2025 Honda Civic Hybrid First Drive Review: Prius Hunter

If there’s one thing in Toyota‘s arsenal that archrival Honda would and frankly should be jealous of, it’s the Prius. For over two decades, Toyota’s hybrid compact sedan has dominated the space in both sales and mindshare, becoming an entire environmentalist icon in the process—everybody knows what a Prius is, everybody’s been in one, and everybody knows somebody who has one. The Prius is to hybrid cars what Kleenex is to face tissues. None of these things can really be said about, say, the Honda Insight. But that hasn’t stopped the company from introducing a new challenger and, as it happens, one of the best value propositions available today: the 2025 Honda Civic Hybrid. Chris Tsui The Basics For 2025, the Civic as a whole undergoes a mid-cycle refresh. Outside, there’s a new lower front fascia, darker taillights on the sedan, and new wheels. Inside, Honda hasn’t messed with what works because aside from some hybrid-specific items in the instrument screen (10.2 inches in this top Sport Touring trim) and the word “Hybrid” printed on the steering column, the interior is the same as before. Hard buttons and switches are used for everything that should be a hard button or switch, the HVAC knobs are satisfyingly clicky, and displays are clear and run thoughtfully designed software. Opt for the Sport Touring and the nine-inch touchscreen now gets Google built-in, meaning Google Maps, other nav and media apps from the Play Store, and Google Assistant voice commands can all be run natively (no need to plug in or connect a phone). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are thankfully still around, though—Sport Touring can connect to both wirelessly, lower trims require wires at all times. Chris Tsui Overall, it is as attractive and practical a cabin as the Civic’s has ever been. Clean design, intuitive controls, decent materials, class-leading build quality, it’s all still here. However, if I had to point to one thing that I wished was a bit better, it is the touchscreen hardware itself. It’s starting to feel a bit small and low-res compared to, say, the one that comes in the competing top-trim Hyundai. The big enhancement for 2025 is, of course, the addition of hybrid power. Civic comes in four trims: LX, Sport, Sport Hybrid, and Sport Touring Hybrid. The LX and Sport are powered by a 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle naturally aspirated four-cylinder (a new engine, believe it or not) making 150 horsepower while the top two Sport trims, as their full names suggest, are hybrids. Using the same two-motor system found in the Accord and CR-V Hybrids—one motor powers the wheels directly, the other supplies power to the battery—the Civic Hybrid makes 200 total hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. Honda says the hybrid setup is both quicker and more efficient than the old 1.5-liter turbo that’s no longer available presumably outside of the upcoming, updated Si. Chris Tsui Driving Experience “Carried-over excellence” is also a good way to sum up what it’s like to actually drive the updated Civic. And with hybrid power, it’s appreciably better. This car’s reliance on electricity gives it an EV-like punch, particularly from zero to 20 mph, making putting around downtown Montreal extremely pleasant. Integration with the gas engine is seamless and bar the admirably muted combustion noise, the Civic Hybrid accelerates down a highway with a smoothness that also brings to mind full-electric cars. It’s not too noticeable when music’s playing but listen closely and Honda’s hybrid system always emits an electronic humming noise. Neither annoying or particularly exciting, but it is something to listen for on a test drive. Chris Tsui The addition of regen brakes hasn’t introduced any wonkiness in the pedal, at least not that I could tell, and the rest of the Civic’s driving experience remains palatably, admirably athletic. All 2025 Civics benefit from chassis enhancements like retuned springs and dampers, stiffer upper suspension and subframe mounts up front, and more rigid lower rear suspension mounts. Rear torsional rigidity is up 3%, the factory tires boast 19% less rolling resistance, the Sport Touring’s wheels get noise-reducing resonators, and the whole car’s center of gravity is lowered by 10 mm. And you know what? To my backside, the 2025 Civic does indeed feel a bit more robust than the last Civic I drove, although it is one of those differences where a back-to-back comparison is needed to rule out the placebo effect. In any case, the Civic was already a rock-solid vehicle and Honda has gone ahead and made it even more solid. Chris Tsui All of the Civic’s other driving-related virtues remain. Outward visibility is refreshingly great thanks to big windows and thin A-pillars. Steering is just weighty enough, just precise enough, and a low-key joy to operate, and the whole thing moves with a near-luxury car solidity on the road. Better Sensing Also improved is this car’s standard Honda Sensing suite of assisted driving tech. Acceleration and deceleration under adaptive cruise control have been made smoother at traffic jam speeds and on hills while lane keep is also said to have been smoothed out. Turning both on to traverse a highway revealed a system that is fairly impressive, able to travel long distances with minimal driver intervention—slowing down, speeding up, and staying within lanes with reassuringly natural movements. Automated stop-and-go traffic wasn’t a challenge for the car, even in heavy rain. Like everything else in this car, Honda Sensing’s steering wheel-mounted controls and associated instrument readouts are easy to learn and make sense of. Chris Tsui Fuel Economy The whole point of electrification is to burn less fuel and the hybridized Civic indeed does that. Honda pegs it for 50 mpg in the city, 47 on the highway, and 49 combined. Impressively frugal and significantly more efficient than the 36-mpg turbo model it replaces but lagging when compared to the front-drive Prius which is rated for 52 mpg in top trims and 57 mpg in base form. For reference, here are the full EPA numbers for the Prius XLE/Limited, the Corolla Hybrid, the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid, as well as the outgoing non-Hybrid Civic. The 2025 Honda Civic Hybrid is expected to get 50 mpg city, 47 highway, and 49 combined. EPA Chris Tsui The Early Verdict The 2025 Honda Civic starts at $24,250 for the base LX, but a hybrid model will go for at least $29,845. The top Sport Touring version you see here with all the bells and whistles will cost $32,845 including destination, undercutting the $36,060 front-wheel-drive Prius Limited by more than three grand. It is arguably Honda’s—and, by extension, the rest of the auto industry’s—best shot yet at an alternative to that award-winning Toyota. Even before you compare it to anything else, though, the Civic Hybrid is an excellent car. Honda boasts that it is the most powerful non-Si, non-Type R Civic there’s ever been. As a daily driver, I’d argue that it’s also the best non-Si, non-Type R Civic there’s ever been. Practical without being dowdy, stylish without being gaudy, and genuinely enjoyable to drive without being compromisingly rough or flimsy, the electrified Honda Civic is one of the best commuter cars you can get right now. Chris Tsui Will it dethrone the Prius as the de facto hybrid compact economy sedan in the hearts and minds of the buying public? I’m not so sure about that—public perception is a tough thing to change—but on merit alone, the electrified Civic deserves its place right beside it. Comparing them directly, the Civic Hybrid may not look as cool as that Toyota on the outside or be as efficient (per the EPA), but it does drive better. Its interior is nicer and simpler too, and it’s probably the one I’d have—that $3,000 saved doesn’t hurt either. 2025 Honda Civic Sedan SpecsLXSportSport HybridSport Touring HybridBase Price$24,250$27,345$29,845$32,845Powertrain2.0-liter four-cylinder | continuously variable automatic transmission | front-wheel drive<<2.0-liter four-cylinder | two-motor hybrid system | front-wheel drive<<Horsepower150 @ 6,400 rpm<<200<<Torque133 lb-ft @ 4,000-5,000 rpm<<232 lb-ft @ 0-2,000 rpm<<Seating Capacity5<<<<<<Cargo Volume14.8 cubic feet<<<<14.4 cubic feet Curb Weight2,875 pounds2,926 pounds 3,208 pounds3,252 poundsFuel Economy (Preliminary)32 mpg city | 41 highway | 36 combined31 mpg city | 39 highway | 34 combined50 mpg city | 47 highway | 49 combined<<Quick TakeAn all-around great commuter car and a worthy challenger to the mighty Prius.Score9/10 Chris Tsui Got a tip or question for the author about the Civic Hybrid? You can reach him here: