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Are Hybrids worth it?

Discussion in 'Automotive' started by Rjbatzler, May 16, 2008.

  1. Rjbatzler

    Rjbatzler Member

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    Ok so I'm considering getting a new car and with gas prices as high as they are, my biggest focus is gas mileage. Of course there has been much hype about hybrids and their fuel efficiency, but I have heard otherwise. I have been told that it will take several years for savings to take effect based on the fact that hybrids are often pricier than their counterparts and the MPG savings aren't very drastic. Also, I have heard that the $2000 "Battery change" every 100k miles makes it cost more in the end. Does anyone here have experience with hybrids who could share whether or not it would be worth buying one? And what models are the best?
     


  2. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator Staff Member

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    Me personally, if I were looking to buy a car, I'd wait until the fall, when VW will be coming out with their clean diesel Jettas. The fuel economy is as good or better than a hybrid and since it's a turbodiesel, the performance is good.

    Plus you don't have to deal with the initial premium of a hybrid, plus the cost and hassle of the big battery. You talked about the cost, but there might be additional hassle, based on placement of the battery. My sister has a Civic Hybrid and her trunk space is smaller and she can't fold down the back seat for additional room because the battery is mounted right behind the back seat.

    The downside, of course, is the cost of diesel these days.
     
  3. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

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    We own a 2006 Toyota Prius. I originally drove the car. With my short commute, even though I do most of the weekend driving and drive to pick up the kid at school, I was only filling up approximately every three weeks. I say was, because I got a new car to replace a minivan and my wife is now driving the Prius.

    Anyway, the Prius has something like an 11.X gallon tank, and it tells you to fill up after about 8 or so gallons. My wife has a big commute... at least an hour each way. She is getting over 55 MPG in the Prius and over 500 miles on about nine gallons of gas.

    I would say that, at this point, it's worth it.

    I was shocked in the test drive of the car at how quick it was. I remember testing cars in 1999 and I was very picky about how quick the cars were. That's one reason I didn't get a Saturn at the time... so when I got in the Prius and found out that I was wrong to think it would be sluggish, I was really happy. The switch between the battery and gas engine is almost seamless. I thought it would clunk to a stop at a stop sign, but I don't even feel it. It's also really quiet. I can drive away from my house silently. Pretty funny.

    My wife keeps track of a lot of financial stuff. She gave me some stats. We spent half as much money on fuel this past year, but gas prices were almost double. That says something, IMO.

    I purchased a new car recently... I got the 2008 Scion Xb. I got it to replace a minivan, so I did want something sizeable that wasn't horrible as far as fuel efficiency. Driving the Prius taught me a little bit about efficient driving, and I'm getting about 28-30 MPG in that car (22city 28hwy posted). I'm definitely feeling the difference at the pump... but she's doing better with the Prius than I did.

    For my commute, it probably might not have been worth it... oh who am I kidding... it was... but if you're commute is really short.... like 15 minutes... it might not be worth it for you.

    The car does really well when the engine is warmed up. That's when the really good mileage starts. The thing is... I wasn't allowing the engine to fully warm up on my commute... so just as I was starting to get the good mileage, I was there.

    My wife on the other hand... her commute is long and full of traffic... so she is the perfect candidate for this car. She's getting this mileage just driving straight.... no pulse and glide, etc.

    Basically, I think it is worth it depending on your commute. If you're driving far or through a lot of traffic, it's definitely worth it. If you're 8 miles from work and don't hit all that much traffic... you'll definitely be paying less for fuel, but it'll take you longer to make your money back... though I think the Prius is worth it.

    As for the battery... it doesn't take up much room. It's just in the front under the hood. I've hauled quite a bit of stuff in the car.

    As for switching out the battery. How long is it going to take you to go 100,000 miles? $2000 in that length of time? Seems like an ok deal to me.

    Personally, I did a lot of searching for cars before I bought the Prius. My mother has one too, btw...a 2007. There really is no counterpart for that car. It's a wonderful vehicle. IMO, it's one of the best-designed cars ever. Look at some stats on it. But don't test drive one until you're ready to buy... because you'll want to get one when you do the test drive.

    Also, check out the info for the 2009 redesign of the Prius. It's going to be a larger car with a more powerful engine, and the fuel efficiency will actually increase.
     
  4. Rjbatzler

    Rjbatzler Member

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    Yeah, I heard about this the other day and am very interested. And being a DC fan, I'll get free parking at all DC games if I'm one of the first 50 VW drivers to get there :D
     


  5. Rjbatzler

    Rjbatzler Member

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    Thanks for the input, it definately helps. And I will keep my eye on the 2009 Prius.
     
  6. The Gribbler

    The Gribbler Member

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    From what I hear you can also get a kit that allows the battery to be charged up while in your garage/driveway, thus making the gas engine virtually pointless in city driving.
     
  7. Devil500

    Devil500 New Member

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    Yucky...

    Viva the Diesel :)
     
  8. The Gribbler

    The Gribbler Member

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    What's the average price you'll be paying for a gallon of that these days...? :confused:
     
  9. Claymore

    Claymore Member

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    Around here (DC metro area), expect to pay around $4.70 or more...this week.

    Hybrids have a little-known side effect: the production of NiMH used in their batteries has a fairly large impact on the environment, from the mining of the necessary materials to the toxic byproduct of production. I know that most Fire & Rescue teams in the DC area send a HAZMAT truck as a first responder when the accident involves a hybrid.

    If gas mileage is your primary concern, get a Mini Cooper (not the Cooper S) and call it a day.
     
    guignol repped this.
  10. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, but Mini Coopers aren't exactly spacious. I have a friend with one and every time I ride around in it, my GTI feels downright spacious.
     
  11. Devil500

    Devil500 New Member

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  12. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator Staff Member

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    I have half a mind to trade in my GTI VR6 for one of these when they come out. Most of my driving is urban and it gets 20-22 MPG and takes premium unleaded, which is going for just under $4/gallon here. So obviously, getting twice the mileage per gallon of diesel fuel, which runs 50 cents more a gallon, would be an obvious benefit.

    As for performance, I'd lose around 60 HP going from the 204 HP that the 24 valve, 2.8 L VR6 puts out to the 140 HP that the 2.0 L turbodiesel puts out, but I'd get 30 more ft-lbs of torque from the turbodiesel, which might be more satisfying in city driving.

    But I'd absolutely have to get a manual transmission, though. :D
     
  13. Devil500

    Devil500 New Member

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    The thing would be sooo fun to drive mid corner with the torque to just zip you out of the place..:D
     
  14. ElJefe

    ElJefe Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know if they still do, but back in the day, VW used to sell a turbodiesel version of the Golf GTI in Europe called the Golf GTD.

    Given the demand for VW's turbodiesel models over the past few years in the USA, I think that that might be a pretty good seller for them over here.
     
  15. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 BigSoccer Supporter

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    We already know that April was a great month for Toyota Prius hybrid sales, but it turns out that the first quarter of the year produced stellar sales numbers for hybrids in general, as well as plug-in electric
    cars​
    .
    More than 100,000 hybrids and plug-in cars--113,457--were sold in January, February, and March combined, against roughly 79,000 in the same period of 2011.
    The vast bulk of those sales--106,207--were hybrids, of course.
    The hybrid sales included not only much higher sales of the Toyota Prius, now a lineup of three models plus a plug-in, but also Buicks and Chevrolets fitted with the General Motors eAssist mild-hybrid system.
    All varieties of plug-in cars accounted for 7,250, according to data compiled by industry trade journal Automotive News.
    Plug-in sales totaled about 17,000 units for all of 2011, the bulk of them either the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle or the
    Chevrolet​
    Volt range-extended electric car.
    For 2012, the strong new plug-in entrant is the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, whose April sales beat those of both the Volt and the Leaf.
    Analysts expect perhaps 30,000 to 40,000 plug-in cars to be sold in the U.S. during calendar 2012, against perhaps 400,000-plus conventional hybrids.
    As always, the bulk of the hybrid sales will come from Toyota.
     
  16. 96Squig

    96Squig Member

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    In a few years a Diesel Hybrid from VW, Audi or BMW is probably the way to go, until then a Prius or a Jetta/Golf TDI seem like the best options.

    (not that I would need to worry about that, at this point I doubt I will ever own a car).
     
  17. Salazar

    Salazar Member

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    No one pays more for fuel than we in the UK do and trust me, diesels are the way to go. They will get just as good mileage as a Hybrid would without the high purchase price. Plus the engines go on forever, you can also turn veg oil into diesel to run them if you know how.

    McDonalds in the UK run all their trucks on Diesel bio fuel made from used veg oil from their fryers.
     
  18. EliteFootball

    EliteFootball Member

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    I would buy a classy BMW over an inferior hybrid any day.
     
  19. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    one very important consideration is that hybrids, instead of simplifying/rationalizing the automobile, adds, along with their own problems and maintenance requirements, a parallel drive system and a rather complicated interface between the two. full electric cars present their own set of impracticalities, primarily (but far from exclusively) the fact that present infrastructures do not support them at all, but considering the vehicles unto themselves, are far superior to any hybrid solution.

    but to help answer the question here is information not available 4 years ago: someone i had lunch with today told me that his prius, with which he was very happy for a long time, has become a big disappointment. the electric power system has deteriorated to where it is now of practically no use and the cost of replacing the battery is so high that it doesn't make any sense to do so. he now just has a very ordinary, even mediocre, gasoline-powered car, and one with almost no resale value, until he can afford to buy a new car.
     
  20. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

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    I have a 2006 Prius that I've been quite happy with. It's about to hit the 80,000 mile mark. Gas has been pretty pricey lately, and I just posted a pic of my car's mileage. I took it because I hit another 50MPG tank. It's an 11.9 gallon tank, but it tells me to fill it up with 2 gallons left. I usually put in an average of 8 gallons.

    I will often get 450 - 500 miles on a tank.

    The batteries are lasting longer than people thought they would, and the price has come down on the replacement batteries. They're a couple thousand bucks... not the 7000 I was told.

    The Prius's hybrid system is warrantied for 100,000 miles or 8 years. I don't know what year guignol's friend's prius is, but it must be pretty old.... or in another country. I'm pretty sure the warranty is longer in California.

    Anyway, I'm happy, and I'll probably buy another prius. The mileage is great. I commute 45 minutes to work and an hour home, normally. I fill up every three weeks or so.

    Since 2010, the Prius has actually improved! My mother has a 2010, and it's incredible.

    Something I forgot to write above... Right now, my car says it's getting 46 MPG. I look at that number and think, "I wonder what's wrong. Maybe my tires are low." Others cars' owners would look at a number like that and think their car had been sprinkled with magic fuel economy fairy dust.
     
  21. BimmerBenz95

    BimmerBenz95 Member+

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    You should get the new 2013 Ford Fusion hybrid that gets 47 mpg combined and it looks 50x better than the Prius.
     
  22. guignol

    guignol Moderator Staff Member

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    my personal experience in working with FMC has inoculated me forever from ever buying one of their cars. if dollar bills had ford written on them i wouldn't pick one up in the street.
     
  23. BimmerBenz95

    BimmerBenz95 Member+

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    Ford has been building really good cars lately I would recommend a Ford to anyone who is thinking in buying a good American car.
     
  24. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

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    A silly comment. Some people like the way the Prius looks. I have owned 95% hatchbacks. I like them. I have looked into the Fusion. I'm glad the mileage is finally up, but I've had 47 MPG for 6 years now. I'll consider it in the future, as I would like to buy an American car, but I have been unimpressed with the quality of American cars. We'll see.
     
  25. Iceblink

    Iceblink Member

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    Interesting, I didn't remember being in this thread already. My wife stopped working a couple years ago, so now she's driving the car I started driving back then, and I'm back to driving the Prius. We've only put about 32,000 miles on the other car since 2008. I just passed 80,000 on the Prius last week.

    And I can't believe I typed the wrong "you're" in my post all those years ago. How embarrassing! That never happens. I must have typed something and retyped it another way.
     

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