Everything that’s old is new again. Ok, perhaps it’s a bit much. But in an era where automakers are rolling out new EV after new EV, Honda’s plans to bring back the Civic Hybrid, last produced in 2015, as a 2025 model does stand out.
The Honda Civic Hybrid, which was last produced by Honda in 2015 as a hatchback and sedan, will return to production in the spring of 2024 after an almost 10-year hiatus.
Honda plans to manufacture the 2025 Honda Civic hybrid sedan in Alliston, Ontario and the hatchback in Greensburg, Indiana. The hybrid’s 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine is coming from Honda’s Anna Engine Plant in Ohio, while the two-motor hybrid-electric power unit will be constructed by the Honda Transmission Plant in Ohio.
“Our associates are proud to play an important role in the Honda electrification strategy,” said Roxanna Metz, plant co-lead of the Indiana Auto Plant. “Sales of Honda hybrid models already represent more than one-quarter of our sales in the U.S. and we are proud to help our customers transition to the electrified future with our ‘made in Indiana’ products.”
Further details about the forthcoming 2025 Honda Civic Hybrid was not disclosed.
Selling into a trend
The Honda CR-V Hybrid, which makes up more than 56% of the CR-V’s sales in the United States, is now produced at Honda’s Indiana facility. Honda expects more than 40% of Civic sales will come from its hybrid variant
Demand for hybrid vehicles clearly rising. The second quarter of 2023 saw 7.2% of sales coming from hybrid vehicles, while plug-in hybrids made up 1.7%, or almost 9%, of total sales, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Conversely, 6.7% went to electric cars.
Approximately 25% of Honda’s total sales in the U.S. are electric cars. However, none of Honda’s new hybrids are eligible for federal tax credits, despite being manufactured in the United States, as none of them are plug-in hybrids.
Among Honda’s oldest hybrids
In 2002, the year after it went on sale in Japan, the Honda Civic Hybrid made its North American premiere. It was Honda’s second hybrid vehicle, coming after the 1999 Insight two-seater. It had the same appearance as any other Civic, save for the grille. It was powered by an 83-horsepower 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gas engine and a 10-kilowatt (13 horsepower) electric motor that produced a combined 93 hp.
The driveline’s nickel-metal hydride battery pack was placed behind the rear seats. Unusually, it came with a 5-speed manual gearbox, or a continuously variable transmission. It was EPA-rated at 46 mpg city, 51 mpg highway. And if the wheels look small, well they were, measuring 14 inches.
But first-year sales in the U.S. came in at 13,707 units, and would peak five years later at 32,575. By then the Hybrid was in its second iteration, but the manual transmission was eliminated, taking with it a key chromosome of Honda automobiles.
The Honda Civic Hybrid survived through 2015 before being dropped, a victim of low gas prices and a lack of corporate foresight.