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YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

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YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Old 05-04-09, 09:22 AM
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YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

I'm starting to look around for a new car so I thought I'd elicit some opinions here. The biggest issue is the fact I LOVE manual transmissions but also being a cheap ass I'd like to get better fuel mileage therefore I'm starting to look at hybrids. My concern about hybrids though is there still seems to be some questions (or maybe just rumors of questions) about battery life and the expense of swapping out the batteries. I'm also a little concerned about performance. I'm not into street racing or anything like that but when I punch the gas I like there to be something behind it if you know what I mean.

Anyway here's the cars I'm currently considering...

Honda Civic (non-hybrid): I'm currently driving a '97 so the easiest would be a straight "upgrade" to the latest model. This would obviously allow me to keep the manual transmission and wait awhile to see what happens w/ the next gen of hybrids (another 10 years or so).

Honda Civic hybrid: Would seem to be the most straight forward jump into the hybrids.

Honda Insight: Looks like Honda's version of the Prius. A little cheaper than the Civic but the performance looks a little worse as well (comparing things like horsepower). Does have some sort of paddle shifter system which is somewhat sort of manual... I guess.

Ford Fusion Hybrid: Seems to be getting a lot of press. Considering most of the driving I do is commuting through town the fact it runs on the electric when below about 47mph most of my driving should be on the electric motor. I haven't priced specific models/packages yet but overall this seem to be more expensive than the Hondas.

Ford Escape Hybrid: The main reason for thinking about this is w/ all the other SUVs and crossovers out there I'm tried of only being able to see about a car or two ahead in traffic. Supposedly the motor is setup such that it can do up to 40mph on the electric motor, but if you need quick acceleration the gas engine will kick in and provide "V6 like acceleration".

Has anyone driven any of these (in particular the Insight or Fusion)? Are there any other cars I should be looking at? I have to admit I prefer Honda or Ford but that's probably because that's mostly what I have owned/driven all my life.
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Old 05-04-09, 09:26 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

My buddy has a Ford Fusion Hybrid and swears by it (though the thing that sold him the most? The flamboyant dashboard). They recently did a hypermile city driving test on the thing and did achieve well over 1000 miles on a single tank (albeit, going 25 mph w/ no AC) but still impressive enough. Seems to be a pretty solid car, but yes, it does have a premium over the Insight. Both the Escape and Fusion will wind up costing you around $30k, the Insight can be had for around $22k.

However, you also have to factor in federal tax breaks/refunds for buying a car/buying a hybrid. I know the Insight used to have a tax credit but I'm not sure if it's still around (they have a limit), the Ford Escape 2WD Hybrid has a $3000 tax credit, the 4WD Hybrid has a $1,950 tax credit. (The Fusion isn't listed yet since it's a 2010 model). I don't know if any new refunds were approved due to this financial crisis we're in.

I went with a clean diesel myself, but then the roads in this city are all mini-highways (it's ridiculously spread out, minimal stop lights, most intersections have on-ramps/off-ramps to the other city roads and the average speed limit is like 60).

Last edited by RichC2; 05-04-09 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 05-04-09, 09:44 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

I said escape, but I think fusion would be better. They look good, are good performers, only problem is they can't keep them on the lot so it's going to be tough to get a good deal on it.

As for the Ford vs honda thing, Ford really is good. They started cleaning up their act a long time ago and are only now starting to get noticed. I'm thinking in the next couple of years you will see Ford, Toyota, and Honda leading the industry.
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Old 05-04-09, 09:47 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
I'm also a little concerned about performance. I'm not into street racing or anything like that but when I punch the gas I like there to be something behind it if you know what I mean.
Might want to test drive a hybrid first then.

I wouldn't describe them as 'responsive'.
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Old 05-04-09, 09:48 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Do you love Mother Earth? Then you WILL buy a hybrid -- not just consider it!
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Old 05-04-09, 09:52 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

I would by a BMW M3, but that is just me

http://www.topgear.com/us/blog/more/...rius-17.2-mpg/
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Old 05-04-09, 10:18 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Since I worked for an automotive OEM, I probably shouldn't recommend a brand (Fords are definitely your best buy, no doubt about it ).

A hybrid may make sense since most of your mileage is city. That's where they get their biggest improvement; highway, not so much.

Do you put enough miles on it that the gas savings will pay back? You should certainly be over the average annul mileage of 12000 - 15000 miles per year, and probably over 20000.

Ask whether the battery is covered under the powertrain warranty (I'm not sure).

None of those are plugin hybrids. The battery is not very big and it won't go far without the engine cutting in to recharge it. It will NOT be like the Volt and go 40 miles on battery first. Maybe 5-10 miles tops under moderate conditions. You will NOT spend a high percentage of your total mileage on battery power alone.

The hybrids get part of their mileage gains through severe weight reduction actions and low rolling resistance tires. Expect wimpier suspension, harsher ride, etc. Ask about dirt and gravel roads; on early hybrids, they could void your warranty.

Be aware the Escape hybrid is a "toy SUV." It is 2WD and not rated for offroad at all. (regular Escape can handle moderate offroad).
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Old 05-04-09, 10:27 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Read up on battery replacement. They cost thousands to replace, and some cars have a bad reputation for the battery service life.
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Old 05-04-09, 10:28 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

I am surprised nobody has recommended that you buy a Toyota. I believe that is the default manufacturer for any vehicle recommended by the forum.

I honestly don't understand why you are considering anything other than a Toyota. Toyota is the best around. There will be no repairs for the first 500,000 miles. None!

So in closing: Toyota!

P.S. I thought all Escapes were "toy SUVs". The 2WD models are FWD. Not really a moderate offroading set-up.
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Old 05-04-09, 10:34 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Thanks for all the comments so, please keep them coming. To answer of them though...

Dr Mabuse you're right I do have to do a test drive before making a fully informed statement about "responsiveness"

Groucho I care so much about "mother" earth I'm considering joining the Pave the Earth Society http://www.geocities.com/southbeach/1380/pave.html After all that nice crusty top will keep the earth nice and protected. If we need green we have paint

OldDude my annual driving is actually more around 10k (I only live 4 miles from work and if I was really dedicated I would ride a bike/get a motorcycle but this area is not setup for bikes and I don't trust the drivers around here enough to be on/in anything that doesn't have airbags ). However I do occasionally take road trips so a pure electric vehicle is not really an option since the range is limited. I also don't do any off roading so the "top SUV" thing isn't a problem. As mentioned it's really more about a desire to get above the "waterline" of traffic

jonw9 I know some people who swear by Toyotas but I can't say they really do anything for me. I guess since the Insight looks a lot like the Prius I should maybe check that out, but I really don't find their cars that interesting.

Last edited by nemein; 05-04-09 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 05-04-09, 10:42 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

nemein, my dad just purchased a Toyota Prius approximately 3 weeks ago. I think the sticker was around 30k and he got them down to 23 or 24. There might be a tax credit for the Prius this year-- I'm not sure. The Ford Fusion does have one. My dad wanted to at least test drive the Fusion, but there's not a single dealer around that had a 2010 hybrid at the time.

Nick brings up a good point about the battery. The battery warranty that was offered to my dad is for 8 years/100,000 miles (I'm sure about the year length, but not totally sure about the mileage cap). I actually like the car-- I didn't expect to. I think you should at least give it a test drive.
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Old 05-04-09, 10:50 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

IF I were going to do a hybrid, I would be waiting for the plug-in hybrids. Otherwise, the price doesn't justify the mpg difference over a non hybrid.

That said, I have recently looked at the Kia Soul. I'm a Honda guy normally, and never consider Kias because there isn't a dealer close by (relative to other dealers), but it is one I would definitely check out.
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Old 05-04-09, 11:05 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

^ My wife looked at the Soul. That is the commercial with the hamsters, right?

After looking in to it a bit more, she like the looks of the Nissan Cube more.

We haven't driven either, as we are not in the market to buy right now.
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Old 05-04-09, 11:06 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

unless you drive 50000 miles a year it's not worth it

just get a regular civic
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Old 05-04-09, 11:10 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by kvrdave View Post
IF I were going to do a hybrid, I would be waiting for the plug-in hybrids. Otherwise, the price doesn't justify the mpg difference over a non hybrid.

That said, I have recently looked at the Kia Soul. I'm a Honda guy normally, and never consider Kias because there isn't a dealer close by (relative to other dealers), but it is one I would definitely check out.
You can't buy a soul just to make up for all the dog shootings.
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Old 05-04-09, 11:11 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Since your talking about the Soul, you know, the ford fiesta is coming out soon. I'm not sure about the mpg for the U.S. version, but I think the europe one they have been producing for years got 63
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Old 05-04-09, 11:16 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Yeah, you don't drive enough for a hybrid. You won't save any money if you get a hybrid and drive just 10K miles.
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Old 05-04-09, 11:22 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

I think you don't drive enough to get a hybrid. The battery will degrade with time, not just usage, so in your case you probably won't get enough miles to make it worth it. If you love Mother Earth (and are a cheap ass) just get a small car. I like the Fusion (regular gasoline, haven't tested the hybrid yet).
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Old 05-04-09, 11:24 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
unless you drive 50000 miles a year it's not worth it

just get a regular civic
I've argued before my theory that, in general, the cost of an item is the cost of the energy required to create it. If a car costs more, that's because it cost more to produce, which is the cost of energy required to produce it.

So if a hybrid car costs more to buy (or to produce, since a lot of hybrid cars are sold at a loss), and if your gasoline savings don't make up for the price increase from a gas-only car, then you aren't really saving any energy. You're merely paying for your energy consumption up front.
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Old 05-04-09, 11:34 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post
unless you drive 50000 miles a year it's not worth it

just get a regular civic
What this guy said.

I've crunched the numbers before and gas would need to get above $4.00 and stay there for you to really see the savings on a hybrid. The Civic hybrid does not do that much better than the gasoline Civic on mileage. I voted for standard Civic.
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Old 05-04-09, 11:38 AM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by Jeeden View Post
Since your talking about the Soul, you know, the ford fiesta is coming out soon. I'm not sure about the mpg for the U.S. version, but I think the europe one they have been producing for years got 63
The ECOnetic version (Diesel) gets about 65mpg. But they won't be in the US anytime soon, despite the fact it apparently meets the stricter emissions requirements w/o the Urea filter that Benz/BMW are using (or the regen system VW is currently using.) I'm on board with more diesels making it stateside, will make refueling a bit cheaper in the long run (locally it usually costs the same as Mid-grade), but things like this make is seem really unlikely to happen. The gas versions get around 50 mpg. Always thought the car would sell well in the US, shame.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...9060491065.htm

Last edited by RichC2; 05-04-09 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 05-04-09, 12:22 PM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
OldDude my annual driving is actually more around 10k (I only live 4 miles from work and if I was really dedicated I would ride a bike/get a motorcycle but this area is not setup for bikes and I don't trust the drivers around here enough to be on/in anything that doesn't have airbags ).
You can do a formal breakeven analysis, but if you consider time value of money, I don't think it will break even. Invest the cost difference, let the return buy the extra gas for the non-hybrid, no battery worries.
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Old 05-04-09, 12:52 PM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by jonw9 View Post
P.S. I thought all Escapes were "toy SUVs". The 2WD models are FWD. Not really a moderate offroading set-up.
There is a AWD model; you can order HD suspension, skid plates. But no creeper gear, no sale (for serious offroading). But you are right about not taking the 2WD offroad.
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Old 05-04-09, 01:14 PM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

And all this time I thought nemein was a dude.

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Old 05-04-09, 01:15 PM
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Re: YACT: Trying to decide whether or not to get a hybrid

Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
I've argued before my theory that, in general, the cost of an item is the cost of the energy required to create it. If a car costs more, that's because it cost more to produce, which is the cost of energy required to produce it.

So if a hybrid car costs more to buy (or to produce, since a lot of hybrid cars are sold at a loss), and if your gasoline savings don't make up for the price increase from a gas-only car, then you aren't really saving any energy. You're merely paying for your energy consumption up front.
it's still fairly new tech with a limited production run. in 5-10 years when every car is a hybrid it will be like the automatic transmission. an option that almost everyone pays for.

just because it's more expensive doesn't mean it costs more energy to produce.
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