Green is the new pink. And pushing the metrosexuals into oblivion is the hybrid clan, or should we say, the Hybrid-sexuals.
These are your typical Hollywood types—they mostly drive around in fuel guzzling SUVs, that are the size of an apartment, be it for picking up their peanut butter or driving down to the other side of the American map.
But, come cameras, or the time to walk the red carpet, and they slip into something less comfortable—small, inconspicuous, dud little hybrids that can hardly even
accommodate their egos.
These are our modern-day superheroes, groomed to save the earth by kicking global warming where it hurts the most. However, their biggest draw, as you might have figured out by now, is to uplift its owner’s image as a rich individual with sense and a green conscience.
Courtesy Honda, now our movie stars (and the wealthy lot in general), too, can indulge in the green game. Enter, the Civic Hybrid. It, of course, looks identical to the regular Civic, both inside and out—there’s an insignificant rear spoiler and dinner-dish like wheels for distinction on the outside, while inside, a few additional indicators have been added that relay whether it’s the battery or the petrol engine that’s powering the car. It’s all a bit high-tech, and, honestly, could take you the better part of a week to really use the thing to your advantage.
However, it’s the Hybrid’s pricing that really sets it apart from its regular sibling—it costs twice as much! Blame it on the import laws if you will, but the high cost ensures that the Hybrid is more of a showpiece and a style statement than something you’d pay for to commute alone.
Step on the accelerator and the small 1.3 litre engine gets into the act. Push on harder and the engine—which is the only source of power under hard acceleration—begins to sound terrified, as if it were being squeezed to the very end of its capabilities. It’s certainly not an enjoyable or involving drive.
SpecsModel: 1.3 litre petrol+electric motor
Max power: 95bhp+25bhp
Max torque: 122Nm+103Nm
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 12.5 seconds
Fuel efficiency: 14 kmpl
Top Speed: 175 kmph
Price: Rs 23 lakh
Furthermore, the simulated engine response and soaring efficiency figures apart, the car rides and handles almost as well as the regular Civic, which really is a good thing.
The Civic Hybrid is a great flaunting tool. But given that it promises to return nothing more than better fuel efficiency and lesser emissions for almost twice the money compared to the regular Civic—and would need you to drive over 7 lakh kilometres to recover the difference in pricing—it’s not just poor value for the pennywise Indian’s hard earned money, but it’s impractical, too. For the rich, though, it makes for a priceless statement.
Vikrant Singh is Road Test Editor, Auto Bild India
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