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Hybrid Vehicles

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by megumic, May 2, 2013.

  1. megumic
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    by megumic » May 2, 2013
    We're in the market for a hybrid, now that I'll be driving somewhere between 360-500 highway miles per week for work. We will likely get something certified pre-owned with low miles. It must have a warranty of some sorts and it must be able to reasonably and comfortably fit two car seats. So far we are considering a Toyota Prius, Lexus CT200h and possibly the VW Jetta TDI (diesel). Wondering about Ford hybrids, if anyone can offer some info.


    So, who has a hybrid that they like and why do you like it? Any and all guidance, thoughts, recommendations and advice will be much appreciated!!!!
     
    


    


  2. manderz
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    by manderz » May 2, 2013
    Hubs drives a prius, and loves it! Well, it's not his favorite car, because he'd like something sportier and faster, but it's what he needs to be driving right now (he drives a lot for work). He gets fabulous gas mileage. It varies depending on how he drives, but it's generally 40mpg, sometimes up to an average of nearly 50 for the tank. I feel as though it's a little utilitarian (his did not come with any options), but it's comfortable, reliable, and economical. Had he bought it more recently than he did, he probably would have gotten the Prius V, because he's very tall (6'5"), and nearly all cars feel tiny to him.
     
  3. sonnyjane
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    by sonnyjane » May 2, 2013
    I'm curious as to how the Jetta TDI factors into your equation alongside the hybrids? I was actually looking at the TDI's because my husband drives a diesel and says the engines have the potential to last longer, however when I compared fuel economy between the Jetta TDI and a Honda Civic (not a hybrid, just a regular gasoline Civic), the TDI averaged 36 mpg whereas the Civic averaged 32, and considering the Jetta was about $6,000 more than the Civic, I just went with the Civic. Also I'm not sure about where you live, but here in SoCal, diesel is just as expensive if not more expensive than regular gasoline so no benefit for driving a diesel here. I'd probably go with a Prius in your scenario. I don't have one, but I feel like it's the "original".
     
  4. kenny
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    by kenny » May 2, 2013
    We've had two Honda Civic Hybrids and loved them.

    The only bad thing is the back of the back seat does not fold down.
     
    


    


  5. Bella_mezzo
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    by Bella_mezzo » May 2, 2013
    We have a 2005 prius hybrid that we bought in Jan 2012 with only 40k miles on it. We love it. Gas mileage is great,has decent pick-up, knock on wood we haven't needed any major work in the almost year and half we've had it. Trunk space can hold a surprising amount and the seats fold down separately to accomodate even larger loads.

    The only cons we've seen so far:

    The interior is a little small but still comfortable.

    The black hatchback bar cuts cross the rear windshield in a way that is kind of annoying and I don't think really creates a blind spot but definitely makes you really check your side mirrors just in case.
     
  6. manderz
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    by manderz » May 3, 2013
    Same thing as hubby. It does have a decent amount of room, but it doesn't accommodate 2 golf bags well. He and his brother go, and it's a pain to get both bags to fit.

    I forgot about that bar in the back window, too. Hubby has had his so long, we don't really even notice anymore. This was tough to adjust to, though.
     
  7. JulieN
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    by JulieN » May 3, 2013
    Lexus CT is just a weird niche. Not particularly powerful nor sporty. MPG not great for a hybrid; plenty of other small cars are 40+. With two babies in the back and you looking at Jetta, Prius, and Fords, luxury doesn't seem like a big priority for you.
     
  8. zoebartlett
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    by zoebartlett » May 3, 2013
    My husband has a Prius and he loves it. I don't like to drive it because of the view out the back (I agree that the cross bar on the windshield is annoying). It does make it harder for me to see. My husband does admit that his car doesn't get the same mileage as Prius claimed it should. His is an '05 though, and I know the car's improved over the years. Overall, it's a great car, and my husband is thinking of getting a new one when we replace this one.
     
  9. Harpertoo
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    by Harpertoo » May 3, 2013
    I had an '07 Prius and loved it. The fuel economy was great and I found it perfectly roomy for everyday needs. I was the one dropping off and picking up at daycare along with my daily commute...so I was driving similar miles to you.
    My husband, a mechanical engineer, despised the car. He likes speed and performance and he also feels the industry can do better technology wise.....but I loved only filling the tank every other week! And it's somehow satisfying to improve your gas mileage as you alter your driving style....but when we returned from our time in EU, and I was no longer commuting, my spouse prevailed and bought me a BMW.
     
  10. Asscherhalo_lover
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    by Asscherhalo_lover » May 3, 2013
    I know it's not one that you mentioned but I have an 2009 Altima hybrid and love it. It's the same as the regular Altima but I get around 35 mpg city vs 21 when I had a regular one. The only thing different is that the trunk is about half the size because of the batteries but its big enough as long as you don't keep a bunch of crap in there. It's also a full size car so in that respect I like it. When I eventually get rid of it I'll be hopefully trading it in for a leaf!
     
    


    


  11. kgizo
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    by kgizo » May 3, 2013
    Have a Ford Fusion hybrid and it is great. So nice to gas up every 3-4 weeks instead of twice a week. Choose it over the others because of price and room. The best thing is the digital display which shows how you efficiently you are driving in an easy to see format. After you turn it off it gives you a trip summary, mi driven, mpg for the trip, overall mpg, and gallons used. Hubby and I try to outdo each other for fuel efficiency.
     
  12. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    A note on that ... Pet Peeve Time. :wink2:
    Basically don't blame the car; blame the driver for this extremely common, yet unfair, complaint.

    I drove our 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid (HCH) for 4 years before my SO inherited it.
    He was in heaven since it had a carpool sticker so he could commute alone in the carpool lane.
    If he bought a new car at that time he could not get a carpool sticker for it, California limited them and they were all gone by 2010 and the stickers belonged to the car, not the owner.

    I averaged over 60 MPG in it that car.
    My best full tank of gas was over 70 MPG.
    My SO averages around 38.
    Exact same car.
    Driving style is the only difference.

    Yes terrain and weather can affect MPG, but we didn't move at all, let alone to the mountains in Siberia.
    We just have diametrically-opposite driving styles and he HAAAAATES when I drive.
    I get there on minimum gas; he gets there in minimum time.

    I was an early adopter of hybrids, my first being a 2004.
    I used to be so geeky about hypermiling that I hung out on a hybrid Internet forum.
    One woman insisted that her car was defective since she only got low 30s.
    She took it to a few dealers and they insisted it was not defective.
    On the Hybrid Forum she asked me if I would test drive it, since we both had 2004 HCHs and lived close by.

    I drove her car, with her in the passenger seat, on my usual commute and got over 60 MPG.
    She was floored, flabbergasted actually.
    I'm not being cruel, it is just relevant ... she was easily 300 pounds, maybe even 400.
    That's a lot of extra weight for these little cars to carry and still get over 60 MPG in.
    I realize this story sounds hard to believe but I swear it's true.

    BTW, Toyota 'claiming' any car gets X mpg is not really a true statement.
    It is the EPA that tests ALL cars under consistent conditions and determines the MPG that is published by Toyota.
    Actually they don't even 'drive' the cars.
    The put them on a treadmill, run them, and analyze the exhaust.
    This way the test is consistent for all cars ... and let's not forget that famous caveat ... YMMV.
     
  13. sonnyjane
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    by sonnyjane » May 3, 2013
    That is all TOTALLY true. I remember that you posted in a thread a while ago about the economy readings in your current car (Honda?) and how you coast down the hills etc. etc. to save fuel. That was before I bought my Civic a few weeks ago but now I find myself monitoring the dash to see what my fuel economy is (with the econ button on). Down hills etc. it's like 70 mpg! Up hills it's about 30. If I'm passing someone, it goes way down, etc. It's cool to see the differences.
     
  14. Octavia
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    by Octavia » May 3, 2013
    We have a Civic hybrid, too, and it's surprising how much I miss having the back seats fold down. It really limits what you can carry in the car, and kind of drives me crazy. The other con is that we live in an area with a lot of hills, many of them very steep, and this car does not do hills well. A couple times, when trying to start back up a hill after being stopped at a traffic light, I've been really scared that the car won't actually make it. DH really likes the car but I want to get something else by the time the baby comes because I don't think I'll feel safe having a little one in such an underpowered car. Also, it gets great highway mileage (42-44) but in-city isn't really that much better than my old gas-only Civic.
     
  15. amc80
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    by amc80 » May 3, 2013
    I can't comment on the hybrid aspect, but we have a Mercury Milan which is the same as a Ford Fusion. We LOVE it. We will likely get a new model Ford Fusion next summer, possibly the hybrid. DH commutes about 100 miles per day so it would definitely pay off in the long run. We don't have any problems with the current Milan, but there's no way we could fit two car seats in there, since if DH is in there that seat has to be all the way back). Oh, and ours is AWD and drives really well.

    I really like the new Taurus but was surprised that the measurements on the interior aren't much (if any) bigger than the new Fusion.

    ETA- It doesn't look like the AWD model comes as a hybrid, so no hybrid for us.
     
    


    


  16. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    Interesting.

    I've driven my HCH in the steep hills of San Francisco and never felt it was 'underpowered'.
    It never didn't make it up a hill, even from a stop.

    Perhaps you are accustomed to cars with more horsepower and I'm accustomed to economy cars, hence our differing perceptions of the same car.
    But yes, these are NOT powerful cars.
    They are optimized for MPG.

    Interestingly Honda did make an Accord V6 hybrid for a few years but it was a flop.
    Not because it wasn't wonderful, because the public image of hybrids then was hybrids are wimpy economy cars for liberal tree huggers, not performance, or muscle cars.
    There is nothing about hybrid systems that make them not useful for muscle cars.
    Today hybrid systems are finally being added to even Porsche sports cars.

    Honda does make a hybrid with fold down rear seats, the Insight.
    Though not well-rated it is $6,000 cheaper than the HCH.
    Since it gets great MPG and low hybrid emissions at a low price it may be worth a look.
     
  17. megumic
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    by megumic » May 3, 2013
    Crap, so much more about hybrids that I didn't know. Thanks so much everyone. Gosh, more research than I really want to do at the moment with a sick kid and starting a new job.

    I mean, I just think the Prius styling is kind of ugly (personally!) and I hear you regarding the back bar thing. We like the idea of the Lexus b/c we like nice cars, but it's small and not entirely practical for other reasons (like cost!)

    The Jetta TDI (diesel) does great gas mileage for highway driving, which is what I will be doing. They make this in a wagon too, which makes it more family friendly. Diesel isn't cheap, but you can get like 600 miles per tank or so, apparently.

    Asscher...didn't know Nissan made hybrids. Will def look into it. Also just saw Subaru is coming out with a Hybrid, but we want CPO, so that's out.

    Kenny. thanks for the detailed commentary. I love that you geek out on hybrid forums. LOL. Awesome. Yeah I mean, I hear you. So if you have a heavy foot (which I do.... :rolleyes: ) maybe HYbrids aren't the best choice??? HOw are hybrids supposed to be driven to maximize MPG???

    More importantly, do all of these hybrids come with Navigation? I have no idea who makes what....I am SO out of the Hybrid car loop!

    We are going to take a look around this weekend. I will report back!
     
  18. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    You could look at it another way ... you have a heavy foot so you need a hybrid more.
    A heavy foot will result in low MPG in both a conventional car or a hybrid ... but you still will get better MPG in a hybrid.
     
  19. ascari_2
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    by ascari_2 » May 3, 2013
    The few times that I had the CT as a loaner I thought it was pretty neat. But for some reason there appeared to be a significant difference between the base version and the upgraded (leather seats, nav, and some other things) versions. The car was dangerously slow though on ECO mode...and when I say dangerously I mean that you darn well better leave a lot of space between yourself and another car when you are pulling out from a dead stop.

    PS, I was getting no lower than 40mpg even with flooring the thing more than half the time. Cruising at 55 behind a big rig I was approaching 60mpg...but I could torture myself only for so long. Still, the MPGs were great.
     
  20. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    You can just drive normally and you'll get better MPG than a regular car.
    There are lots of things you can Google up to improve your MPG that will work in both hybrids and regular cars.
    ... but the most powerful one I'm about to describe actually tries to avoid using the hybrid system in a hybrid car.

    Accelerate slowly.
    Back off the gas pedal well before a red light.

    Think of using the brakes as a sin, in a hybrid or conventional car.
    Braking means you wasted gas a few moments ago getting your car to go so fast that you need to brake.
    I realize this sounds crazy but it is just a goal to strive towards in traffic.
    If you get good at this trick it will get you into the hypermiling stratosphere.

    Ideally, if there were no other cars on the road and you left early so you are in no hurry ... you'd accelerate like a snail up to the lowest speed acceptable to you.
    Low speed is groovy because most of the gas that all cars use just pushes air out of the way.
    Driving slower does not fight the air as much as driving fast.
    Prove this by sticking your arm out the window when going 70 MPH. Feel the force.
    Now do it at 40 MPH and you will feel less force on your hand.

    When you have to slow down ease up on the gas pedal a little, just a little.
    If you lift your foot completely off the gas pedal you'll actually use the engine to slow you down, wasting more gas.
    (Yes in a hybrid you will recover some energy ... but keep reading.)

    To discover the most fuel-efficient rate of slowing down visualize putting the car into neutral and letting the car coast to a stop.
    If safe you can actually do this.
    That's the optimum rate of slowing down to use minimum gas.

    I realise in traffic you can't do this fully, but try to do it partially.
    Driving to avoid brake use a skill you can develop over time.

    What I recommended above may be seen as contrary to what a hybrid car is all about.
    After all in a hybrid when you brake, or decelerate, the wheels get connected to a generator.
    It generates electricity which is sent to a battery for storage.
    Then when the light turns green you accelerate and some of that stored energy is used by an electric motor that helps the gas engine accelerate the car.

    So you might ask, why did I recommend not using the brakes?
    Because the hybrid system, while brilliant, is not perfect.
    It does not recover 100% of the energy, only around 30%.
    If it's saving 30% that means it wastes 70%.
    That's better than a regular car which wastes 100% of the kinetic energy of a moving car by converting it to heat in the brakes.
    I'd rather waste 0% and avoiding braking does just that.
    Letting the car go as far as possible on the gas already used to get it up to speed is VASTLY more efficient than driving normally with normal braking.

    BTW, you don't need a hybrid car to do this.
    In fact Wayne Gerdes does this and squeezes 59 MPG out of a a regular Honda Accord.
    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/guy-can-get-59-mpg-plain-old-accord-beat-punk

    Obviously be safe and considerate as possible to other drivers.
    I often change lanes to get out of their way and on the freeway stay in the right lane.
     
  21. ascari_2
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    by ascari_2 » May 3, 2013
    The idea of accelerating and slowing at the lowest possible rate actually contributes to the amount of the dreaded traffic that we all hate so much. However, I do appreciate you at least staying in the right lane when driving.

    BTW what this Wayne Gerdes guy (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/01/guy-can-get-59-mpg-plain-old-accord-beat-punk) is doing is ridiculously dangerous. Turning off the car = all support systems are turned off. Worse yet, I could see someone trying this, turning the key into the all-together off position, locking the steering wheel, and plowing straight into a wall or another car. Guy needs to be ticketed for what he does.
     
  22. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    Like I said I change lanes when I can to get out of people's way.
    If I'm stopped at a red light I'll see if there's a bus stop ahead.
    If so I'll pull into it to let the normal drivers go by.

    I do try to be considerate.
    BTW, doing my part to help fewer of our sons and daughters die in oil wars is very considerate too.
     
  23. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    I agree.
    I'd never do that.
    I only bring up Gerdes to show HOW you drive matters as much as WHAT you drive.
    Also he's not all bad.
    Many things he does are not as dangerous as turning off the car.

    America could lower gas consumption by 41.2657% tomorrow morning just by changing how we drive.
    Lower oil imports is good for national security, even GWB said something like that.

    Another thing some crazy hypermilers do is tailgate semi trucks to drive in their wake.
    They call it drafting.

    I'm not that nuts.

    I do think it is good to be aware of many possibilities of how to use less gas and use the ones you are groovy with.
     
  24. VRBeauty
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    by VRBeauty » May 3, 2013
    I've had a chance to drive fully electric cars as my daily driver - and to compare my mileage to that of other drivers - and ditto everything Kenny says about the impacts of driving style on fuel/electricity use.

    I haven't owned a hybrid though, and I'll defer to those who have on this, but... In theory, anyway, a most hybrids are going to give you the greatest fuel consumption advantage in city driving rather than highway driving, since the car uses energy that would otherwise be used during braking etc. to recharge the battery. If your car is going to spend most of its time in free-flowing highway traffic, be sure to use the highway stats to calculate your potential fuel savings.

    BTW Kennny - I have altered my driving style to minimize braking - colleagues have even commented on it on business trips. I figure that makes up for other less - uh - mindful aspects of my driving! :wink2:
     
  25. zoebartlett
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    by zoebartlett » May 3, 2013
    Kenny, thanks for writing about hypermiling. I hadn't heard of it until reading a previous post of yours a while back. It's something to keep in mind.

    Megumic, I'm not sure if you've looked into the Camry Hybrid. I don't know anyone who has one (that I know of anyway), so I can't give you a recommendation. I'm just curious if you've checked them out and what you thought.
     
  26. kenny
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    by kenny » May 3, 2013
    That depends on the driver.
    It is not true for me during my nine years of driving of three hybrid cars.

    Depending on the car best MPG is around 40-55 MPH.

    http://www.metrompg.com/posts/speed-vs-mpg.htm





    Most freeway drivers go 65 to 80 when possible and the MPG goes way down compare to driving 45 MPH.
    Again pushing air out of the way takes much more gas at higher speeds.
    If a hybrid is driven at 65+ MPH it probably would get better MPG in the city, but again it depends how efficiently that person drives in the city.

    Hybrids getting better MPG in the city because of braking may be true of the driving style of some people but the way I drive I get better MPG on the freeway.
    I can easily get 65 MPG on a freeway trip that's over 20 minutes since I drive 50 to 55 MPH in the right-most of 4 to 8 lanes around here.
    I'll be lucky to get 55 MPG on a 20 minute drive in the city.
    I have no idea how the MPG of a normal driver would compare city/freeway.

    Very short trips are MPG killers since much of the gas gets used to heat up the engine block.
    Also changing speed is an MPG killer, which is why I try to leave a ton of room in front of me.

    I really want to emphasize HOW you drive can make as much difference as WHAT you drive.
    Few people know that.
    They think MPG is all about vehicle choice.

    screen_shot_2013-05-03_at_7.png

    screen_shot_2013-05-03_at_0.png

    screen_shot_2013-05-03_at_6.png
     
  27. ascari_2
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  28. megumic
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    by megumic » May 12, 2013
    Thanks all for the many suggestions and advice! DH and I ahven't had a ton of time to work on this, but did make it to Toyota. We checked out a regular Prius and a Prius V, which is more like a wagon. We liked both, but I don't find either one particularly sexy. We're still debating and trying to find the best deal. Both are newer years,and have about 10k miles, and are CPO. The regular Prius is fully loaded, the other is base line with navigation.

    The V would give us extra carseat room and trunk storage. Also it's easier to see out the back. The regular prius gets a little better gas mileage and is fully loaded, but a little more expensive. I'm not in love or like or anything with either one. What would you do?
     
  29. distracts
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    by distracts » May 12, 2013
    I have a Prius. My old car, though old, was a top of the line model, and my Prius is the bog standard most basic model ever... my dad gave it to me when he bought the new one with all the features, all tricked out. I want the tricked-out one - I would like it a lot more with leather seats and a sunroof! My two main problems are actually the slow acceleration (my last car had a supercharger or w/e) and the small range of steering wheel heights - I can't get it in a position that is entirely comfortable for me if I want my hands at 10 and 2.

    BUT... there is plenty of storage space (I have to haul a lot of stuff for work), I save several hundred dollars a month in gas (I get around 45mpg usually, whereas I got 19mpg in my last car, lol), I can drive to any major city in Texas without having to fill up until I arrive. And, well, did I mention I save several hundred dollars a month in gas? That alone is worth it and makes the annoyances fade away.

    "The black hatchback bar cuts cross the rear windshield in a way that is kind of annoying and I don't think really creates a blind spot but definitely makes you really check your side mirrors just in case."
    OMG THIS

    What I really want is a Tesla. Now THAT is sexy.
     
  30. swimmer
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    by swimmer » May 13, 2013
    I am not a hypermiler or whatever, but I get on avg 52mpg in my 2007 prius with no highway driving. It has two huge britax seats in the back and a skinny lover of kids or a huge lab can fit between them. I keep my tires pumped to the optimum level and work the coasting but in no way contribute to congestion or traffic. The seats go all the way down and we did get the leather ones. I refuse to get a minivan. :wink2:
     

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