The all-new 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, the first mainstream vehicle sold in North America equipped with a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, has earned EPA city/highway fuel economy ratings of 46/51 mpg with a 5-speed manual transmission. It will have a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $19,550, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has announced.

Civic Hybrid models will begin reaching dealerships the week of March 25. The Civic Hybrid will also be available with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), with a MSRP of $20,550. The Hybrid CVT has earned EPA City/Highway ratings of 48/47 mpg. Both models will have a range of more than 600 miles. The Civic Hybrid will be available at all Honda dealerships nationwide and sales are expected to average about 2,000 vehicles a month.

"The Civic is one of the cornerstones of the Honda brand and adding a hybrid to the Civic lineup is an example of the faith and confidence we have in the future of hybrid technology," said Tom Elliott, American Honda executive vice president. "Hybrid technology is ready for prime time."

The Civic Hybrid will be Honda's second hybrid model, following the introduction in 1999 of the two-passenger Insight, the first hybrid sold in America and currently the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the United States.