non-hybrid Civic model under the same circumstances.