Manual transmission and a hybrid drivetrain. These things seem like they’d go hand-in-hand. Manuals are fuel efficient. Hybrids are fuel efficient. This is the perfect combination!
The only problem is most hybrid people don’t want to bother with driving a stick. And, love ‘em or hate ‘em, CVT automatics tend to be just as good at gas mileage as manuals – if not better. The result is there are a precious few manual hybrids in existence today.
We all know one of them: the original Honda Insight. That was initially offered only with a stick, though a CVT came online later, ensuring the car would never be able to climb steep hills, or medium-sized hills, or speed bumps.
There’s also the Honda CR-Z, the Insight’s successor, which offers a stick shift to drivers who want to really wring out the 13.2-second 0-to-60 time in their “sport” hybrid.
But did you know there’s another manual hybrid out there?
That’s right, folks: the first-generation Honda Civic Hybrid came with a stick shift from 2003 to 2005. It looks like installation rates were surprisingly high, reaching about 20 percent of all Civic Hybrid models. That figure, coupled with the first-generation Civic Hybrid’s reasonable popularity, means there are a few stick shift Civic Hybrids available on the used market.
Unfortunately, the days of a manual hybrid sedan are probably long behind us. But for hypermilers who do most of their driving in the diesel-unfriendly big city, the Civic Hybrid stick is a good choice. Except for that whole thing about replacing the batteries.