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Bankrate's 2008 Car Guide
Going green
Saving cash while saving the planet is great but is it cost-effective and the right move for you?
Green is beautiful
Number of hybrid choices soar

More hybrid choices
Cadillac Escalade Lexus RX 400h
Chevrolet Malibu Mazda Tribute
Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra Nissan Altima
Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon Saturn Aura
Chrysler Aspen/Dodge Durango Saturn Vue/ Vue 2 Mode Hybrid
Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner Toyota Camry
Honda Civic Toyota Highlander
Lexus GS 450h Toyota Prius
Lexus LS 600h L
Honda Civic

Since its introduction in 2003, Honda's Civic Hybrid has consistently been the also-ran hybrid, overshadowed by the more well-known Toyota Prius. Now in its second generation, the Civic continues to quietly deliver more than 40 miles to a gallon of gas.

An assist hybrid, the Civic uses its 1.3-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine as its primary source of power, even at slow speeds -- something that distinguishes it from most other hybrids on the market. The electric motor initially gets the car moving while starting the gasoline engine, and it also offers assistance to the gasoline engine when it needs a power boost, such as when you are entering a freeway or passing another car.

The Civic can switch off some or all of its cylinders when it is cruising and not under a heavy load, which allows it to run in an all-electric mode and save fuel. It also switches its engine off when you come to a complete stop.

Honda also has released a series of cryptic announcements, disclosing that the company will have a new small hybrid available in early 2009. Apparently it will be a hatchback capable of seating five adults and will be an assist hybrid, much like its Civic cousin. As an assist hybrid, it will use its gasoline engine as its primary source of power, relying on the electric motor to get the car started and for power boosts during high-demand times, such as during acceleration.

Honda hasn't released a name, engine specifications or mileage expectations, but has promised to release more information about the upcoming car later this year.

-- Posted: Aug. 4, 2008
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