Well, I have done my due dilligence and testing and looked at the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Toyota Prius Hybrid and I have to say that they are both technologically wonderful vehicles to drive and experience.
But this isn't a glowing review of both cars. I have issues with both of them that should be addressed in future models to entice more and more people to switch to Green Alternative Vehicles.
I belive the PRIUS is an excellent car - very good gas mileage in a very unique body style with a lot of extras. My problem with the PRIUS is that the EXTRA's have to be ADDED to the car - get over the add-on's Toyota - simply offer the PRIUS with Navigation and maybe a PRIUS without Navigation (HONDA/ACURA has it correct in this respect).
The PRIUS is a very unique body style and almost looks like a cross between the Honda Insight and a Sienna Mini-Van. I find it to be unique, but it definately does not 'blend' in, whereas the Honda Civic does blend in fairly well. The Honda LOOKS like a regular car... but it doesn't DRIVE like a regular car... more on that later.
The PRIUS, when EXTRA package #5 or #6 are added, is a technological dream with more gadgets than a MacBook Pro and it's DASHBOARD items. I am a gadget freak - I own a MacBook Pro 15 Core2 Duo, Samsung Blackjack cell phone, 5 iPods, etc. etc. etc. - I am a techno geek! The Prius, fully loaded fits in with my lifestyle better - bluetooth technology, ultra high definition GPS device, Satellite radio (addable - should be STANDARD), Homelink system, CD changer, etc. etc. A great all around car - I love the fold down seats, the quiet engine and great heads up display. The rear-view camera is also a cool feature.
For the Civic, it has a some great strong points - Honda/Acura loves to have 2 choices and they include a lot of the EXTRAS in the price - With Nav and Without Nav. I don't have to sit there bickering about this and that or whatever. Now the bad points - although this hybrid does look like a car, it doesn't drive like one. I found that starting and stopping in the Civic Hybrid gave me some bad feelings - starting from a stop sign, caused the car to JERK and LURCH. The sales person didn't say that this was abnormal, so I assume that it was NORMAL. Stopping also was a little ODD - the engine dies as you come to a stop and the engine with brake regeneration then charges the battery. Also, the Civic's engine is maited to the electric engine - whereas the PRIUS has two separate and distinct engines.
Also, the REAR seat of the CIVIC does not fold down - that really sucks. In the PRIUS, I can totally fold down the seats and have a lot of storage.
Well - anyway - our choice is the Prius - now we get to go haggle with the dealer...