Here’s an oft-overlooked fact, Honda was the first to offer a car in the contemporary marketplace with a gasoline/electric hybrid powertrain. Back in December of 1999, the company produced the Honda Insight, a three door, two-passenger hatchback based on a Honda concept car from the 1997 Tokyo Auto Show. The first modern hybrid available in North America, it was trailed by the Prius seven month later.
Sometimes though being first id a disadvantage. Most will agree Honda seriously misjudged the marketplace by introducing Insight as a two-seat commuter car, even if it was certified by the EPA as the most fuel-efficient gasoline powered car ever, at 61 miles per gallon on the highway. By the way, as of November 2014, this record still stands.
Still though, while fuel efficiency is cool, practicality is the trump card. When the Prius arrived with four doors, four seats, and a trunk—Insight was basically, well, sunk. Since those times, the hybrid powertrain has proliferated vigorously. These days it’s difficult to name a manufacturer without at least one hybrid powertrain in its lineup. Essentially, the hybrid powertrain has become so mainstream; it’s simply a trim level for an existing line of cars in most cases.
Which brings us to the 2015 Honda Civic Hybrid.