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By Drew Johnson

We've spied several different variants of the next-generation Civic during the last few weeks, and today, we've got another -- the Civic Hybrid!

The wheels and tires give away this sedan's true identity. The same Bridgestone Insignia SE200-02 low rolling resistance tire found on the 2010 Honda Civic Hybrid are also found on this prototype. We also noticed that this Civic's testing partners consist of a Toyota Prius and a Honda Insight.

Originally, the 9th gen Civic was set to debut in the Summer of 2010 as a 2011 model, but once CAFE regulations changed and the auto industry hit hard times in 2009, Honda had to rethink things. Rumors stated Honda originally wanted to make the Civic larger, but as you can see from the photos, the overall size of the 2012 Civic will remain largely unchanged.

While the camouflage is pretty heavy, we can see peeks at a new grille and headlights. The front end looks more upright overall as well. The doors also have some fresh character lines.

The current Civic hybrid has a 1.3L i-VTEC 4-cylinder, mated to electric motors. We've heard that the Civic may move to the 1.5L-based hybrid powertrain setup also found in the CR-Z. This new Civic Hybrid may also be the first car in the lineup to receive the rumored, next-generation lithium ion batteries Honda has been working on.



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