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Hybrid cars have come a long way in the past 15 years, which may make cars like the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid seem obsolete. After all, the 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid we recently tested had a dual-motor hybrid powertrain that easily averaged 45 mpg without even trying. It was also pretty powerful.

However, Honda’s hybrids weren’t always that great, but they did set good precedence in the hybrid segment. For example, the aforementioned 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid has great fuel efficiency and a subtle but funky design. Here is why the old Civic Hybrid is a fuel-saving bargain for less than $8,000.

The Honda Civic was redesigned for the 2006 model year

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid Driving
2006 Honda Civic Hybrid | Honda

Honda redesigned the Civic platform for the 2006 model year. The Japanese automaker gave the car a completely new look inside and out, which was well-received by most critics. The car’s exterior styling was subtle but elegant, and it has proven to withstand the test of time. In our eyes, the eighth-generation Civic still looks good.

The interior, however, was polarizing at the time. The 2006 Civic had an unconventional two-tiered dashboard with an analog tachometer and a digital speedometer. Additionally, the two-spoke steering wheel in the sedan looked like something out of a science-fiction comic book, and the whole cabin looked futuristic at the time. In some ways, it still does.

Honda revised the Civic’s powertrains for the 8th generation

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid Engine
2006 Honda Civic Hybrid | Honda

All of the Civic powertrains were upgraded as well. The gas-powered models now had an i-VTEC 1.8-liter engine that pumped out 140 hp. But those that favored fuel efficiency over horsepower could find it in the revised Civic Hybrid. The fuel-sipping version of the Civic was powered by a 1.3-liter engine that was powered in part by an electric motor. Combined, the system put out 110 hp, which was low but adequate.

Unlike new hybrid systems in which the electric motor can power the car at low speeds, the 2006 Civic Hybrid’s setup utilized the motor to accelerate and automatically start/stop. The system was aptly named “Integrated Motor Assist,” or IMA for short. Honda also used this system in future cars like the second-generation Insight and the CR-Z. However, it improved the system in 2019 with the newer Insight and Accord Hybrid.

The Civic Hybrid had stellar fuel efficiency ratings at the time

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid Interior
2006 Honda Civic Hybrid | Honda

Despite the car’s low power output, the Civic Hybrid achieves stellar fuel efficiency ratings. According to the EPA, the 2006 Civic Hybrid could get up to 50 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway. However, current owners reported getting between 40 to 45 mpg in real-world driving situations.

That’s still pretty good, considering the car can fit up to five people, has a decent amount of trunk space, and is typically priced under $10,000. A recent search on CarGurus reveals plenty of 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid selling for around $6,000 to $8,000, which is truly a bargain.

If you’re in the market for a used hybrid sedan and have a tight budget, this old Civic Hybrid could work for you. Who cares if it doesn’t have a fancy hybrid system like the new Accord?