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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Honda vs. Prius

So after picking up my car at the Saturn place the other day, and paying my pound of flesh, I noted that the dealership next door was a Honda dealership, so I thought, "Hmm, been curious about the Honda Civic Hybrid. Maybe I should go ask." So I pulled in and the salesmen stood together like a pack of hungry dogs. One broke away and asked if I had an appointment. I said no, that I was just interested in inquiring about a Civic Hybrid. We strode off confidently toward the other side of the lot. They had several on site, and manual transmission off at the quarry parking lot. So after poking around the interior of one, we decided to drive off to the quarry, pick up the manual and give it a go on the way back.

The Civic, unlike the Prius, is really just a normal car with a hybrid engine. Nothing about it has been reimagined other than the engine. This is likely very comforting to a large section of the population, but for me, it was disappointing. Really, the inside felt no different than Kevin's ten year old Honda Civic. This also caused a couple of downsides, the most annoying of which is that the rear seats don't fold down. The trunk is shallower than the backseat, making the fold down thing unworkable. For me, this was pretty much a deal breaker. Too often, I've come out to the car at OSH or Home Depot and been unable to fit things without folding down the seats. I need that option. And really, the only thing to recommend it over the Prius was 1. price, and 2. manual transmission option (and oh, alright, 3. better color choice). Otherwise, there was nothing special about the car. The Prius feels like a special car. The remote keyless entry and start is brilliant. I love the hatchback styling, making cargo possible and easy in a still relatively small vehicle. So, still hoping for a Prius.

But speaking of price, I asked what their financing options were and what the bottom line was on price. Well, it had been a slow day, so they were ready to play "Let's Make a Deal." Only it was the aggressive version where you will make a deal or we'll hold you hostage until you do make a deal. The price was $20,595, but they offered it to me for $19,588. They also offered 1.9% financing for 36 months. Okay, now this is a pretty sweet deal. Then they kept sweetening it. They dropped the price to invoice ($19,101), and offered a free tape deck (which I'd inquired about for books on tape). Finally Rick called and said, "Where's my dinner!" I used this as my escape. On my way off the lot, they offered to give me a good trade in price and take another $200 less than invoice. The stink of desperation was all over them, but as I'd said previously, I was not ready to buy. I do a lot of research, find out what fits my body, find out what features are most important to me, find out about all the ups and downs, find out what the next model year has to offer, and then decide. I was still in step one - find out if the car fits my body. It was alright. Okay. Ready to go do the rest of the research. NOT ready to spend $20k today thankyouverymuch. And your aggressive sales tactics are making me run away as fast and as far as possible.

So my next car will still likely be a Prius, but I have no intention of paying a premium for it and I expect to get decent financing for the probably half of the price that I'd be looking to finance. If not, the Honda Civic Hybrid is a decent fall back vehicle. And there's more hybrids coming out next year, so maybe another option will be even more enticing. I still think I'm at least a year from wanting to buy, probably almost 2 years. With all the fixes just put into the Saturn, I need to use her for a while longer.

But really, does anyone feel good about high pressure sales tactics? Do they really work? For me, nothing will make me less likely to buy something. I will not reward that kind of behavior.


  • Too many SUV's in the list of upcoming hybrids. I don't like high pressure sales either. I guess if people are excited by the prospect of buying a car and aren't used to doing research, it works on them, but it's ultimately going to cost them money they could have saved.

    By Blogger Chris S, at 1:56 PM  

  • Civic Hybrid may be a hybrid but the milage isn't so great. From Edumnds - City Mileage: 21-29 mpg Hwy Mileage: 30-37 mpg.

    The regular Civic gets 32 mpg / 37 mpg even better milage than the hybrid. Boo. If you are going to compare its more The Prius is more like the Insight even though its too small the milage is comparable to the Prius. 51-60 ish.

    If you are going to get a hybrid, might as well get good milage.

    By Blogger vile, at 11:57 PM  

  • Not true actually. The Civic Hybrid gets comparable mileage - 46/51 with the stick shift, slightly lower with the automatic. The Accord hybrid is lower than that, but the Civic is still much better than the regular Civic.

    By Blogger Ammy, at 12:11 PM  

  • I have driven a Civic Hybrid for over a year (until it got smahsed into by a cab) - my commute is 25 miles each way on limited access roads, on which I dr4ive at or slightly below the speed limit, by myself, usually w/o a/c. It is a 5 speed, and if battery is fully charged, am apt to coast on longer downhills. During warmer weather, say, March through October, I average 62 mpg round trip. My overall mileage in a mix of driving, over 15,000 miles, has been 52 MPG.

    My wire drives her hybrid with a heavy foot (she has been ticketed at 83 mph in a 65 zone), and does use the a/c. She has over 30,000 miles on her car in about 15 months, and her overall mpg is about 46.

    By Blogger teacherken, at 8:06 PM  

  • You people whine and complain about sales people, do they go to your place of work and waste your time? You whine about service you whine about sales... GET A BIKE!

    By Blogger Unknown, at 9:50 AM  

  • Wow. Such rage on a two year old post. I didn't get a bike; I got a Prius, from a sales person who worked to get me what I asked for as quickly as possible. He earned his commission and I was happy to provide it.

    By Blogger Ammy, at 10:03 AM  

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