On The Road

Honda's complex Civic hybrid is hardly on a par with simpler diesels in fuel consumption and emissions.

by Richard Bremner

A proposed £2,000 road tax on high-emission vehicles from the LibDems. Tory leader David Cameron's choice of a Lexus hybrid as his official car. Rumours of Gordon Brown acquiring a hybrid Toyota. It all adds to the noise about cars and their part in global warming.

Not that the choice of hybrids - the most advanced green cars on offer - is vast. These com- plex, twin-engined petrol-electric machines are the motor industry's boldest strike yet at the ecological issues. They're not the only solution, but hybrids have been making the headlines, particularly Toyota's Prius, in its unlikely role as the car for thinking Hollywood stars.

But rival Honda was actually first to offer a hybrid in Britain - the strange Insight two-seater coupe. It followed that up with a more conventional Civic saloon and has now launched its second-generation Civic hybrid.

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